DENVER (CBS4)– Seven Denver police officers are asking a judge to issue a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order preventing the City of Denver from forcing them to either receive a vaccine against COVID-19 or face termination.
In court documents filed yesterday and obtained by CBS4, the seven officers- Jonathan Christian, Dewayne Rodgers, Bart Stark, Rich Ziegler, Nick Elliott, David Curtis and Les Tucker- contend that Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and his Department of Public Health and Environment do not have the legal authority to enforce the Aug. 2 order.READ MORE: As Vaccine Rates Remain Low For Communities Of Color, Door-To-Door Campaigns Help Build Trust In Doctors' Advice
That order gave city employees until Sept. 30 to prove they have been vaccinated or potentially be fired.
Mayor Michael Hancock called the officers “selfish.”
“We find this to be regrettable and quite frankly selfish on behalf of these individuals to file this claim at this time. I think they are out of step with science,” Hancock told CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass.
Hancock went on to say if they fail to get the vaccine, it is not the mayor or any agency firing them. “If you choose not to comply, you fired yourself.”
In their request, the officer’s attorney wrote, “The clear, immediate threat of irreparable harm to the Plantiffs regarding compliance with an unlawful public health order which mandates a medical procedure, including the punitive nature of the ‘reasonable accomodations’- coupled with the strong public interest of retaining adequate numbers of police officers- weigh heavily in favor of the requested injunctive relief.”READ MORE: Police In Denver Collect Unwanted Medications On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
The legal action goes on to say the mayor and public health department cannot “mandate an experimental inoculation as a condition of both private and public employment.”
The latest figures from the City of Denver show about 82% of Denver police officers have submitted proof of vaccinations and 92% of all city workers have been vaccinated.
The legal action states, “There are hundreds of Denver Police Officers who reached out to undersigned counsel to be included in this litigation. Many of these officers are considering resigning their post with Denver Police Department.”
City administrators have said they are making manpower adjustments and preparations in case a large number of officers and deputies resign or are fired due to the vaccine mandate.
“We have contingency plans for every department across this city if we have to terminate people as a result of this order,” said Hancock.MORE NEWS: Snowy Conditions On I-70 Cause Issues In Colorado's High Country
Court records show a Denver judge has a hearing scheduled on the matter Wednesday morning.