Lightfoot’s First Big Test
Who Will The Elect Mayor Choose For Corporation Counsel?
One of the most important positions in City government for police officers has become the Corporation Counsel, the top attorney who decides what lawsuits against police officers the City will settle and which ones they will go to trial.
It is a highly political position with the opportunity to farm out huge cases to law firms on behalf of the City.
The Corporation Counsel under Mayor Rahm Emanuel was perhaps the greatest failure of his administration. Emanuel had an unprecedented opportunity to address the vast corruption in the industry of filing lawsuits based upon claims of police misconduct, but he refused to do so.
Instead, in case after case, the City settled when they should have gone to trial, especially in cases that would have further revealed evidence of suspicious claims by civil rights law firms. The settlements were massive. Each one only compelled more law firms to jump in on the action.
The settlements destroyed morale, as one good cop after another was dragged through the process of a lawsuit, only to have Emanuel-appointed City attorneys sell them out again and again.
Now Mayor-elect Lightfoot has an opportunity to defend the police and the public by appointing a new Corporation Counsel who will take these cases to court and root out any evidence of corruption in police misconduct claims.
Who Lightfoot appoints will be a powerful sign of what FOP members will be dealing with in the upcoming years.