Chicago, IL – The City of Chicago is no longer suing the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) for allegedly urging members to refuse to comply with Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccination mandate.
Lightfoot filed a complaint against the FOP in Cook County Circuit Court on Oct. 15, accusing FOP President John Catanzara of “engaging in, supporting, and encouraging a work stoppage or strike,” WGN reported.
Lightfoot asked the court for injunctive relief against the police union.
The court issued a temporary restraining order against Catanzara, barring him from making any statements encouraging FOP members to refuse to comply with the mayor’s mandate, but that order has since expired, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Today, at my direction, the City’s Department of Law voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 without prejudice,” Lightfoot said in a press release on Wednesday. “This Verified Complaint for Injunctive Relief was initially filed in response to the president of FOP Lodge 7, John Catanzara, repeatedly calling for his members to engage in an illegal work stoppage or strike—which is strictly prohibited under Illinois Law.”
Lightfoot said the lawsuit is no longer needed because most Chicago police personnel have complied with her vaccination order.
She said she is confident the entire police department “will be in compliance” in the near future.
“The past few weeks have shown what I have said from the beginning to be true: that our brave police officers are smarter than their FOP leadership, and care more about their city, their fellow Chicagoans, and upholding their sworn oath to protect and serve, than they do Catanzara’s frivolous demands to stop working,” the mayor wrote.
She warned that the lawsuit will immediately be refiled if the FOP or Catanzara “take any further action toward encouraging an illegal work stoppage or strike.”
“From day one when this requirement was announced in August, this entire process has been and will continue to be about protecting the lives and safety of all Chicagoans,” Lightfoot said. “The data shows that we are succeeding in that mission, and that police officers recognize that protecting and serving in the times of global pandemic means ensuring that that they are vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Catanzara retired from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) Nov. 16 and has announced he will run against Lightfoot in the 2023 mayoral race, WLS reported.
“Everybody’s afraid to stand up to the powers that be. It’s never bothered me. I’m not afraid to take a hard stance,” he said.
“Don’t ruin my office,” he said in a parting message to Lightfoot. “I’m coming for the keys.”
Catanzara will still remain at the helm of the FOP, WLS reported.
Lightfoot issued a statement blasting the longtime CPD officer in the wake of his departure.
Catanzara’s retirement came on what would have been the second day of his disciplinary hearing before the police board on allegations he made controversial social media posts, WLS reported.
“Not a surprise, that a man of hate-as John Catanzara has demonstrated over and over that he is-would run away from accountability,” Lightfoot wrote. “The evidence of his guilt was overwhelming as set forth in the hearing and he clearly sought to avoid the eventual reckoning by resigning, under investigation, and then divesting the Police Board of jurisdiction.”
Lightfoot said the police department cannot move forward unless it “reject[s] hate in all its forms, and stand[s] united around our common values as a city that is always stronger when we work together as neighbors.”