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LAPD employees sue city over vaccine and mask mandates

White House defends new vaccine mandates
White House defends new vaccine mandates 12:40

Six Los Angeles Police Department employees are suing the city for its vaccine and mask mandate, claiming it violates their constitutional right to privacy. The group of employees is also suing LAPD Chief Michael Moore and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who mandated on July 27 that all city employees must be vaccinated or take weekly COVD-19 tests.

The suit alleges the vaccine mandate ignores studies about COVID-19 immunity from antibodies and that the city does not provide a way for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to show antibody test results.

According to court documents, several of the employees involved in the suit have antibodies, which indicate they may have some level of protection against the virus.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that all eligible people should be vaccinated regardless of previous COVID-19 infection or positive antibody test. 

Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover from COVID-19, and evidence shows that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19, the CDC says.

Still, the suit makes the argument that the city should not mandate vaccines – even though they have been proven safe and effective. The suit alleges that multiple supervisors have threatened "swift actions" against those that do not vaccinate, one warning that "medical exemptions will be difficult to obtain based upon the science."

The suit alleges that "in addition to the requirement of intrusive weekly testing," the city is also requiring masks, physical distancing and COVID-19 vaccine training "only for the employees who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or have an unreported status."

The employees involved in the suit allege the city's order "further seeks to embarrass, humiliate, shame and deprive the liberty of persons who decline to state their vaccine status by requiring Plaintiff to treat them as unvaccinated and impose testing, masking, and other punitive measures."

The suit alleges the city's mandate violates the part of the California Constitution that states: "All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness and privacy."

They also claim the suit violates their constitutional rights to privacy and due process.

The city's vaccine mandate, which was passed unanimously, states that nonexempt individuals who do not report they are fully vaccinated would be "ineligible to promote or transfer" until they are fully vaccinated, according to the draft ordinance.

Los Angeles is not the only city to issue such an order in recent months. New York City is also requiring all teachers and city employees to be vaccinated and California will do the same for teachers and health care workers.

President Joe Biden announced sweeping requirements for COVID-19 vaccines last week. The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is developing a rule for companies and business with at least 100 employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing for unvaccinated workers. Companies that fail to comply could face fines of $14,000 per violation, Mr. Biden said. 

Large sectors of the workforce are not meeting vaccination goals. As of September 1, nearly half of the LAPD's workforce was unvaccinated. All city employees must be fully vaccinated by October 5, per the mandate.

CBS News has reached out to LAPD for more information and is awaiting response. 

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