LAPD officers sue city over COVID-19 vaccination requirement

City News Service
Monday, September 13, 2021
LAPD officers sue city over COVID-19 vaccination requirement
Six LAPD officers are demanding in a new lawsuit that a judge immediately overturn the COVID vaccination mandate for city workers, claiming there's no evidence that natural-acquired immunity isn't as effective as the vaccine.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Six Los Angeles Police Department officers are demanding in a new lawsuit that a federal judge immediately overturn the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for city employees, claiming there's no evidence that natural-acquired immunity isn't as effective as the jab.

"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 in Los Angeles federal court against the city of Los Angeles, its police chief, mayor and administrative officer.

The Los Angeles City Council last month approved an ordinance requiring city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by early October, unless they are granted an exemption for medical or religious reasons. Under the mandate, employees would be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a weekly negative COVID-19 test.

A message seeking comment sent to the City Attorney's Office after regular business hours was not immediately answered. An LAPD spokeswoman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

Along with the city, the complaint names Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD Chief Michel Moore and City Administrative Officer Matthew Szabo as defendants.

MORE | COVID cases increasing 'substantially' among LAPD, chief says

LAPD Chief Michel Moore says COVID cases in the department are seeing a "substantial increase" as 84 employees tested positive in the past week.

The lawsuit, filed Saturday, alleges the mandate violates the employees' constitutional rights to privacy and due process.

It also contends that data suggests that naturally acquired immunity may provide greater protection against the coronavirus and its variants than vaccine-induced immunity.

The suit takes issue with the ordinance's statement that unvaccinated employees are at a greater risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 within the workplace, and risk transmitting the virus to the public that depends on city services.''

The plaintiffs argue that "the city does not provide any evidence to support this premise, despite mounting data suggesting fully vaccinated individuals contract and transmit the COVID-19 Delta variant just like non-vaccinated individuals.''

The LAPD employees suing over the mandate are named in the lawsuit as Jason Burcham, Rodge Cayette, Michelle Lemons, Michael Puno, Susana Reynoso and Ana Fuentes. Among the group are officers who have experienced and recovered from COVID-19,'' the suit states.

"Studies indicate that these plaintiffs' natural antibodies and immunity are greater than their vaccinated peers,'' plaintiffs allege.

MORE | LAFD investigating captain after he blasts city's vaccine mandate while in uniform

An LAFD fire captain who called the city's vaccination requirement for city workers "tyranny" is being investigated by the department for appearing to be on duty and speaking out against the city policy while wearing his uniform.