LA fire captain Christian Granucci calls city's vax mandate 'tyranny' in viral video
The 31-year veteran faces internal probe as LAFD says people may mistake his comments for official policy
A fire captain at the Los Angeles Fire Department is facing an investigation after uploading a video slamming the city's vaccine mandate. Captain Christian Granucci is now being investigated by the Professional Standards Division for his video, recorded while he was in uniform. The video was uploaded just a week after the city mandated the Covid-19 vaccine for all city employees, as many other cities have been doing in recent weeks.
As the Delta variant causes a huge surge in Covid-19 cases, vaccine mandates have become an increasingly popular option for Democrat-controlled states and cities. However, conservatives have hit back, often in very viral ways. On August 17, a San Diego nurse revealed she quit her job due to vaccine mandates at a County Board of Supervisors meeting. Days later, Matt Baker made waves after a video of him ranting emerged from the same meeting. Others though, like Dr Valentine in Mobile, Alabama, have fought back. The doctor revealed he would soon stop seeing unvaccinated patients, saying he "cannot watch them suffer."
As with mask mandates, vaccine mandates have become a highly divisive issue. Despite prominent GOP politicians like Greg Abbott revealing they had been vaccinated, most supporters refuse to get their shot or be subject to a mandate. New York is facing the brunt of the protests, but it isn't alone. As this story shows, people all over the country are firmly against any sort of mandate. The latest to go viral is Granucci, who is now facing an investigation.
Granucci calls mandates 'tyranny'
The 12-minute video was posted by the fire captain on Telegram sometime over the weekend on August 21 or 22. It was then uploaded to YouTube by another individual on August 23, where it quickly racked up nearly 15,000 views. From there, the video spread to Twitter and Facebook, which quickly got the attention of the LAFD. In the video, the captain says, "This is about freedom of choice. The department has said we can seek medical exemption… that is a pie in the sky. We can even seek religious exemptions, but they know they have end-runs around those. The vaccinations will come. And then after that, it will be a booster, and another booster and another booster. When will this end? When will this tyranny stop?"
He then added, "I’ll tell you when it’s going to stop. It’s going to stop right here, right now, and I’m putting my administration and my union on blast." He also threatened legal action, saying he and a group of unspecified firefighters have an attorney "on retainer." Granucci also claimed there were hundreds of firefighters who have retained a lawyer to fight the requirement. he claimed the mandate was a violation of In the video, Granucci is seen wearing an LAFD t-shirt, and cap. He says he is a 30-year veteran of the LAFD.
City hits back, investigates captain
Shortly after the video began circulating on social media, it came to the attention of the LAFD on August 23. The department immediately slammed Granucci and confirmed an investigation was underway. "While we respect the individual's right to his opinion, he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the Department. The individual is in uniform and appears to be on duty, thereby giving the impression that he is speaking in an official capacity. Therefore, the matter has been submitted to our Professional Standards Division for investigation, which may lead to disciplinary action," they said in a statement.
The fire union though attempted to tread a more cautious line. Freddy Escobar, President of the United Firefighters of LA City said, "We continue to encourage our members to get vaccinated, but we do not support any City policies that make it a condition of employment." He added, "We are in discussions with the City because our highly skilled and experienced LAFD Firefighters and Paramedics cannot be easily replaced - especially in a department that is already understaffed."
Granucci also faced some backlash from social media users, who were quick to slam his stance. The controversial stance came after Los Angeles approved a vaccine mandate for city employees on August 18, hoping to increase vaccination numbers amidst the surge. Exact numbers are unclear, but a report in June estimated that around 50% of firefighters and police officers are partially vaccinated, lower than the state's average of 72%.