Advocate for keeping masks in healthcare settings followed, harassed, and hit by a car after testifying at the LA County Public Health Commission meeting

Joaquín Beltrán, who in 2022 ran for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from California's 42nd Congressional District, and, since losing the primary, has worked tirelessly in the interest of public health on issues of COVID-19 safety, focusing specifically on trying to keep masks in healthcare settings, was harassed today after testifying at the LA County Public Health Commission Meeting.

Beltrán shared on social media that he was "followed and harassed for about half a mile by two individuals who attended public comment" and waited for him to go downstairs and outside. While he was asking them to stop harassing him, and trying to walk away from them, he was hit by a person driving a car, who ended up leaving the scene of the accident. Beltrán ended up going to the hospital to for x-rays and was told he will need a follow-up MRI. In true Beltrán fashion, he passed out masks for folks in the waiting room who wanted them. 

On Thursday evening, he posted an update:

Finally discharged with a knee brace, crutches, anti-inflammatory shot, and a recommendation for an MRI next. One good thing that came out of me being in the hospital: more people were provided with masks. Thank you for all the thoughtful messages.

Beltrán has been working as part of the Action-Care-Equity coalition (ACE), which they describe on their website:

ACE is a community-led coalition that's building collective power to protect every member of our communities. We are taking action and demanding health care that is equitable now.

For more information about the work of the Action-Care-Equity coalition or to join their activism in Los Angeles, check out their website. And for more information about Joaquín Beltrán and his public health activism, follow him on X.

On X, Beltran posted that he had never seen nor met the two people who were harassing him, but X users quickly identified at least one of the pair. The person in the Bernie t-shirt is "medical freedom"-loving Ian Jameson, who has been an anti-vaccine and anti-vaccine mandate activist for the duration of the pandemic. Downtown Los Angeles News featured him in an article about anti-vaccine and anti-vaccine mandates back in December 2021:

Ian Jameson, founder of Los Angeles Leftists for Choice and Unity, is an activist who attends the weekly CEMF [California Educators for Medical Freedom] rallies and is an active supporter of bodily autonomy when it comes to a right to choose being vaccinated. 

Jameson, who can be seen wearing a Bernie Sanders shirt at every anti-vaccine mandate protest he attends, said his apparel decision is intentional and coincides with the message of his newly founded group. 

"The pharma-owned and so-called liberal media have made (vaccines and anything dealing with vaccines) a political issue, and it is not. It's a nonpartisan issue," he said. "Anyone who objects to the vaccines or points to vaccine adverse reporting are dismissed as right-wing conspiracy theorists. I am not right wing." 

Jameson's intention of combatting the narrative that skepticism for COVID-19 vaccines is a political issue, but more so a right-wing issue, also stems from a belief that "this is a lethally and tragic instance where liberals are doing a 180 on responsible skepticism of corporate America," he said.

Jameson said his reasons for continuing to protest vaccines and mandates has to do with entities like LAUSD authorizing mandates requiring vaccination but ultimately being against COVID-19 vaccines and vaccines in general. 

"When all of this COVID stuff ends, I do not want to go back to what was normal prior to COVID, because what was normal was not medical freedom. Medical freedom means that the government has no right to interfere with your private medical decisions," he said.