Eleven police officers who claim they were removed from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s security detail so officers who worked on his mayoral campaign could replace them want a federal judge to order the mayor to sit for a deposition.
The cops, who are all white or Hispanic, allege they were replaced by a team including less qualified black officers for political reasons — and that they were told by a commander that, “The color of your skin is your sin.”
Lawyers for the city have argued that Emanuel is too busy to be deposed, that he was uninvolved in the decision to reassign the security detail he inherited from outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley, and that he has nothing useful to add.
But the cops — who filed a lawsuit against the city in 2012 alleging they were demoted in violation of the Shakman Decree — allege that Emanuel was behind the move.
And they have argued to U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber that, if the mayor has time to have taken “at least eight non-Chicago ‘campaign-related’ trips” since he was elected, he also has time to be deposed.
A spokesman for the Law Department said Friday: “The claims made by the plaintiffs in their suit are baseless: furthermore, there is absolutely no legal or factual basis for the Mayor of Chicago to give a deposition concerning a matter in which he was not involved nor made any decisions about.”
When the lawsuit was filed in 2012, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department said the allegations were “baseless.”
“Any claim that the selection of the mayor’s detail was based on political or other improper considerations is completely baseless and false,” department spokesman Roderick Drew said at the time. “All decisions regarding the detail were made by then-interim Supt. Terry Hillard.”
And Hillard, who has since left the police department, said in a statement at the time that he was “truly disappointed by the untrue allegations made in this egregious lawsuit. . . .
“As Interim Police Superintendent, I was asked to assemble the Mayor-elect’s security detail, which I did by consulting security experts at both the Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service, with an eye toward building a team that was best suited to ensure this Mayor’s safety.”
Hillard said the selections were made after “a careful and deliberative process, and at no time were political.”
The officers claim they were booted from providing security for the mayor after Emanuel was sworn in on May 16, 2011. The city did not seek resumes or conduct interviews after the officers were demoted, the suit alleges.