City Demands Cash From Chicago Police-SWAT Standoff Ends
After a lengthy court battle, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration has demanded financial restitution from the officers who filed the lawsuit against the city. Chicago police investigator Bob Bartlett stated, “It’s 100 percent vengeful.”
Bartlett was on the department’s SWAT team for 15 years until he quit because he was tired of being on call without pay. Bartlett and about a hundred other current and former team members sued the city, saying they were not paid for hours worked in violation of federal labor standards and Illinois wage regulations.
The controversy initially made headlines when SWAT officers started ignoring calls during their off-duty hours in 2018. Now that the lawsuit has been dismissed and the city may recover its legal fees, Lightfoot’s legal team has sent letters to the officers involved in the case, demanding that each pay $185 to help cover the roughly $19,000 legal cost.
The SWAT team gets frustrated by constantly being on call without compensation
If the police don’t respond by November 11, the letters say the debt will be increased and turned over to a collections agency. Can you believe it? Now, in this day and age,” Bartlett remarked. He added that he and the other SWAT officers are now trying to persuade city council members to block the mayor’s plan and that they are also considering starting a GoFundMe to cover the debt.
Bartlett remarked, “We were fighting for our labor rights in a city that is a labor city, and you guys are punishing us.” A representative from the city’s law department stated that the plaintiffs did not submit an appeal of the judge’s decision to allow the city to recoup its legal fees. When asked about the situation on Wednesday, Lightfoot said he knew nothing about it.
“The lawyer in me encourages me to read the judge’s order before I react to it,” she remarked, implying that she had not yet read the judgment. City spokesman Kristen Cabanban said in an email that “in actions initiated under the Federal Labors Standard Act, litigation costs may be recoverable to the successful party.”