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Hundreds of firefighters and police officers in Los Angeles are reportedly fighting back against a new ordinance that mandates city workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by early October unless they are granted a medical or religious exemption.
The policy was pushed by Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Nury Martinez, both Democrats. City Council approved the new law 13-0, and it was signed by the mayor last month.
“In order for us, as leaders, to ask Angelenos to get vaccinated, we must set an example as the largest employer in the City of Los Angeles,” said Martinez. “This is us doing our part.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, two allied groups of municipal employees have formed to oppose the mandate.
“Firefighters 4 Freedom” is made up of about 350 L.A. city firefighters, while some sworn and civilian LAPD staffers have joined “Roll Call 4 Freedom.”
“Our goal is to stop the mandated vaccinations for all City employees as well as the citizens of this great country,” the Firefighters 4 Freedom website states. “We want to bring education and truth to the people without being censored.”
The groups appear to have formed after a captain with the Los Angeles Fire Department recorded a widely-circulated video of himself last month condemning the vaccine requirement, equating it to “tyranny.”
LAPD Sgt. Veronica Saucedo told The Times that Roll Call has “hundreds” of members and is a subgroup of Firefighters 4 Freedom. Several first responders have concerns that they will lose their jobs if they fail to comply with the mandate.
“We are supportive of individual rights, personal choice and for managing our own health,” Sgt. Saucedo said.
The Times reported, “The law doesn’t say what happens if someone refuses to get vaccinated without an approved exemption,” adding, “Details about the proposal are being worked out between city leaders and unions.”
An attorney representing Firefighters 4 Freedom told The Times he plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the group challenging City Hall’s mandate.
More from the Firefighters 4 Freedom website:
As Stakeholders for the LAFD, (Los Angeles City Fire Department), our mission is to maintain human rights, constitutional rights, civil rights, and civil liberties as sovereign natural free human beings, and American citizens. We believe in the right to work, freewill, personal choice, medical freedoms, and consent without coercion, retaliation, threats, disciplinary action, or termination. This is not a vaccine versus non-vaccine issue, this is not a left verse right political issue. This is a human rights issue. We hope you stand with us, for we believe all members and citizens have the freedom of choice and natural rights. Your body, your choice. My body, my choice.