Reporting Bob Conway
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UPDATED 08/16/12 10:14 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The makeup of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s security detail is the subject of a lawsuit.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, the lawsuit in U.S. District Court was filed by 11 Chicago Police officers who had been on retired Mayor Richard M. Daley’s security detail, but were removed from the detail when Mayor Emanuel took office.
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The suit claims the 11 officers, who are white or Hispanic, were replaced by other officers who had volunteered to work on Emanuel’s campaign. Meanwhile, the officers allege, African-American officers were given preferential treatment and were not demoted even though the had less seniority, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The suit charges the actions violated the Shakman decree, which forbids political considerations in most hiring decisions.
The officers say being removed from the detail reduced their salaries and benefits.
The Chicago Department of Law calls the lawsuit is groundless. In a statement to CBS 2, spokesman Roderick Drew said: “What I can say unequivocally is that any claim that the selection of the Mayor’s detail was based on political or other improper considerations is completely baseless and false.”
Drew says the hiring decisions for the security detail were made by Terry Hillard, who was interim police superintendent to fill the gap between Jody Weis and Garry McCarthy.
Hillard says he consulted security experts and the U.S. Secret Service as he was hiring the security team.
“All decisions regarding the detail were made by… Hillard, and neither the Mayor nor his staff played any role in that process,” Drew said in the statement.
The officers are seeking their jobs on the security detail back. They are also seeking unspecified damages.
The lawsuit was filed Monday.