Mayor Emanuel deposed in lawsuit about his security detail hiring

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel was deposed on June 22, 2016 at City Hall as part of a federal lawsuit about his hiring choices. (WLS)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on the hot seat this week during a closed-door, 30-minute deposition as part of a lawsuit involving security detail officers.

On Wednesday, the plaintiffs' lawyer questioned Emanuel on City Hall's 6th floor about his hiring choices. This is the first time we have known of a sitting Chicago mayor deposed in a lawsuit.

The federal lawsuit was filed by Chicago police officers who worked on former Mayor Richard M. Daley's security detail. Eight cops were reassigned and replaced when Emanuel became mayor in spring 2011.


On Thursday, ABC7 obtained a transcript of the questioning which shows that the mayor denied any role in selecting his new security team, which included some of the officers who volunteered for his first campaign.

Emanuel told a plaintiff's attorney: "I was not focused on volunteers throughout the campaign."

He was asked: "Do you recall any conversations about any particular persons that were going to be and that were on the transition security team?"

The mayor answered "No."

The lawsuit alleges that as many as six officers who volunteered on Emanuel's campaign got permanent jobs on the re-formed security detail. Political hiring is illegal in Chicago, a violation of the 1983 Shakman Decree.

Emanuel said his only discussion about his new bodyguards was with then-interim Police Supt. Terry Hillard: "The only thing I said to him was make it smaller than my predecessor and make it diverse. But you make the call," Emanuel said during the deposition.

Last week, a jury in the same case dismissed an allegation that newly assigned African American cops were given preference over those re-assigned who were white and Hispanic.

Several times during his deposition, Emanuel repeated that, at the time, he had more important things to do than worry about security. "I used my time and energy to be focused on what I pledged to the public and that I'd be ready to fulfill those pledges".

The cops who filed the lawsuit are demanding millions of dollars in damages.

Their lawyers said the officers lost at least that much in pay when they were re-assigned after Emanuel was elected. The trial continues in federal court.
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