Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

By J. K. Schmid
Special to the AFRO

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott’s employee COVID vaccination mandate went into effect Oct. 18.

The city counts 14,000 employees on its roster, the mandate requires COVID full vaccination for every city employee or weekly COVID testing for those that refuse vaccination or refuse to disclose their vaccination status.

Employees that fail or refuse to meet these new standards are forbidden from reporting to work.

Further consequences or penalties, such as termination, suspension, or censure are not specified in the Mayor’s policy.

Baltimore’s Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Mike Mancuso is leading a standoff against the city and its new policy, citing “various, and very obvious, issues with their vague policy.”

Mancuso has been invited to an Oct. 21 meeting with the Mayor’s Office to discuss the policy in detail, he said in an Oct. 15 letter sent to every Baltimore Police Department (BPD) officer.

Various, or obvious or not, Mancuso does not address one qualm or quibble with the specifics or the outline of Mayor Scott’s new policy.

In the interim, Mancuso has filed suit with the Office of Labor Commissioner and is suggesting that the BPD members refuse to disclose their vaccination status to their BPD superiors and the public whom they ostensibly serve.

“Until the city responds to our right to bargain these issues, or the courts intervene, I suggest you do nothing in regard to revealing your vaccination status as it is outlined in the city’s policy,” Mancuso said.

Curiously, Mancuso is representing a minority position within the FOP. Internal BPD reporting counts 64% of its staff as vaccinated. Vaccinated meaning having received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Baltimore City reported city-wide full vaccination at 63.9% for residents 18-years of age and older.

Even more bizarre, COVID is the number-one killer of police officers across the United States, according to Officer Down’s independent reporting, overtaking traffic fatalities and heart attacks.

“Until I have more information, be safe and look out for one another,” Mancuso’s letter concluded.

Under the new guidelines, the Mayor’s office will be providing free pop-up vaccination and testing sites at every city office.

Without knowing the long-term consequences of Mancuso’s and his cohort’s defiance, it is difficult to predict what will happen next.

However, keeping over a third of Baltimore’s police at home, with pay and no overtime, leapfrogs defund the Defund the Police movement entirely, and launches the city and its residents towards the even more radical “Abolish the Police” position.

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