Chicago, IL – At least five Chicago police officers involved in the incident a year ago that led to former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s resignation could be facing suspension after the inspector general releases his findings on Friday.
The sordid details of what occurred on Oct. 17, 2019 have been leaked to the media in bits and pieces for months although nothing official has been confirmed.
The mayor and the city attorney have said they do not intend to release the full report submitted by Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson because it doesn’t meet the standard to require public disclosure, the Chicago Tribune reported.
But the summary of the report is due to be released on Oct. 16 in Ferguson’s quarterly report.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired Superintendent Johnson on Dec. 2, 2019 and called him a liar at a press conference announcing his termination.
Lightfoot told reporters that she had reviewed the Inspector General’s preliminary report about the night Superintendent Johnson claimed he had felt woozy due to a medication change and so had pulled over to sleep on the side of the road, and found she had been misled by the superintendent.
It turned out that Superintendent Johnson was out drinking for hours with a woman who was not his wife on the night he was found slumped over in his police vehicle on the side of the road, contrary to what he told the mayor had happened.
Lightfoot refused to publicly address the details of the incident out of respect for the top cop’s family but made it clear she felt she had been hoodwinked into supporting then Superintendent Johnson’s retirement announcement.
“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 wouldn’t have participated in a celebratory press conference to announce his retirement.”
“The facts that I know now are fundamentally different from the facts that I knew then,” the mayor explained.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the highest ranking member of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to face discipline for the handling of the incident is Deering District Commander Don Jerome.
Cmdr. Jerome is the highest ranking official in the district where the former superintendent fell asleep in his car.
Sources told the Chicago Tribune that Cmdr. Jerome was expected to receive up to a 28-day suspension for his role in the incident.
The city released bodycam video of the incident in June that showed officers responded to a 911 call that reported a man asleep at a stop sign in a running vehicle.
The video showed the officer knocked on the window of the Black SUV and asked the sleeping driver if he was okay.
“Sir, sir, you alright? You good?” the officer asked as he knocked on the driver’s window.
“Yeah,” Superintendent Johnson replied in the video.
“Can I get your ID?” the officer asked, not having recognized his boss.
It took Superintendent Johnson the better part of a minute to fish out his credentials and offer them out the window to the officer.
The officer’s surprise registered on his face as it reflected on the police superintendent’s window in the video.
“You just sitting here or you wanna go home?” he asked Superintendent Johnson.
“I’m good,” Superintendent Johnson replied.
“You good?” the officer asked, not sounding convinced. “All right, sir. Have a good night.”
Then the video showed he walked back to his police vehicle and allowed the inebriated police official to drive home.
In the Inspector General’s July quarterly report, Ferguson revealed that Chicago police followed their boss home and watched him run a stop sign and cross into the wrong lane briefly, the Chicago Tribune reported.
That report summary said the superintendent’s driver drove home in a city vehicle, too, after drinking with her boss earlier that night.
The driver, who was the security detail officer, has also been accused of taking a SIM card out of a cellphone that the Inspector General’s office wanted to investigate, the Chicago Tribune reported.
No information has been released with regard to what kind of punishment the former superintendent’s driver may be facing.
Sources said that at least three more members of the police department who were involved that night are likely to be suspended, including a lieutenant who was expected to receive up to a 21-day suspension, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Details about what roles each officer played in the incident are expected to be revealed in the quarterly report’s summary later this week.