According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has summarily fired Johnson on Monday, accusing him of “lying to me and lying to the public” about a drinking and driving incident that took place in mid-October.
Lightfoot came to the conclusion after reviewing the findings of Inspector General Joe Ferguson. His report investigated an incident that happened on October 17 when Johnson was found slumped over in his police SUV at about 12:30 a.m. after brushing off his driver and attempting to drive himself home.
“The findings… make it clear that Eddie Johnson engaged in conduct that is not only unbecoming, but demonstrated a series of ethical lapses and flawed decision making that is inconsistent with having the privilege of leading the Chicago Police Department,” the mayor explained in a City Hall news conference.
“Had I known these facts at the time, I would have relieved him of his duties as superintendent then and there,” Lightfoot said. “I certainly would not have participated in a celebratory press conference to announce his retirement. Mr. Johnson failed the hard working members of the Chicago Police Department. He intentionally misled the people of Chicago and he intentionally misled me. None of that is acceptable.”
Before Johnson got the boot from Lightfoot, the 59-year-old CPD veteran first announced that he was retiring back in early November. The ex-superintendent has yet to comment on being let go. Lightfoot only said that his reaction was “accepting.”
Lightfoot initially told the Sun-Times that Johnson had been drinking the day of the incident. However, the inspector general’s report and bodycam video of the incident could’ve made Lightfoot’s assessment of the situation exponentially worse.
The mayor added in her press conference that the investigation is ongoing. “While at some point, the inspector general’s report may become public and those details may be revealed, I don’t think it’s appropriate or fair to Mr. Johnson’s wife or children to do so at this time,” she said.
Johnson initially blamed his slumped state to a change in his blood pressure medication and his failure to fill the replacement prescription. This is when Lightfoot subsequently told to the Sun-Times that the superintendent told her he had a “couple of drinks with dinner.”
Now, Ferguson’s investigation raises questions on whether Johnson should have been driving, why he wasn’t given a sobriety test and whether the rules were changed to protect him.
If you let Lightfoot tell it, Johnson “intentionally misled the public” and communicated “a narrative replete with false statements all seemingly intended to hide the true nature of his conduct” the night before.
“Just like with the public, Eddie Johnson intentionally lied to me — several times. Even when I challenged him about the narrative that he shared with me, he maintained that he was telling the truth,” Lightfoot said. “I now know definitively that he was not.”
The accusations against Johnson are full of irony, considering he publicly chastised Jussie Smollett back in March for allegedly committing a “hoax”. When charges were dropped against Smollett after he was accused of lying about a racist and homophobic attack, Johnson said, “at the end of the day, it’s Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax. Period.”
The CPD continues to be up for question after a long history of lies and deception. Distrust for the CPD reached its peak when video was released of Laquan McDonald being brutally killed by the police back in November 2015. Johnson was meant to replace then CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy after he was fired during that time. But it now seems that even Johnson can’t hold a job with honesty and decency.