On Tuesday, a court in New York ruled that the NYPD could not terminate an officer who refused to take the shot and had sued the city over its mandatory COVID vaccination policy.
This may help the nearly two dozen police officers who have brought similar lawsuits, according to New York Post.
Alexander Deletto, a 43-year-old police officer, had his request for a religious exemption granted after the city failed to provide a specific explanation for rejecting his appeal.
The NYPD denied Deletto’s request for religious exemption on Feb. 15. Without providing any additional context, the NYPD simply stated, “does not meet criteria.”
“The hollow and generic phrase ‘does not meet criteria’ cannot be rational because not a single item particular to [Deletto] was discussed and not a single reason for the decision was given,” said Bluth in her ruling. “It is the duty of the agency to explain why it made the decision.”
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Deletto — a nine-year veteran of the force who works out of the 88th Precinct in Clinton Hill — filed suit the day before he was set to be fired on Aug. 5 for not getting vaccinated.
Bluth then granted a temporary restraining order, allowing the father of five to stay on the force pending her decision.
“His biggest concern when he wandered into my office in early August was how he was going to support his children,” Mermigis told The Post Wednesday. “He didn’t know what he was going to do, but under no circumstances was he going to betray his religious beliefs.”
Mermigis said his client was “elated” at the judge’s decision that he can keep his job and remain unvaccinated.
“He feels vindicated,” the attorney said, adding that Deletto can now breathe “a big sigh of relief.”
Mermigis has filed more than 20 cases on behalf of cops opposing their termination for not getting the jab.
“My goal is to keep them employed,” Mermigis said of the officers he represents. “The last thing we need is to fire more cops when there is an acceleration of crime.
“These are people that were heroes during COVID that put their own safety at risk to help the city of New York and this is how the mayor treats them?” he said. “It’s an absolute disgrace.”
Many lawsuits have been filed over the vaccine mandate including by the NYPD’s largest union the Police Benevolent Association – which argued in one case that Mayor Eric Adams’ exception of the mandate for performers and athletes undermined claims of protecting public health.