The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is investigating a captain who recorded a video of himself ripping the city’s new vaccination mandate for city workers, equating the policy to “tyranny.”
Officials announced on Monday that the department’s Professional Standards Division launched the probe because Capt. Christian Granucci appeared to be on duty while disparaging the requirement because he was wearing his uniform.
“I am so hopping mad right now. You have no idea,” Granucci said, speaking to the camera. “My head could pop.”
The video was reportedly recorded on Granucci’s cell phone while he was at work on Monday morning. Graham then posted on Telegram and it was reposted on YouTube later in the day. During the message, Granucci acknowledged he would “more than likely catch total grief” for his comments and said his wife “is going to kill me.”
LAFD said in a statement that Granucci gave the impression he was speaking in an official capacity on behalf of the department. As a result, he could face disciplinary action.
Granucci, 52, said he has been with the agency for 31 years. He blamed the firefighters union for failing to take a more proactive approach to stop the requirement, saying leaders “sat on their hands” and allowed the issue to divide its members.
“Now they are lockstep with total tyranny,” he said. “This is not about politics. This is not about left or right. This is not about red versus blue. This is not about Republican versus Democrat. This isn’t even about vaccinated versus unvaccinated. This is tyranny. This is about freedom of choice.”
Granucci claimed hundreds of union members were working with an attorney he described as “a shark.”
He called on union representatives to “stand up and take the fiery arrows from the adversary of tyranny, and step in front of this and fight for us.”
The Los Angeles Times described Granucci’s video as “a rare public outburst by a member of the Fire Department” against the new ordinance, which awaits Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti’s signature before becoming law.
More details from the Times:
The City Council voted last week to require city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by early October, while granting exemptions to employees with medical conditions or “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Those employees must be tested regularly.
The L.A. ordinance does not spell out what happens if someone refuses to get vaccinated without an approved exemption or balks at other requirements.
The city’s roughly 3,350 firefighters are on the front lines, working as paramedics and emergency medical technicians, but have been slow to take the vaccine. Only about 50% of the department was vaccinated earlier this summer.
Granucci said the issue was “bigger” than LAFD and the firefighters union, adding that he didn’t recognize the department, state, or country anymore. He called on first responders everywhere to “put your union on check and have them fight for you.”
The Times reported that Freddy Escobar, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112, “declined to respond to Granucci’s criticisms.”
“The vaccinations will come, and then after that, it will be a booster, and another booster, and another booster,” Granucci predicted. “And when will this end? When will this tyranny stop?”