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Chicago's former police superintendent due nearly $190,000 annual pension despite being fired

Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- Eddie Johnson was unceremoniously fired in December before his planned retirement from his post as Chicago's top cop, but he still stands to bring in a hefty pension, records show.

Johnson, 59, was fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who said her then-police superintendent had lied to her after a late weeknight out last fall when he was found asleep in his city-issued SUV near his South Side home. But even though the dismissal meant he was not allowed to leave on his own schedule, Johnson's pension will entitle him to a six-figure income each year for the rest of his life, city records show.

The Policemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago awarded Johnson a monthly pension of more than $15,800, or an annual gross payment of nearly $190,000, according to records obtained by the Chicago Tribune through a request under the state's Freedom of Information Act.

That annual figure represents 75% of his average salary of just over $253,000 a year during his final four years with the department.

In the end, Johnson's career turbulence and early exit did cost him.

Since he did not stay on as superintendent until the spring, which would have been his four-year mark as the city's top cop, he missed out on annual payments of just over $5,200, according to the records. Johnson was introduced by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the end of March 2016 and was confirmed by the City Council the next month.


Johnson fell under pressure in October of last year, when he was found asleep in his running city vehicle near a stop sign close to his home in the Bridgeport neighborhood. While city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson's office began to investigate the case, Johnson announced in November he would be retiring at the end of the year, short of his fourth anniversary as the department's leader.

Then weeks before that planned retirement, Lightfoot abruptly fired him on Dec. 2 after she learned that Ferguson's office uncovered evidence that Johnson had lied about what happened in the October incident.

Pensions for Chicago police command staffers are generally calculated by looking at their highest average salary over their peak four-year period with the department. Those with CPD for at least 29 years, plus one day, are entitled to 75% of that peak salary.

At the time of Johnson's firing, he was a 31-year veteran of the department, so he had hit the 75% threshold. But since he had served as superintendent for less than a full four years, he missed out on a higher pension.


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