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updated: 9/4/2012 9:25 PM

Jury awards $1.6 million to sheriff's employees

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Associated Press

A federal jury in Chicago has awarded nearly $1.6 million to 21 Cook County sheriff's employees who claimed they were demoted for supporting an opponent in the 2006 election.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court contended the members of the jail's now-disbanded Special Operations Response Team supported Richard Remus in his losing campaign against Sheriff Tom Dart. The group claimed Dart retaliated against them by getting rid of their unit and creating the Emergency Response Team, whose members were less qualified to perform the same work.

The Special Operations Response Team was implicated in the alleged mass beating of inmates in the jail in 1999.

Dart said Tuesday there isn't any evidence he politically retaliated against the plaintiffs, adding that he plans to appeal.

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