City of Chicago reverses decision for officers to foot the bill for failed labor lawsuit legal costs

After news broke of the officers potentially being sent to collections for not paying back the city’s legal costs, a letter was sent announcing the reversal

By Ashley Silver

CHICAGO — The Chicago mayor’s administration has reversed course on its decision to make police officers pay back legal fees the city accrued from a labor lawsuit thrown out by a Chicago judge.  

WGN News reported last week that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration was seeking $185 each from 100 SWAT officers and threatening to turn them over to a collections agency if they didn’t pay. The city’s law department spokesperson declined to comment on why the reversal took place, according to WGN.

The original lawsuit filed by Chicago officers claimed the city was violating federal labor standards and Illinois wage laws by having them work an on-call schedule without properly compensating them. A judge dismissed the case and said the city could recoup its legal costs.

Subsequently Mayor Lightfoot’s law department sent letters seeking $185 from each of the 100 current and former SWAT officers who brought the lawsuit in an attempt to recoup nearly $19,000 in legal costs.

“It’s 100% vindictive,” CPD SWAT operator Bob Bartlett told WGN last week. “We were fighting for our labor rights in a city that’s a labor city and you guys are punishing us.”

Mayor Lightfoot denied knowing any details about the letters when asked by WGN last week.

“I haven’t read it so the lawyer in me tells me to actually read the judge’s order before I react to it,” Lightfoot told the news platform.

According to WGN, the same day this statement was given by the mayor, letters were sent to officers involved in the lawsuit saying “the city will not be seeking recovery on the Bill of Costs.”

RELATED: Louisville SWAT members' attorney to continue fighting for on-call backpay

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