Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot accused the Fraternal Order of Police of inducing an "insurrection" by opposing the city's vaccine mandate on public employees.
Lightfoot made the alarming accusation on Monday after the head of the union called on its members to defy the mandate.
"What we've seen from the Fraternal Order of Police, in particular leadership, is a lot of misinformation, a lot of half-truths, and, frankly, flat out lies in order to induce an insurrection. And we're not having that," Lightfoot said to reporters. "And so we want to make it very, very clear that the law is on our side. We feel very confident about it."
The city had initially demanded that all officers be vaccinated by Aug. 15 but they backed off of that mandate and said that police were going to have until the end of the year to comply. However, they said that officers would have to tell the city whether they were vaccinated or not.
In a video to police union members last week, Chicago FOP President John Catanzara said the city doesn't have the right to mandate officers divulge their health information.
"I've made my status very clear as far as the vaccine, but I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody — let alone that information about your medical history," Catanzara said.
He warned that 50% of police officers would not show up for work for the weekend. The city of Chicago claimed that 65% of the city's police force had complied with the vaccine mandate by informing officials of whether they had been vaccinated or not.
In response to the warning, Lightfoot said last week, "John Cantazara says a lot of things, a lot of it offensive, and racist and foolish."
A judge later issued a restraining order against Catanzara to stop using social media to oppose the mandate.
Lightfoot went on to explain Monday the basis of a lawsuit by the city against the union.
"So you ask the question of why the lawsuit," she said. "Because we believe that the FOP leadership is trying to foment an illegal work stoppage, a strike, pure and simple. We've laid that out in the materials. And we're not having that. The contract is clear."
Here's more about the battle over vaccines mandates:
Chicago's mayor and police officers face off over vaccine mandates www.youtube.com