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Firefighter Under Investigation for What He Allegedly Did with City Letter Demanding Compliance

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As COVID-19 vaccine mandates have started going into effect in cities across the country, some employees are putting up a fight.

Los Angeles has predictably strict mandates in place for both the general population and city workers. City employees are required to show proof of vaccination by Dec. 18. If they do not, they face possible termination, according to KABC-TV.

Among the Los Angeles workers who have protested this requirement are a considerable number of firefighters.

One firefighter made his opposition to the vaccine mandate very clear on Nov. 18.

A member of the Los Angeles Fire Department received a letter from the city demanding he comply. He responded by wiping his buttocks with the letter, leaving feces on it, and then dropping it on the floor, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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An LAFD spokeswoman said the firefighter is being investigated and is on paid leave. “The department is aware of the seriousness of the allegations and took immediate action upon learning of this incident,” the spokeswoman said.

Los Angeles has already received pushback against the vaccine mandate from its firefighters.

The firefighters union applied for a temporary restraining order to prevent enforcement of the mandate. However, Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff denied the application and scheduled a hearing for Dec. 2, KABC reported.

On Nov. 8, hundreds of people, including some municipal employees, showed up outside Los Angeles City Hall to protest the mandate. The demonstration was organized by a group called Firefighters4Freedom, according to KNBC-TV.

But Mayor Eric Garcetti has insisted on the mandate. He warned last month that city employees who refuse to comply should be ready to lose their jobs.

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“The city’s employee vaccine mandate is critical to protecting the health and safety of our workforce and the Angelenos we serve,” he said, according to KNBC.

“Employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 18, and we are putting a rigorous testing program into place in the meantime. Let me be clear: Any employee who refuses to be vaccinated by this date should be prepared to lose their job.”

Scott Tomlin, a firefighter at the Nov. 8 protest, said he is indeed ready to lose his job “because I’m not prepared to lose my life over [the vaccine mandate].”

The only way to avoid getting vaccinated and still keep a job as a Los Angeles city employee is to submit to two COVID-19 tests a week. $65 per test will be deducted from an employee’s paycheck if he or she chooses that route, according to Deadline.

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The president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, Freddie Escobar, has voiced his opposition to the mandate. Escobar is fully vaccinated and thinks the city should allow firefighters to choose between getting the vaccine and getting tested instead of penalizing them for not getting the vaccine.

“Why can’t they do that for the men and women that work for the city of Los Angeles? … We’re not asking for anything that’s crazy,” Escobar said, according to KTLA-TV.

Despite the opposition, LAFD has said it will enforce the mandate.

“City leaders have spoken — all city employees who choose not to comply with the mandatory vaccinations ordinance will be held accountable and face possible termination. The Fire Department is no exception,” the department said in a statement.

This firefighter’s letter stunt is no shock. However, he might have chosen a more dignified way to make his opposition to the mandate known.

The Stentorians of Los Angeles City, a group representing African-American firefighters, condemned his protest as a “horrific display of unprofessionalism,” the Times reported.

“I am beyond appalled at such an act by an LAFD firefighter,” said Jimmie Woods-Gray, president of the city’s Fire Commission, adding that “strong corrective action is necessary.”

Of course, if this firefighter is refusing to get vaccinated, he knew he was probably going to get fired anyway. “Strong corrective action” likely won’t have much effect on someone who has dug in his heels this deep.

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Abby Liebing is a Hillsdale College graduate with a degree in history. She has written for various outlets and enjoys covering foreign policy issues and culture.
Abby Liebing is a Hillsdale College graduate with a degree in history. She has written for various outlets and enjoys covering foreign policy issues and culture.




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