New York’s largest police union files lawsuit over vaccination warrant
New York’s largest police union on Monday asked a judge to allow unvaccinated police officers to continue working, despite the city’s recently imposed vaccination mandate, which requires all city workers to have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine before November 1.
In a complaint filed in Staten Island, which is home to large numbers of police officers and has a lower vaccination rate than the city average, the New York Police Benevolent Association said it opposed a warrant for vaccination for the police officers who do not allow the option of being tested weekly instead of being vaccinated.
The lawsuit also claimed that the warrant – which the mayor announced last week – does not contain sufficient protections for officers who might oppose vaccines because of religious beliefs. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city “will provide religious accommodation” but “valid religious exemptions” are rare.
While most lawsuits to stop government vaccine warrants in New York and elsewhere have failed to gain traction, some federal judges have seemed more supportive of lawsuits that narrowly attack vaccine warrants for failing to gain traction. disregard religious beliefs.
Police unions across the country from Chicago to Washington state are urging their members to resist Covid vaccine demands – although Covid is by far the most common cause of officer-related deaths this year and last year, according to Officer Down Memorial Page.
The New York Police Union lawsuit argues that the city did not give officers enough time to seek religious exemptions. Officers requesting exemptions are required to submit a request no later than Wednesday – one week after the warrant is announced – to avoid being placed on unpaid leave.
As of last week, about 70% of New York Police Department employees had received at least one injection of a coronavirus vaccine. The PBA, which represents base officers, generally supported an earlier policy that had allowed unvaccinated officers to test for the virus weekly. The lawsuit claims that the “test or vax” rule has been effective in protecting public safety.
The lawsuit was filed on a day when large crowds – including many firefighters, police and sanitation workers – marched to protest the vaccine’s mandate. As they crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall, some protesters carried large American flags and chanted aloud, “We will not comply.”