Chicago, IL – Former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie 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.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired Superintendent Johnson on Monday and called him a liar.
Lightfoot told reporters at a press conference that she had reviewed the Inspector General’s 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.
“A lie is a lie,” the mayor said. “He told me something that happened that night that turned out to be fundamentally different than what he portrayed to me and what he portrayed to members of the public.”
She claimed she was hoodwinked into supporting then Superintendent Johnson’s recent 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 mayor refused to address rumors about what Superintendent Johnson had lied to her about.
“I think out of deference to his wife and his children, it’s not my narrative to tell, it’s not my story to tell,” she said.
But sources told WGN that it had to do with a woman who wasn’t the superintendent’s wife.
Sources said that the Inspector General’s investigation had unearthed surveillance video that showed Chicago’s top cop out drinking for a few hours with the woman at Ceres Café, a trendy spot at the Chicago Board of Trade building.
Later that night, a citizen called 911 and reported a man asleep in his car.
Officers responded and found then-Superintendent Johnson slumped over and asleep, WGN reported.
The officers knocked on the window to wake up their superintendent.
But when he awoke, he simply sat up, held his credentials up to the window at the officers, and then drove off, WGN reported.
Lightfoot said she had reviewed the Inspector General’s report and videotaped evidence and that there was no grey area in her decision to terminate Superintendent Johnson immediately, but she wouldn’t reveal what exactly he had misled her about.
“Well, he lies a lot,” the mayor said. “He told me something that happened that night that turned out to be fundamentally different from what he portrayed to me and what he portrayed to the public.”
She said she didn’t want to do or say anything that could influence or taint the inspector general’s investigation, but disputed the notion that there is a broad-based problem in the police force.
Lightfoot said she refused to paint the police department with a broad brush and pointed the finger directly at her newly-fired police superintendent.
The mayor said that the police department and her office would be reviewing the Inspector General’s finished report to see if any other police officers were involved in the former superintendent’s cover up and should be investigated.
“The old Chicago way must give way to the new reality,” the mayor said. “Ethical leadership, integrity, accountability, legitimacy, and yes, honesty must be the hallmarks of city government.”
Lightfoot said Chicago police officers needed a leader that reflected those characteristics.
The former superintendent released a statement on Tuesday afternoon that did not specifically dispute anything Lightfoot had said when she announced his termination.
“I acknowledge that I made a poor decision and had a lapse of judgement on the night of October 16,” Johnson wrote in his statement. “That was a mistake and I know that. However, I have no interest in fighting a battle for my reputation with those that want to question it now.”
“Reputations are not built in a day and not damaged in a day either,” he wrote. “They are the result of years of living. We reap what we sow in this world.”
“I will simply rely on the reputation for integrity that I think I have earned during my long career, with the faith that we should all be judged by the entirety of our lives and not what happened on our worst days,” Johnson said in the statement.