Hundreds of Los Angeles-area first responders have united against a new municipal law requiring all public employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a moment of unity similar to another recent move by first responders in the state of Oregon, firefighters and police officers in the Los Angeles community have united together into two allied groups of municipal personnel formed to appose the vaccine mandate, according to The Los Angeles Times.
According to the Daily Wire, after a Los Angeles Fire Department captain recorded a video that went viral, voicing his strong opposition to any vaccine requirement for public employees, a newfound group, dubbed "Firefighters 4 Freedom" released a statement on its website which said: "Our goal is to stop the mandated vaccinations for all City employees as well as the citizens of this great country. We want to bring education and truth to the people without being censored."
"As Stakeholders for the LAFD, (Los Angeles City Fire Department), our mission is to maintain human rights, constitutional rights, civil rights, and civil liberties as sovereign natural free human beings, and American citizens," the group's stated objective reads, adding that its members believe in "the right to work, freewill, personal choice, medical freedoms, and consent without coercion, retaliation, threats, disciplinary action, or termination."
"This is not a vaccine versus non-vaccine issue, this is not a left verse right political issue. This is a human rights issue," the group's mission declares. "We hope you stand with us, for we believe all members and citizens have the freedom of choice and natural rights. Your body, your choice. My body, my choice."
Firefighters 4 Freedom is made up of about 350 LA city firefighters, while numerous sworn and civilian LAPD staffers have joined "Roll Call 4 Freedom."
LAPD Sgt. Veronica Saucedo told The Times that Roll Call has hundreds of members and is a subgroup of Firefighters 4 Freedom. "We are supportive of individual rights, personal choice and for managing our own health," Saucedo said.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Nury Martinez, both Democrats, have, on the other hand, made a strong push for the vaccine requirement and propelled the policy into legislation. Los Angeles City Council approved the new law 13-0, and it was signed by the mayor last month.
The ordinance mandates city workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by early October unless they're granted a medical or religious exemption. The Times reported that the law doesn't say what happens if someone refuses to get vaccinated without an approved exemption, adding that details about the proposal are being worked out between city leaders and unions.
"I think it's safe to say that we're getting tired of putting our lives on hold to protect people who don't want to protect themselves and get vaccinated," Martinez said in the government press release issued by the mayor's office. "In order for us, as leaders, to ask Angelenos to get vaccinated, we must set an example as the largest employer in the City of Los Angeles. This is us doing our part."