Chicago's Police Chief Fired Over Incident in Vehicle

Mayor accuses Eddie Johnson of lying about when he was found asleep in his running SUV
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2019 1:54 PM CST
Chicago's Police Chief Fired Just Before Retirement
In this Oct. 28, 2019, file photo, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast File)

Chicago was getting a new police chief, but it wasn't supposed to be this fast. On Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired Superintendent Eddie Johnson effective immediately over a strange incident in October in which Johnson was found asleep at a stop sign in his running vehicle, reports the Chicago Tribune. Johnson had previously announced that he was retiring by the end of the year. Lightfoot said a city inspector general's report (which hasn't been released) convinced her that Johnson lied to her and the public about what happened in October. But she won't provide many details beyond that, save for cryptic lines like this: "While at some point the IG’s report may become public and those details may be revealed, I don’t feel like it’s appropriate or fair to Mr. Johnson’s wife or children to do so at this time." Johnson has not commented on his firing.

Officers found their superintendent asleep in his SUV about 12:30am Oct. 17 and let him go home without testing him for alcohol. Later that day, Johnson held a news conference and blamed what happened on a change in medication he was taking, reports NBC Chicago. On Monday, Lightfoot said Johnson was sticking to his story, but she's not buying it, in part because of unspecified videotape evidence. She accused him of repeatedly lying to her personally, even when she raised questions about his version of events. He "engaged in conduct that is not only unbecoming but demonstrated a series of ethical lapses and flawed decision-making," said the mayor. Former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Peck flew to the city Monday and is taking over immediately. (Read more Chicago stories.)

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