On Saturday, a group of six employees of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) filed a federal lawsuit challenging L.A.’s requirement that all city workers get immunized against COVID-19.
L.A. City Council approved the ordinance 13-0, and it was signed into law by Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti last month. The mandate gives city employees until early October to be fully vaccinated, with limited exceptions. They must show evidence of immunization or be subject to weekly testing.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in L.A. It reportedly “claims the mandate violates the employees’ constitutional rights to privacy and due process and asks the court to provide immediate and permanent relief from the requirement.”
The City of L.A., Mayor Garcetti, LAPD Chief Michel Moore, and City Administrative Officer Matthew Szabo are named as defendants.
The lawsuit describes some of the plaintiffs as city workers “who could not assert a medical or religious exemption” to the order, along with others who “experienced and recovered” from previous COVID-19 infections and may have natural immunity.
“The city does not and cannot point to any evidence that vaccinated individuals have longer-lasting or more complete immunity than those who have recovered from COVID,” the complaint says, per City News Service. “Studies indicate that these plaintiffs’ natural antibodies and immunity are greater than their vaccinated peers.”
The LAPD employees suing are Jason Burcham, Rodge Cayette, Michelle Lemons, Michael Puno, Susana Reynoso, and Ana Fuentes.
More details from The Times:
The suit also claims the employees have been subjected to harassment and undue pressure to get vaccinated by LAPD leaders, including a captain who said during a roll call meeting that the city was willing to fire thousands of officers if they don’t get vaccinated.
It alleges that commanders have called unvaccinated officers “unfit for duty” and told them that they would be denied promotions and special assignments based on their unvaccinated status…
Nearly half of the LAPD’s 12,000-plus workforce remained unvaccinated, according to recent data — a greater percentage than in the general public. Officials have said that a portion of the unvaccinated have natural antibodies from contracting the virus previously, though medical experts still advise vaccination for those who have been infected.
Some first responders serving L.A. recently formed allied groups to oppose the vaccine mandate. As The Daily Wire reported last week, “Firefighters 4 Freedom” is made up of about 350 L.A. city firefighters, while hundreds of 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.” The department issued a statement saying its Professional Standards Division was investigating the video and the captain could face disciplinary action.
“While we respect the individual’s right to his opinion, he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the department,” the statement said. “The individual is in uniform and appears to be on duty, thereby giving the impression that he is speaking in an official capacity.”
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