CHICAGO — A Cook County judge reversed course Tuesday, ruling that Mayor Lori Lightfoot will not have to sit for an hour-long deposition as part of a whistleblower lawsuit filed against the city by a Chicago police sergeant.
Judge Thomas More Donnelly ordered last month that Lightfoot must sit for questions regarding the alleged “code of silence” within the CPD. Attorneys for the city then filed a motion to reconsider.
During a hearing Tuesday afternoon, Donnelly ruled that Lightfoot would not have to give sworn testimony. The case is set to go to trial next month and is expected to last about three weeks.
Instead of Lightfoot testifying, attorneys for both the city and sergeant, Isaac Lambert, will submit stipulations to the court regarding Lightfoot’s involvement with the Police Accountability Task Force and a report issued by the task force in April 2016.
The report states, in part, “The collective bargaining agreements between the police unions and the City have essentially turned the code of silence into official policy.”
An attorney for Lambert and a representative for the city’s Law Department both declined to comment after Tuesday’s hearing.
Lambert alleges that he was retaliated against and demoted after he refused to classify another CPD officer as the victim in a controversial police shooting on the Far South Side on Aug. 13, 2017.
Sgt. Khalil Muhammad was driving near the 10900 block of South Hermosa when he saw Ricardo “Ricky” Hayes, an 18-year-old man with autism, who, hours earlier, was reported missing from his nearby home. Muhammad was off-duty at the time, wearing civilian clothes and driving a personal vehicle.
Home security footage previously released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability shows Hayes running down the sidewalk before stopping near 10947 S. Hermosa. After he stopped, Hayes took a few steps toward Muhammad’s vehicle, which was idling in the street about 20 feet away.
As Hayes stepped into the parkway, Muhammad fire two rounds. Hayes suffered a gunshot wound to his armpit, and the other bullet grazed his arm. After he was shot, he took off running again, but was soon found by first responders.
In December 2019, the Chicago Police Board suspended Muhammad for six months. A federal lawsuit filed against the city on Hayes’ behalf was settled for $2.25 million the following year.