News & Politics

Lightfoot in a Game of 'COVID Chicken' With Cops: It's Not Going to End Well For Her

Lightfoot in a Game of 'COVID Chicken' With Cops: It's Not Going to End Well For Her
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara is a Chicagoan through and through. He looks like a Chicago union boss. He talks like a Chicago union boss.

And he certainly sounds like a Chicago union boss.

Catanzara is referring to Chicago’s hapless mayor, Lori Lightfoot, who backed off her threat to send city workers home who hadn’t reported their vaccine status by October 15. The 15th has come and gone and the police are still on the job — as well as thousands of other city workers who haven’t complied.

And Catazara isn’t the kind of Chicagoan you show any weakness to at all and expect to come out on top. John Kass of the Chicago Tribune calls Lightfoot “Chicago’s little Napoleon in pants suits.”

At least Napoleon knew how to win battles.

“She’ll put it on me,” said Catanzara. “But this isn’t me, it’s about the members who showed up at the FOP the other night figuratively with pitchforks and torches. It’s about those who’ve already had Covid and don’t feel like getting the shot because they have immunity, and those who’ve been vaccinated, and still know the vaccinated can spread it. She’s all about her overreach. Let her play her political games.”

The consequence is that police, already 1,000 cops short under Lightfoot, could be down 50 percent over the weekend. The people expect three things from a mayor: Pick up the garbage, keep them safe and continue the fantasy that the public schools work, at least for some.

She’s the mayor, not some dangerous idiot kid playing chicken at 3 a.m. on Southwest Highway.

She may not be a kid but she sure is an idiot.

The people of Chicago suffer post-traumatic stress from the constant violence. Police are rebelling against her. Firefighters, too. Many cops are already vaccinated, but some aren’t, yet even those who have taken the jab tell me they won’t comply by telling City Hall a thing about their health. And just off stage–but not quite–waits Arne Duncan, the White Shadow, the empty sweat suit and unofficial candidate backed by the Obama crew and Rahm and already the beneficiary of much media love. Obama/Rahm want their City Hall back. And she’s giving it to them.

Lightfoot made her nest of thorns. She’s warred with cops for years, while currying favor with militant leaders of the Chicago Teachers’ Union by giving them the most lucrative contract in history, even as school enrollment plummets. In response, the union slapped her around politically, and repeatedly defied her feeble attempts to reopen the schools. The CTU sees her as weak.

A Cook County judge issued a gag order telling Catanzara to stop making public comments encouraging his members to defy the city’s COVID vaccine policies. But this is Chicago. And a “gag” order doesn’t always “gag” who it’s supposed to.


Earlier in the hearing, Catanzara refused to voluntarily stop making those allegedly inflammatory comments to his members. But in apparent defiance of the judge’s order, within minutes of the hearing, FOP tweeted out an earlier appearance by Catanzara on a Fox News program, where they said he explained that “the vaccine mandate policy doesn’t make any sense, and why he is asking officers not to report their vaccination status.”

City Attorney Michael Warner made a fool of himself. If the judge hadn’t been in the mayor’s pocket, Warner would have been tossed out of the courtroom on his ear.

Warner argued that the cops are a quasi-military organization and that gagging would prevent Catanzana from spreading “sedition.”

FOP attorney D’Alba suggested muzzling Catanzara amounted to an infringement of his First Amendment rights. But Warner suggested the union president’s comments constituted a danger.

“It’s not First Amendment-protected speech,” he said. “He is advocating sedition. He is advocating anarchy here. That, in and of itself, is causing irreparable harm.”

The city is safe, at least through the weekend. But by Tuesday, Lightfoot will have run out of time as the list of officers not in compliance with the reporting requirement of the mandate becomes available.

At that point, the semi and the clown car will crash into each other. Or the clown car will end up in a ditch. Either outcome is possible at this point.

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