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An LAFD firefighter is currently under investigation over his response to the citywide COVID-19 vaccine mandate after being given a noncompliance letter from the department.
According to a report, the unnamed firefighter pulled down his pants and then wiped his buttocks with the letter before tossing it on the ground.
Fox News reports that the incident allegedly took place in Pacific Palisades at Station 69.
If true, the act is a “terminable” offense, according to the Los Angeles Stentorians, an organization representing black firefighters in the city.
“The LA City Stentorians are sickened and disgusted by this horrific display of unprofessionalism,” the group noted in a statement. “To date, we have not heard from anyone from the LAFD administration condemning this act of blatant disrespect and harassment.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the organization also urged the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, as well as the city council and fire commission to quickly respond to the alleged act.
The paper noted that a spokeswoman for the LAFD, Cheryl Getuiza, said the department is taking the response from the firefighter seriously.
“The department is aware of the seriousness of the allegations and took immediate action upon learning of this incident,” Getuiza said, adding that the incident allegedly occurred Nov. 18.
“No matter how our members react, all city employees must abide by the city ordinance — either file for an exemption, get vaccinated, or face termination,” a spokesperson from the department told the Times.
Jimmie Woods-Gray, the fire commission president, said she was “beyond appalled” by the firefighter’s response. She added that “strong corrective action is necessary.”
The unidentified firefighter, who “responded inappropriately,” according to the department, has since been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation and potential further action, according to Getuiza, who added that the firefighter “will face the consequences of any inappropriate acts.”
“The situation underscores the deep resistance among some within the Fire Department over the city’s mandate that employees be vaccinated,” the paper reported.
Harrison Wollman, a spokesman for Garcetti, declined to comment Monday on the alleged incident, the Times reported.
On Wednesday following the Stentorian’s statement, Wollman said the “mayor’s expectation is that fire department leadership will handle this matter definitively, and make it clear that these appalling actions will not deter enforcement of rules that we’ve put in place to save lives.”
The vaccine mandate has spurred anger and resentment among a faction of LAFD firefighters. A newly formed group called Firefighters 4 Freedom has filed a lawsuit against the city over the mandate.
There are other issues within the department as well, to include allegations of harassment and bullying of female firefighters.
“A recent survey found that an overwhelming number of firefighters lack trust in their leaders, while many in the department are frustrated with perceived inconsistencies in how top brass discipline sworn members,” the L.A. Times reported.
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