(CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel conceded Thursday his motorcade has blown through red lights on multiple occasions at intersections with cameras. But he says he pays the fines, like any motorist would.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.
A blog that chronicles crime on Chicago’s North Side posted five videos that appear to show the mayor’s motorcade going through red lights. All of the violations have occurred since November, including three this month alone.
The most recent occurred Jan. 14 at 87th and LaFayette. It shows one black SUV turning left on yellow, which is legal, but then a second SUV follows through after the light turns red.
Four days earlier, at 2400 West Montrose Avenue, an SUV goes straight through the yellow, followed by the “tail” car.
Emanuel on Thursday offered this explanation: Because there are two cars in his motorcade, sometimes the “tail” car follows through the intersection after the light changes to red.
“Whatever it is, I pay them, even though I’m not driving,” the mayor told reporters.
Pressed again on the issue, Emanuel got defensive.
“I said I was going to pay it. That’s what it means when you’re not above the law. I couldn’t be clearer. … Thank you,” the mayor said, before walking away.
The mayor, a proponent of Chicago’s unpopular red-light cameras, has said they enhance safety by making motorists more careful.
Critics say they’re more about raising money for the city’s budget.
A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department, which protects the mayor, agreed with Emanuel’s explanation, saying the tail car has been triggering the red-light cameras in some instances.
“The drivers are trained to stay together and that will not change,” Martin Maloney said.
The Emanuel administration said the number of red-light cameras across the city has actually decreased during the mayor’s tenure.