There are just over 12,000 employees of the Los Angeles Police Department, and around 2,600 of them are planning to seek out religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The development comes after the city mandated that its public employees be vaccinated against the virus. On top the those seeking religious exemptions, an additional 350 employees are planning to seek medical ones. Those who received exemptions will have to take regular COVID-19 tests. All city employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 5 if they haven't received an exemption.
Earlier this week, a group of LAPD employees filed a federal lawsuit challenging the mandate, saying it violates their constitutional rights. The lawsuit's plaintiffs include people "who could not assert a medical or religious exemption," as well as people who say they have natural antibodies from previously being infected with COVID-19.
According to L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer, the lawsuit is "much more political statement than it is sound legal argument."
"It cannot be the case that the health of anyone's child, anyone's grandma, anybody in our city could be put at risk because they come into contact with a first responder who hasn't been vaccinated," Feuer said.