Roughly a month after Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a measure requiring all city employees to be fully vaccinated by early October, a group of six Los Angeles Police Department officers has asked a federal judge to overturn the mandate.
The lawsuit, filed Saturday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges that there is no evidence that naturally acquired immunity against the virus isn’t as effective as the vaccine. It also argues that the mandate violates the employee’s constitutional rights to privacy and due process, Los Angeles Daily News reports.
“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,” according to the complaint filed against the city of Los Angeles.
Along with the city, the lawsuit names Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD Chief Michel Moore, and City Administrative Officer Matthew Szabo as defendants.
Though the city’s policy grants exemptions for religious or medical reasons, the six LAPD employees who are suing include individuals “who could not assert a medical or religious exemption” to the vaccine mandate, as well as individuals who have “experienced and recovered from COVID-19” and now have antibodies to fight the virus, the lawsuit says, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The complaint also alleges the employees have been subjected to pressure to get vaccinated by LAPD leaders, including a captain who said during a meeting that the city was open to firing thousands of employees if they didn’t get the shot, the Times reports. The plaintiffs argue that commanders have called employees who aren’t inoculated “unfit for duty.”
According to recent data, nearly half of the LAPD’s 12,000-plus workforce remains unvaccinated. While studies have shown that previous infection does create some natural immunity, an August CDC report indicates that vaccination offers more protection. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated.”
Department data also shows that roughly 85 percent of new COVID infections among LAPD employees were among the unvaxxed. Ten LAPD employees have died from the virus, and thousands have been infected.
In a statement sent out Monday afternoon, City Attorney Mike Feuer said, “I have tremendous respect for our first responders and for all city employees. But in this pandemic, it cannot be the case that the health of anyone’s child, anyone’s grandma, anybody in our city could be put at risk because they come into contact with a first responder who hasn’t been vaccinated and could be transmitting COVID-19.”
He added that he’s “confident” the city will will: “The U.S. Supreme Court, and courts across the country, have upheld vaccination mandates by government and they’ve done so because they said the greater good compels it. The greater good compels this right now.”
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