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The Los Angeles Fire Department is investigating a firefighter’s alleged unorthodox method of protesting the city’s vaccine mandate after receiving a hand-delivered letter to comply with the requirement.
The Los Angeles Times reported, “The LAFD member responded to receiving the non-compliance letter by dropping his pants and wiping his buttocks with the letter, leaving fecal matter on the document, before dropping it to the ground, according to the Stentorians of Los Angeles City, a group representing African American firefighters.”
A spokesperson for the fire department told the Times on Wednesday that the alleged incident happened on November 18 and that the employee “responded inappropriately.”
“The department is aware of the seriousness of the allegations and took immediate action upon learning of this incident,” said LAFD spokeswoman Cheryl Getuiza, adding the person “will face the consequences of any inappropriate acts.”
Getuiza went on to tell the outlet that the employee is on paid administrative leave.
“No matter how our members react, all city employees must abide by the city ordinance – either file for an exemption, get vaccinated, or face termination,” Getuiza said.
An L.A. firefighter is under investigation after allegedly wiping his non-compliance vaccine mandate letter between his buttocks at the station https://t.co/zKuGT5H15k
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 25, 2021
The L.A. Times provides more details about the alleged incident:
An LAFD captain and a chief officer witnessed the incident, the Stentorians said in a statement sent to the Board of Fire Commissioners and city leaders. It took place at Fire Station 69 in Pacific Palisades, the group said. …
The group called on the mayor, City Council and fire commission “to take swift and immediate action to deter any city employee from feeling entitled and not encouraged but empowered to behave in such an embarrassing and threatening manner.”
The Stentorians described the act as a “terminable” offense. Their statement included a photo of a man holding what appeared to be a discolored document.
In October, the L.A. City Council approved a plan that pushed back the deadline given for city workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to December 18. The initial cutoff date was October 20. However, the extension came with a price for unvaccinated holdouts who have $65 deducted from their paychecks twice a week to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing.
City workers who have not requested an exemption or already provided evidence of vaccination must “show proof of full compliance” by December 18, the updated plan says, adding, failure to comply with the requirements “shall result in appropriate and immediate corrective action.”
“Employees must be vaccinated by December 18, and we are putting a rigorous testing program into place in the meantime,” said Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement issued last month. “Let me be clear: any employee who refuses to be vaccinated by this date should be prepared to lose their job.”
Courthouse News noted at the time:
The mayor and other elected officials have stopped just short of promising to fire unvaccinated employees. That’s in part because officials fear what will happen to city services should there be widespread firings or resignations. And in general, terminating some city employees, particularly ones represented by certain labor unions, can be a long and costly process.