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Crime Mayor Lori Lightfoot Fires CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson For Lying About Incident When He Fell Asleep At The Wheel Of His Car

19:50  02 december  2019
19:50  02 december  2019 Source:   msn.com

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has fired Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, after reviewing an inspector general’s investigation into Johnson being found passed out behind the wheel of his car in October.

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“It has become clear that Mr. Johnson engaged in a series of actions that are intolerable for any leader in a position of trust,” she said Monday morning at City Hall. “The finding of the inspector general’s report regarding Mr. Johnson, which I recently reviewed, makes clear that Eddie Johnson engaged in conduct that is not only umbecoming, but demonstrated a series of ethical lapses and flawed decision-making that is inconsistent with having the privilege of leading the Chicago Police Department.

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The mayor said the inspector general determined Johnson intentionally misled the public at a press conference after the incident, in which he blamed the incident on a mix-up with his medication, but did not mention that he had been drinking before he fell asleep behind the wheel of his car.

“He was not caught off-guard, and he had plenty of time to choose his words, and the choice he made was to communicate a narrative replete with false statements, all seemingly intended to hide the true nature of his conduct from the evening before,” she said.

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Lightfoot also said Johnson lied to her when they personally discussed the incident.

“Even when I challenged him about the narrative that he shared with me, he maintained that he was telling the truth. I now know definitively that he was not,” she said.

However, Lightfoot has not revealed if Ferguson’s office specifically determined Johnson was drunk. The mayor said Ferguson’s office is still investigating the actions of others involved in the incident.

Lightfoot said, had she known then what she knows now, she would not have allowed Johnson to simply retire, much less held a press conference to celebrate his 31-year career on the force.

“When there are ethical lapses, lapses in judgment, particularly in a position of trust like the superintendent of police, then it is incumbent upon me and all of us to ensure accountability,” she said. “That’s why I decided to take this clear and decisive action today. The old Chicago way must give way to the new reality. Ethical leadership, integrity, accountability, legitimacy and – yes – honesty must be the hallmarks of city government.”

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The mayor declined to discuss the specifics of Ferguson’s investigation until his report is made public.

Johnson and Lightfoot had announced last month that he would be retiring at the end of the year, and at the time insisted the decision had nothing to do with the investigation into Johnson.

Former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has been named as interim superintendent while the Chicago Police Board conducts a nationwide search for Johnson’s permanent successor.

Beck has been shadowing Johnson on the job for nearly a month, and will now take the reins of the department as Johnson steps down.

Lightfoot said she didn’t take the decision to fire Johnson lightly, “however the circumstances demanded these actions.”

Johnson was found asleep behind the wheel of his SUV early on Oct. 17, after he had gone out for dinner with a group of friends the night before. Speaking before a Police Board meeting the evening after the incident, Johnson blamed the incident on a mix-up in which he failed to take his blood pressure medication, and a feeling that he might faint that prompted him to pull over and rest.

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Lightfoot later told the Sun-Times that Johnson had admitted to her in a phone call that he’d had “a couple of drinks with dinner” that night. However, the superintendent made no mention of drinking when he spoke about the incident publicly, and officers who responded to the scene of the incident did not perform a sobriety test on Johnson.

A woman who had seen Johnson slumped over in his SUV had called 911 to report someone sleeping at a stop sign, according to CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. When officers arrived at the scene, they did not see any signs of impairment, and let their boss drive home without administering a field sobriety test.

Johnson said he fell asleep when he pulled over. He has said he would have been better off having a driver with him after going out for dinner the night of the incident, but both he and his usual driver had already worked all day and he sent his driver home.

The superintendent added that he had visited his cardiologist twice in the days before the incident to follow up on a blood clot that he experienced this summer, and his doctor had changed his blood pressure medication. Johnson said he inadvertently forgot to take his new medication on the day of the incident, after throwing out his old medicine.

Hours after the incident, Johnson requested an investigation by the Internal Affairs Division, citing the need for transparency. Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson later took over the investigation.

Johnson and Lightfoot have declined to comment on the ongoing investigation of the superintendent, including whether or not he’s been questioned or subpoenaed by Ferguson’s office.

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