LAPD officers sue city over COVID-19 vaccine mandate, claim natural immunity

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Six Los Angeles Police Department officers filed a lawsuit Saturday asking a federal court to overturn a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all L.A. city employees.

The group of officers included Jason Burcham, Rodge Cayette, Michelle Lemons, Michael Puno, Susana Reynoso and Ana Fuentes. Among them were officers who allegedly contracted and recovered from COVID-19, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

“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,” the complaint read. “Studies indicate that these plaintiff’s natural antibodies and immunity are greater than their vaccinated peers.”

The plaintiffs said they should not be forced to be vaccinated if they already have natural antibodies from a previous COVID-19 contraction. They have named the city, LAPD Chief Michel Moore, Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Administrative Officer Matthew W. Szabo as defendants.

The suit arises from an ordinance handed down last month requiring all city employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October, absent medical or religious exemptions. Employees could either show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, or otherwise undergo weekly testing.

In addition to disputing the city’s position that unvaccinated employees are at a higher risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 than their vaccinated colleagues, the suit also alleged the mandate violated the officers’ constitutional rights of privacy and due process.

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