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Mayor fires Chicago's police superintendent weeks before his retirement: 'Eddie Johnson intentionally lied to me'

Gregory Pratt, John Byrne and Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has fired police Superintendent Eddie Johnson for intentionally misleading the public and acting unethically in relation to the night where he was found asleep in his car after drinking.

Lightfoot said Johnson had engaged in a series of actions that are "intolerable."

"Eddie Johnson intentionally lied to me," Lightfoot said at a morning news conference.

As a result of the move, former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, who had been announced previously as Johnson's interim replacement, will take over as interim superintendent on Monday. Beck is on a flight back to Chicago and will be in town this afternoon, Lightfoot said.

Johnson was unable to be reached for comment on Monday.

The bizarre story began in October, when officers responding to a 911 call found Johnson asleep in his parked car near his home at about 12:30 a.m.

 

Johnson told reporters he had failed to take medication he'd been prescribed, leading to him fall asleep in his police vehicle on the way home from going out to dinner.

At the time, Johnson told reporters he had been tired after a long day at work Wednesday but went out to dinner with friends that night. He said he felt ill as he drove home from the dinner.

"How can I explain it? It's just your body kind of gives you a warning with the high blood pressure thing that you may pass out, so I pulled over, stopped and I just rested myself until that feeling passed," he said.

Johnson defended officers' decision not to test for whether he had been drinking, saying, "Someone asleep in a car doesn't mean they're impaired."

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