The State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) today sued to try to block the impending firing of seven troopers who claim religious reasons for not wanting to get Covid-19 shots.
This is the union's second court attempt to block a vaccination mandate. Last fall, the union sued to try to block the mandate for all troopers, but a Suffolk Superior Court judge rejected their request, in part because she concluded public health, in the form of a state effort to fight a deadly disease, took precedence.
In its newest suit, also filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the union argues that seven specific troopers who are now on the cusp of actually being fired have a First Amendment right to refuse to take the shot, whether because they object to the alleged way it would interfere with their God-given DNA or because some vaccine testing might have been done on cell lines derived from fetuses aborted in the 1970s.
The union says it is not contesting either the science behind the shots or the mandate itself, but rather what it says is the state's refusal to allow for "reasonable accommodation" of the troopers' religious beliefs, as called for under their contract, for example, by letting them continue to work while wearing masks and undergoing regular Covid-19 testing.
The union charges that officials refused to even let the troopers make a case for "reasonable accommodations" - as opposed to how officials did work to try to accommodate troopers who sought medical exemptions from the mandate.
The suit comes a day after the union took a swipe at Boston after a group of suburban police departments that pool resources for large events said it would no longer send help to Boston because of a city-council ordinance limiting how BPD can use tear gas and other "non-lethal" crowd-control methods.
The Association and its members continue to stand ready to answer any call for assistance. To our brothers and sisters in Boston: we have your back even if your own city council and others don't. We are not ones to back down because of dangerous policies. #StrongerTogether
Complete complaint (1.2M PDF).