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Cops file suit over demotion from Mayor Emanuel’s security detail

Updated: August 16, 2012 11:37AM

Eleven police officers who claim they were removed from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s security detail so officers who worked on Emanuel’s mayoral campaign could replace them have filed a federal lawsuit.

In the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the officers allege the city violated the 1983 Shakman Decree, which bars city officials from making political considerations in the hiring process.

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said the allegations are “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 in a statement. “All decisions regarding the detail were made by then-interim Superintendent Terry Hillard, and neither the mayor nor his staff played any role in that process.”

Hillard, who now runs the private security firm Hillard Heintze, said in a statement 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 also claim they were demoted to lower-paying jobs because of their race. The officers were either white or Hispanic, and their replacements were African-Americans who had less seniority than other officers, the suit alleges.

The suit claims that when one of the officers asked their unit commander about why they were being demoted, the commander allegedly said, “The color of your skin is your sin.”

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.

The three-count suit seeks unspecified damages in addition to attorney’s fees.

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