Two high-ranking NYPD officers have been relieved of their guns and shields and placed on modified duty for allegedly using fake vaccination cards to get around New York City's vaccine mandate for city workers. The NYPD confirmed Wednesday that Lieutenant Joseph Marsella and Captain Desmond Morales had been placed on desk duty during an Internal Affairs Bureau investigation, the New York Daily News reports. The mandate introduced Oct. 29 required workers to show they had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine or be placed on unpaid leave. Around 6,500 officers and other NYPD employees have requested exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
"We were clear from the outset that vaccine compliance was a serious matter. It is not just about the individual NYPD employee's health, but also the health of their coworkers and others around them," the NYPD said in a statement, per NBC New York. "If the investigation finds that these two officers substituted false documentation to the department it is a serious breach of integrity and the law." Sources tell the New York Post that numerous other officers are also suspected of submitting bogus vaccination cards to the department's system. (Read more NYPD stories.)