“Up to half of Chicago’s rank-and-file police officers could be placed on unpaid leave because of a dispute between their union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot over a city requirement for officers to disclose their vaccine status,” CNN reports.
“The dispute in Chicago is emblematic of tension across the country between unions and employers as cities and businesses seek to enforce vaccine mandates. At least 228 officers have died of Covid-19 this year, compared to 245 last year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Covid is the leading cause of death for officers despite them being among the first groups having access to the vaccine at the end of last year.”
“Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday said police union president John Catanzara was trying to “induce an insurrection” by telling officers to ignore a deadline to report vaccine status. The mayor said the law department filed a complaint against the union, saying that Catanzara was ‘encouraging a work stoppage or strike.’
On Friday evening, a Cook County Circuit judge ruled Catanzara should not make public statements that encourage members to reject or refuse to comply with the city’s vaccination policy.”
Catanzara’s behavior is a perfect example of the kind of provocative right-wing nonsense that has become all too typical in police union negotiations. There has been a growing discussion of penetration of our nation’s police unions by far right extremist groups. Those talks began accelerating rapidly after Ed Mullins, the former head of the New York Police Department police officers’ union, gave an inflammatory interview on FOX news with “Q” paraphernalia visible in the background. Mullins resigned from his post after his home was recently raided by the FBI. Although official information has not been released, there is speculation that the matter may be related to the Trump Putsch of January 6th.
Among supporters of President Biden, there appears to be little patience for police officers who refuse to get vaccinated. In the replies following a tweet of an NBC news story on threats of a work stoppage by Chicago and Seattle police officers, many of the replies mentioned that this could be an opportunity to renew the police force and push out MAGA cops. Overall there seems to be a perception that the Venn diagram of racist, violent cops who have an extensive history of using excessive force against minority suspects, and MAGA cops who sympathize with the January 6th insurrectionists and refuse to get the vaccine because they have immersed themselves in right-wing propaganda via social media is nearly a perfect circle, and it would be a great tragedy if our nation’s police departments failed to seize this opportunity to clean up their ranks.