A Los Angeles Fire Department captain is under investigation after he publicly criticized a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for city employees that was approved by the Los Angeles City Council.
LAFD Capt. Christian Granucci, a 31-year veteran of the LAFD, posted a video to social media on Monday in which he railed against the vaccine mandate. The video was purportedly recorded at work, and Granucci was wearing a LAFD T-shirt and baseball cap.
In the more than 12-minute video, Granucci said that he is "so hopping mad" that his "head could pop."
"This is not about politics. This is not about left or right. This is not about red versus blue. This is not about Republican versus Democrat. This isn't even about vaccinated versus unvaccinated," Granucci said. "This is tyranny. This is about freedom of choice."
Later in the video, Granucci expressed anger at top LAFD brass and union leadership for not intervening to stop city firefighters from being forced to get vaccinated or comply with mandatory COVID testing.
Granucci also promised legal action. He explained "hundreds" of firefighters have a lawyer, whom Granucci described as a "shark," on retainer.
"This is a fight for freedom of choice — free will. This is a fight against tyranny," Granucci said. "Make no bones about it, we have an uphill battle."
Vaccine tyranny: Done being silent. www.youtube.com
How did officials respond?
The Los Angeles Fire Department said in a statement that an investigation has been launched by the LAFD's professional standards division, and Granucci could be disciplined.
The statement claimed Granucci's video is problematic because he appeared to be speaking on behalf of the LAFD, citing his apparel.
"While we respect the individual's right to his opinion, he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the department," the statement said. "The individual is in his uniform and appears to be on duty, thereby giving the impression that he is speaking in an official capacity."
Just over half of Los Angeles firefighters are currently vaccinated, according to the Los Angeles Times.
LAFD Capt. Freddy Escobar, president of the LAFD union, said in a statement the union has been encouraging members to get vaccinated, but disagrees with any city policy that makes vaccination "a condition of employment," KTLA-TV reported.
Escobar also explained the union is working with city officials to prevent a mass exodus related to the vaccine mandate.
"We are in discussions with the City because our highly skilled and experienced LAFD Firefighters and Paramedics cannot be easily replaced — especially in a department that is already understaffed," Escobar said. "The unexpected departure of even a small percentage of our workforce would have a devastating impact on public safety in Los Angeles."