Chicago, IL – Protesters gathered outside Chicago City Hall on Monday night demanding city council members repeal Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate and establish an ordinance limiting the mayor’s power to single-handedly enact sweeping policy changes with regards to disciplining city employees.
At least 23 Chicago police officers have been stripped of their police powers and placed on unpaid leave due to the mayor’s mandate, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown confirmed on Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“This is not the way a government is supposed to run. It is not a queen on that throne. It is a mayor,” Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John Catanzara said during the protest outside City Hall ahead of the city council meeting, according to FOX News.
“When governments, whether it’s Nazi Germany or modern-day Chicago, try to start, or any other major city like New York and many others who are doing this, try to create policies that mandate their employees first to have to do things to their bodies it will not stop there,” Catanzara previously said of the mandate, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “You are opening up the door for the citizens to be next.”
He referred to Lightfoot as a “tyrant” and told the city council they need to take back power.
The union leader said the mandate is “about the entire city workforce, not the Chicago Police Department,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“It needs to stop today,” Catanzara said.
An ordinance introduced on Monday would reverse Lightfoot’s mandate, would provide retroactive pay to officers who have been placed on unpaid leave, and would require full city council approval for any policy change that could put city employees on unpaid leave status in the future, WFLD reported.
Lightfoot denounced the effort as “foolishness,” and said she will do everything in her power to shoot it down, according to the news outlet.
Catanzara warned the city council that their jobs are also on the line and that those who don’t back the repeal effort “will be challenged in 2023,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“We are coming for every one of your damn seats because this is not the way a government is supposed to run,” he said. “Shame on every one of you. When she challenged your aldermanic prerogative, you all lost your mind.”
As of Monday, approximately 71 percent of Chicago Police Department (CPD) personnel had reported their vaccination status to the city as Lightfoot required, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Nearly 20 percent of those who responded said they are not vaccinated.
City council members and staff have the second-lowest compliance rating, with just 85 percent having reported their vaccination status, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Lightfoot has lashed out at Chicago Alderwoman Silvana Tabares for her support of the proposed mandate-repealing ordinance, accusing her of being a puppet for Catanzara, who the mayor claimed “spews hatred” against Tabares’ Hispanic constituents, according to the paper.
“She knows very well this will never see the light of day,” Lightfoot said of the proposed ordinance. “But, the fact that she’s willing to put her name on it is…dangerous. That is not reflective of her community.”
The mayor further said Tabares should be ashamed of herself, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“It’s really stunning to me that a woman of color would carry the water for a guy like that, who every single day spews hatred against people who look like her and have her background,” Lightfoot declared. “It is really, really shameful. And she’ll have to answer for that.”
The proposed ordinances were sent to the Rules Committee during Monday night’s meeting, which has been described as a burial ground for legislation Lightfoot opposes, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.