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Los Angeles Police Sue Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Police officers in other cities have taken similar action after vaccination requirements for city employees

A group of police department employees are suing the city of Los Angeles because it requires COVID-19 vaccinations.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Sept. 11, names Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD Chief Michel Moore, and City Administrative Officer Matthew Szabo as defendants.

In August, the city council unanimously approved a plan from Garcetti and City Council President Nury Martinez that required all city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees must comply by Oct. 20.

The plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit include Jason Burcham, Rodge Cayette, Michelle Lemons, Michael Puno, Susana Reynoso, and Ana Fuentes.

“They are asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunction in response to the city’s new ordinance, arguing it violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution, the Supremacy Clause, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” resorts The Center Square

According to Forbes, “The employees, part of a 12,000-person force that is nearly half unvaccinated, argued the mandate doesn’t take into account natural protections among those who previously had Covid-19 and claims employees can be protected ‘through non-pharmaceutical interventions such as health screenings, wearing masks and quarantine.’”

In addition, the lawsuit argues that LAPD employees have been harassed and pressured to get vaccinated by leadership members. The court documents allege commanders have said unvaccinated officers are “unfit for duty” and said they could be denied promotions, refused special assignments, or even fired because of their vaccination status.

Captain Stacy Spell, an LAPD spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times that the department could not comment on pending litigation. 

First responders and law enforcement in other states have also taken actions in recent days.

State troopers, firefighters, and other Washington state employees filed a lawsuit against Governor Jay Inslee. They believe Inslee exceed his authority when he mandated vaccines for state workers.

In Oregon, state troopers and firefighters sued Governor Kate Brown after she issued a similar mandate.

The Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago’s largest police union, intends to take legal action against Mayor Lori Lightfoot if she requires city workers to get the COVID-19 vaccination as she previously indicated she would do.

Portland will not enforce its vaccine requirement after the Portland Police Department resisted. They argued the requirement was illegal and would lead to mass resignations.

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