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HONOLULU, Hawaii (LifeSiteNews) — More than 1,200 first responders in Honolulu and Maui took part in a class action lawsuit Friday challenging COVID-19 jab mandates for city and county employees in Hawaii.
In the lawsuit filed August 13, the plaintiffs cited a violation of their “constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” according to the suit.
The legal action comes as the state threatens a return to lockdowns if more Hawaiians don’t get the experimental shot.
Attorneys Michael Green, Kristina Coccaro, and Shawn Luiz joined forces to represent the large number of plaintiffs, who include firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other first responders.
Hawaii’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city and county employees, announced August 6, ostensibly gives unvaccinated employees the option to reject the experimental drug and instead submit to weekly testing, but only if they are granted a medical or religious exemption.
However, the attorneys in the lawsuit have argued that the mandate and its exemptions still constitute a violation of union members’ collective bargaining agreements and create significant problems for employees.
“If they can’t prove the testing because they’re waiting for their free tests and they’re going to be home without pay,” attorney Kristin Coccaro said. “So it’s almost the same result as being fired. You’re having a large majority of our first responders off the street without pay and being punished.”
According to the suit, the legal action is brought “on behalf of the more than 1,200 ‘similarly situated first responders” consisting of the Honolulu Fire Department, the Honolulu Police Department, the Maui Fire Department, the Maui Police Department, Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Department, and the Honolulu Ocean Safety Department, who have been unlawfully denied their federal statutory and federal constitutional rights.”
First responders are suing over COVID vaccine mandate.🔻https://t.co/KCkKoW1CyF
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) August 15, 2021
Defendants named in the suit include Hawaii Democrat Gov. David Ige, who recently signed a bill permitting nurses to kill babies in first-trimester abortions, Honolulu mayor Rick Blangiardi, Maui mayor Michael Victorino, and radical pro-abortion U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
As reported by ClassAction.org, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants in the case “have failed to provide first responders with procedural due process protections and threatened to deny accommodations ‘based on any objections to any ingredients on the vaccine.’”
The action accuses the defendants of “callousness,” as well as “deliberate indifference to clearly established constitutional and statutory rights.”
Attorney Shawn Luiz said the plaintiffs are “just asking for the chance to choose.”
“It’s a personal, autonomous, healthcare decision, and everyone should make their own choice, whether or not they want to take a vaccine,” Luiz said.
Capt. Kaimi Pelekai of the Honolulu Fire Department, a plaintiff in the suit, said the mandate has serious implications for himself and his career.
“I have to choose between that career that I’m committed to or put in an experimental drug that I don’t know what it’s gonna do to me in my body, or I got to give all that up,” he said.
After Luiz and the other attorneys representing the Hawaii first responders filed their lawsuit Friday, the case has drawn additional attention and interest.
According to KITV4, an ABC affiliate based in Hawaii, another 800 city employees asked to be a part of the lawsuit over the weekend, the legal team told the outlet.
The attorneys say they’ve received thousands of requests from students and employees in the private sector who also want to push back against vaccine mandates by opening their own class action lawsuits; the legal team told the outlet they intend to file more lawsuits on behalf of the other affected individuals who have reached out to them.
News of the legal action comes as reported “surges” in cases of the Delta variant have led to a return to some of the COVID-19-related restrictions of 2020.
Despite increasingly coercive vaccine mandates and amid protests from hundreds of Hawaiians opposed to mandatory COVID-19 shots, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green has threatened a return to full economy- and society-crushing lockdowns should the unvaccinated continue to shun the experimental shot.
“It’s a small minority that is otherwise condemning society to a lockdown and potentially large-scale death,” Green said, placing the blame for rising case counts upon unvaccinated Hawaiians.
“No one wants to close down businesses, no one wants to put in curfews, no one wants to curtail regular life or schools,” Green claimed, “but we have to keep people alive.”
Green said new restrictions in the Aloha State may be imminent, arguing that “we are two to four weeks at this rate from seeing major adjustments in what we’re able to do.”
In addition to reimposing certain restrictions and threatening full-scale lockdowns, the state has begun to crack down on the use of fake COVID-19 vaccine documents.
Two tourists from the U.S. mainland were arrested Sunday at Daniel K. Inouye Airport in Honolulu after they attempted to use fake vaccine passports to forgo the state’s mandatory 10-day quarantine for unvaccinated visitors.
According to a statement provided to Business Insider by Hawaii’s Department of the Attorney General, investigators arrested the tourists after receiving a tip from a “community member.”
After the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the 1,200 city and county first responders, Honolulu’s August 16 deadline for COVID-19 vaccination has been extended to August 23.
Meanwhile, a hearing is set for September 8 before U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson.