WESTFIELD, NJ — The president of the local volunteer rescue squad, who faces criticism for his view that the pandemic is a hoax aimed at “Orwellian control” of the population, has stepped down from his leadership role.

David Sloan is resigning from his role as the squad's president, Chief Sergio Guzman announced Friday.

Sloan, who will remain a member of the squad, had expressed views in support of a slate of conspiracy theories, including QAnon and the notion that the pandemic is manufactured — views that became more widely known after he led a march of about a dozen unmasked demonstrators through downtown Westfield in a rally against human trafficking Aug. 30.

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“We would like to reassure the public that our organization does not share the views of this individual,” Guzman said in a statement. “We remain an apolitical organization. We are committed to providing the highest quality emergency medical care to our patients.”

Sloan declined to comment on the development Friday evening.

Guzman said that residents had contacted the squad with concerns about the “recent events [portrayed] in the media,” that they feared being in the care of squad members and that they would as a consequence not donate to the squad. While the nonprofit rescue squad serves the town, it is a volunteer organization supported by donations. It is not funded by tax dollars.

“We will continue to uphold our mission to provide the best care possible,” Guzman said. “The structure of the Westfield Rescue Squad may change in the coming months. Due to attrition of members as a result of COVID-19 and a potential lack of funding, we will be taking steps to ensure that the highest quality medical care possible will continue to be provided to the residents of Westfield.”

Mayor Shelley Brindle, who before the news coverage told TAPinto Westfield she was not aware of Sloan’s march through the downtown and into Mindowaskin Park, on Thursday sought to distance the town from the recent events.

“The Westfield Rescue Squad consists of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to assist our residents in need, with a long history of service to the community,” Brindle said, through the town's spokeswoman. “Although the town has no oversight of the Rescue Squad in their capacity as a nonprofit, volunteer organization, I share the concern of residents who stand on the side of science and condemn QAnon’s conspiracy theories.”

In a social media post Thursday, Sloan had indicated that his leadership role at the squad was compromised — something he blamed on the representation of his views in the press.

“Even if both, human trafficking and the Plandemic, are Deep State/Cabal operations geared at complete Orwellian control of the population, according to many open source intelligence intermediaries, e.g. Robert David Steele, Simon Parkes, Ben Fulford, Sacha Stone, Charlie Ward, QAnon, etc., these issues don't need to trigger & divide the public,” he stated.

Sloan, who rose to the role of the squad’s president in 2018, has been the face of the volunteer organization in recent years, accepting honors at town council meetings, soliciting donations for the squad and giving interviews with the press.

The squad's chief offered his appreciation for Sloan's volunteerism.

“Despite recent events, we would like to thank this individual for the thousands of hours of selfless volunteerism to the town of Westfield,” Guzman said. “Our values of volunteerism remain as strong today as they have been in the 68 years since our foundation. It is a privilege and an honor to serve our community during some of their worst moments.”

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