Judge Cautions Both Sides in Chicago FOP Vaccine Mandate Debate

A judge on Thursday cautioned those on both sides to remember that everyone involved is in public service

Chicago's Fraternal Order of police encountered the second setback in as many days Thursday as the showdown over Chicago's vaccine mandate continued.

At a hearing, Moshe Jacobius, presiding judge of the Chancery Division for the Cook County Circuit Court, ruled the city of Chicago can have all cases related to the FOP vaccine mandate challenge heard before the same judge.

That judge, Cecilia Horan, on Wednesday refused a union request that she step aside.

Jacobius cautioned both sides saying, “When you see what’s going on, and you see the sensationalization of this, people need to really consider, everybody that’s involved here is in public service.”

The FOP livestreamed the hearing on its Facebook page, a move that is typically a violation of court rules. It also announced a “Hold the Line Hero’s Fund” for the 23 officers it says are on no-pay status already.

Officer Gino Garcia talked to NBC 5, saying he has been stripped of his badge and his police powers as a result of the mandate.

"What they are doing is not simply putting people on no pay status, they are taking part of them away," he said.

But while court struggles continue, some members of the Chicago City Council believe they too should have a voice.

Ald. Silvana Tabares, of the city's 23rd Ward, has introduced an ordinance that would repeal the city's vaccine mandate.

“This ordinance is about having an open and transparent discussion,” the alderman said, “before this policy is forced down people’s throats.”

She and other sponsors say they want to require council approval for future mandates that involve no-pay status. FOP President John Catanzara said in a YouTube video that "there is no reason that ordinance should not be passed 50 to zero."

The mayor is pressing forward with the mandate, saying the vaccination rates of city offices, apart from public safety, are at more than 80 percent.

She cautioned officers not to follow the advice of the FOP.

A Cook County judge issued a temporary restraining order against Chicago Fraternal of Police President John Catanzara Friday, ordering him stop encouraging officers not to comply with the city's vaccine mandate. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.

“People are going to wake up to the reality that they are being led over a cliff by someone who has already destroyed his career,” the mayor said, referring to Catanzara.

A hearing will take place Friday regarding the FOP's request for judge substitution Meanwhile, the city seeks to expand a temporary restraining order against Catanzara to keep him and other union officials from encouraging their members to violate the city’s vaccine mandate.

The union contends the mandate represents a change in working conditions that should have been negotiated at the bargaining table.

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