LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – It’s been almost a month since John Knox worked for the Los Angeles Fire Department
“I would be lying if I said it was easy,” said Knox, a 21-year-old veteran paramedic firefighter. “It’s not.”
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Knox, along with more than 100 firefighters in the city of Los Angeles have been suspended without pay for refusing to comply with LA’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“Over the past 22 months without that shot we’ve been helping the public,” Knox said. “There was never a problem until the city put this mandate in place. Until the city turns us from heroes to criminals. We continued to go out and serve the public.
Knox and the rest of the “Firefighters For Freedom” have filed a lawsuit against the town and its vaccination mandate. Their day in court is next Monday when a state judge is due to hear the case.
“If he wants to terminate them, put them through the proper procedure,” said attorney Scott Street, who represents the suspended firefighters.
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Street argues that since firefighters are public servants, they are guaranteed to be heard before they are fired. According to Street, he is required to issue a notice and allow firefighters to challenge their dismissal before an impartial hearing officer.
In another case filed by the union representing the city of LA firefighters, a judge denied their request to block the execution of the warrant. However, Loyola law professor Jessica Levinson believes the Firefighters for Freedom case is different.
“In the short term, the judge will assess whether the firefighters have in fact been denied due process,” she said.
Levinson believes the firefighters were made aware of their hearings and believes their main complaint about the delay between hearings may not convince a judge that they have been deprived of due process.
According to Levinson, the city can institute a vaccination warrant as long as it follows the proper procedures.
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“No one is in a position to tell me what I can or cannot do with my body,” Knox said. “It’s not the government’s job to dictate my health care.”