A former Washington State trooper who was fired for refusing to get the COVID vaccine—and then went viral in a video in which he told the governor to “kiss my ass”—has died after being infected with the coronavirus, a source confirmed to The Daily Beast.
Robert LaMay became a hero to anti-vaxxers in October when he defied the state mandate and became one of dozens of troopers to lose their job over it.
From his cruiser, LaMay, 50, filmed his final signoff, saying, “This will be the last time you hear me in a state patrol car. And Jay Inslee can kiss my ass.”
Afterward, he told reporters that he did not trust the vaccine, despite overwhelming evidence that it is safe and effective at preventing severe disease.
The married father of four said he was also waiting for a sign from God that he should take it and never got one, and also said the government should not be mandating vaccines (even though governments have long required other vaccinations).
“You should not be forcing this,” he told KOMO at the time. “If you start forcing things like this what’s next?”
After leaving the patrol, LaMay embarked on media appearances and public speaking engagements, at one point appealing for gas money in a GoFundMe post. In a profile piece shortly after he resigned, LaMay said he was working as a traffic flagger.
There were unconfirmed reports last week that LaMay had been hospitalized with COVID and intubated. The Washington State Patrol announced his death on Friday but did not mention COVID. However, a source familiar with his situation told The Daily Beast that LaMay had been hospitalized with COVID-related pneumonia before his death.
“The amount of bashing and trashing him is heartbreaking,” the source said.
Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by the news of LaMay’s death.
“Rob served honorably for over two decades and we were disappointed to see him leave the agency this past October,” he said. “His service to this state and agency will be long remembered and appreciated.”
LaMay joined a growing number of vocal anti-vaxxers—from radio hosts to politicians—who have died of the coronavirus. In a sign of how toxic the issue has become, pro-vaccine commenters took to social media to mock LaMay’s death.