(Newsroom America) -- Eleven Chicago police officers who were removed from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's security detail after his election have filed a federal lawsuit alleging they were replaced by other officers who had volunteered for his campaign.
The officers - all white or Hispanic - also allege they were discriminated against because black officers who had less time on the detail were not demoted at the time, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The officers say Cmdr. Brian Thompson, who is in charge if the detail, and the city violated the decades-old Shakman decree, which prohibits political considerations in most city hiring decisions, the paper said.
Six of the officers also filed a complaint last year alleging city violations of the Shakman decree. An attorney for the officers told the paper that investgation is ongoing.
The lawsuit says the officers' removal from the security detail demoted them in rank, which resulted in significantly lower pay and reduced benefits.
The officers are seeking unspecified monetary damages and a return to their former positions, according to the suit.
Officials with the city's Law Department called the suit "baseless," adding that neither Emanuel or his staff had any part in the hiring process. Officials said the decisions were made by then-interim Police Superintendent Terry Hillard.
On Wednesday, Hillard issued a statement defending his decision, saying he consulted the U.S. Secret Service and security experts before assembling the team.
"It was, as it should be, a careful and deliberative process, and at no time were political or any other inappropriate factors considered, period," he said.
The officers had undergone similar processes before being placed on former Mayor Richard Daly's detail, their lawyer, Jonathan Ksiazek, said.
The suit alleges that in May 2011, as Emanuel was transitioning into office, the officers were transferred out and the replacements brought in without having undergone the same formal application process, the paper reported.
Ksiazek said the officers who replaced his clients had volunteered to work on Emanuel's campaign or had other political connections to it, which resulted in their being given preferential treatment.
© 2012 Newsroom America.