Seven DPD Officers Are Suing The City Over Its Employee Vaccine Mandate, With A Hearing Scheduled For Wednesday

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Denver Police cars on the 16th Street Mall. April 24, 2020.

Seven Denver police officers are suing the city over its COVID-19 vaccine requirement, alleging Mayor Michael Hancock, Police Chief Paul Pazen, and the Department of Public Health and Environment cannot legally enforce the order. 

Hancock ordered city employees and certain “high-risk” workers in the private sector to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in August. The deadline for that order is Thursday. 

Attorney Randy Corporan, on behalf of Officers Dewayne Rodgers, Bart Stark, Rich Ziegler, Nick Elliott, David Curtis, Les Tucker, and Jonathan Christian, filed court documents in the Denver District Court last week.

The lawsuit requests a temporary restraining order and subsequent review of the vaccine requirement, which it describes as unlawful due to the vaccines’ “still experimental” status. The Pfizer vaccine was fully approved by the FDA in August.

“During the pandemic, each of these Plaintiffs loyally worked the front lines, yet now, they are precipitously placed on the edge of unemployment,” the lawsuit said.

Hancock has said people’s employment may be terminated should they choose not to get vaccinated, but as it stands, the health order mandating vaccination does not specify what happens to unvaccinated employees after the Sept. 30 deadline passes.  

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

About 7 percent of Denver employees have asked for vaccine exemptions so far. Police officers and firefighters had the highest rate of vaccine exemptions approved within city ranks.

The Biden Administration has issued its own sweeping vaccine mandate for private businesses employing at least 100 people. It is unclear when that requirement will go into effect.