CHICAGO (AP) -Chicago Police Inspector David Brown said on Tuesday that 21 police officers have been given “no pay status” for refusing to follow the city’s order to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Brown said the refusal did not affect staffing.
Brown, who revealed that three members of his own family he described as “anti-waxxers” have died from complications from the virus in recent weeks, said he was simply trying to protect officials and the public from harm.
“This virus is no different from the shootings we take as police officers …” he said. “It would be against our oath to take this virus into the homes of (residents).”
Although the police trailing after all other city departments to meet the city’s requirement to report vaccination status, Brown said more police department employees had indicated their status in recent days. Currently, 67% of police employees have indicated their vaccination status, of which 82% are fully vaccinated, Brown said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has accused the police union and its president of spreading misinformation about the reporting process, requesting vaccination status and enabling a temporary window of regular COVID-19 testing at the employee’s own expense until vaccines can be administered.
The union’s president, John Catanzara, claims that the order to provide information to the portal is both a violation of the officers’ constitutional rights and their rights under the union’s contract with the city.
The police union’s website again on Tuesday urged members not to follow, but has also offered an opportunity to follow while providing a form to show that they are doing so “under complete coercion and the threat of dismissal.”