On Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was ordered to testify in a federal trial related to a lawsuit filed by eight Chicago police officers who were allegedly dropped from the mayor’s security detail for political reasons after he took office in 2011, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The eight officers, who are all white or Hispanic, filed a 2012 lawsuit alleging that Emanuel took part in selecting a new security team that included African-American officers with less seniority and other officers who volunteered on the mayor’s campaign.
The group alleged that Emanuel directed Terry Hillard, who was serving as CPD’s interim superintendent at the time, to select a “diverse” team and participated in meetings to choose campaign volunteers to reassign to the mayor’s police protection.
According to U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber’s Tuesday ruling, Emanuel will have to give answers under oath, however that doesn’t mean he will have to take the witness stand during the trial.
Emanuel is required to sit for a deposition that will be taken privately by lawyers in the case. The judge will later consider the deposition’s transcript as it relates to one of the suit’s allegations.
The allegation holds that the city violated the so-called Shakman ban on political hiring after officers from Emanuel’s campaign were assigned to his security team in 2011.
The city’s Law Department called the case “frivolous and without merit," according to the Tribune.
The judge’s order for Emanuel’s deposition after the city fought a subpoena served on the mayor last month calling for his testimony in court.
City attorneys argued that Emanuel had already given written answers regarding his involvement in the selection go his security detail. The attorneys argued the requiring the mayor to testify would take up too much of his time.
This week, a jury began hearing evidence on the lawsuit’s counts that allege racial discrimination. A bench trial related to the count alleging a violation of the Shakman decree will be held later before Leinenweber.
Cmdr Bryan Thompson, who served as the chief of the mayor’s security detail under Emanuel and former Mayor Richard M. Daley, testified Tuesday, claiming that protecting Emanuel was more difficult “due to current events” and that the “threat level" was higher for the mayor.
“A lot more people in the city hate him for various reasons,” Thompson told jurors.
Emanuel has faced increased scrutiny and calls for his recognition since dash-cam footage of the police-involved shooting of African-American teen Laquan McDonald was made public last November. McDonald was shot and killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in October of 2014.