The judge said New York had crossed its borders by firing police officers who had disregarded its mandate to vaccinate against COVID by ordering them to return to work.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Lyle Frank ruled Friday in favor of the Police Charity Association (PBA), which saw the decision as a victory for the rights of officials. The ruling stems from other legal failures related to government attempts to require public employees to be vaccinated against COVID.

“This decision confirms what we said from the beginning: the vaccination mandate was an improper violation of our members’ right to make personal medical decisions in consultation with their own healthcare professionals,” PBA president Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “We will continue to fight to protect these rights.”

Vaccine mandate protesters are photographed during a demonstration outside New York City Police Headquarters on February 3, 2022. A judge on Friday ruled that the New York City Police Department must re-hire officers who have been fired for failing to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
YUKI IWAMURA / AFP / Getty Images

The association, which represents more than 50,000 active and retired officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), filed a lawsuit in October 2021 calling the mandate a “draconian imposition” and asking for it to be stopped.

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of the country’s most populous city at the time, imposed a mandate on all city workers to be vaccinated by November 1 or to be placed on unpaid leave. During that time, 68 percent of New York City forces had been vaccinated, or less than 76 percent of adults in the city.

While the city claimed to have the authority to vaccinate, Frank wrote in: his four-page ruling that “his enforcement measure is limited to fines” and that all terms and conditions of employment must be agreed with the union representing the police.

“The statement that the court should read in the statute that the enforcement of the vaccine mandate is enforceable by exclusion from the workplace, suspension, unpaid leave and final termination of the contract, would be a gross exaggeration of the powers of the commissioner (the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene)” – wrote Frank.

Police forces across the country were particularly resistant to COVID immunization orders introduced by local jurisdictions to contain the pandemic. At the national level, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s request.

In February, New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office laid off 1,430 city workers who had not complied with the city’s immunization mandate. That same month, Adams began loosening mask credentials and proof of vaccination as the pandemic showed signs of fading away in a city that was once one of the fastest spreading the virus.

Adams on Tuesday announced that the city has dropped the obligation to vaccinate students so that they can participate in school sports and extra-curricular activities. reported PIX11. The city also resigned from the mandate for private employers, but kept the requirement for municipal workers.

“A lot of people think COVID is in our rearview mirror,” Adams said. “It will stay in the rearview mirror if we do the right things.”

Newsweek contacted the New York City Department of Health and Law for comment.

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