The Hill is confirming that the Chicago Police Department has begun placing officers on unpaid leave on Monday night into Tuesday for not being in compliance with the department's Covid mandate to disclose vaccination.
Perhaps wishing to avoid the kind of crime spree chaos sure to unfold by mass firings of officers (even more so than "typical" weekends that see high numbers of shootings), which the police union predicted will be as much as 50% of the force, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has so far indicated a "very small number" of officers have been placed on "no-pay status". Likely the city's strategy is to fire small groups of officers in piecemeal fashion in hopes of avoiding the kind of large-scale revolt that's coming.
Lightfoot claimed they've had "multiple opportunities" to come into compliance, after the last Friday deadline has come and gone for officers to upload their individual vaccination status to an online city portal, which many also say is a violation of personal medical freedom. She's since dramatically accused the union of leading an "insurrection".
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, who was issued a "gag order" by a city court over the weekend in attempts to prevent the union from encouraging officers to resist Lightfoot's dictates, has said that about 50 officers have been placed on unpaid status so far as of Tuesday morning.
Chicago's NBC 5 has interviewed a pair of officers who were just placed on unpaid leave. They said the following:
“It was emotional for everyone, especially for me,” Officer Elizabeth Alaniz said.
Alaniz has been on the Chicago police force for more than 20 years, but Monday she turned in her badge after refusing to report her vaccination status.
"I was given a direct order to do so, and I said I would not comply with that direct order," she said.
"These are rights that our union is fighting for, and if we let them take this from us, what else will they take away?" the officer said.
Most of the officers disciplined Monday were assigned to the department’s headquarters and to fugitive apprehension. Disciplinary action has not yet been taken against patrol officers.
The police union is still mulling options for legal action pushing back against the city's mandate.
"The collective bargaining agreement has always been at the heart of this," police union chief Catanzara said. "The demand for arbitration was given to the city 10 days ago, and they chose to ignore it."