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Chicago releases bodycam video from night former police superintendent was found asleep at the wheel

Gregory Pratt and John Byrne, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- The city of Chicago on Monday released records and body camera footage related to an October incident in which then-police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was found asleep at the wheel, which led Mayor Lori Lightfoot to angrily fire him.

But Lightfoot's administration is declining to release Inspector General Joe Ferguson's report on the matter, despite having pushed the City Council to approve a law allowing certain IG reports of high public interest to be released.

The ordinance backed by the mayor last fall would have allowed the corporation counsel to decide whether to release IG investigation reports in cases that involve a death or that are "or may be" a felony, and are "of a compelling public interest."

Kathleen Fieweger, the Law Department's spokeswoman, defended withholding the report on Johnson, disputing that there's any conduct that may have been a felony.

Records released by the city show the incident that led to Johnson's firing started when an unidentified man called 911 to report someone asleep in a vehicle at a stop sign.

The caller told officials that the vehicle's lights were off but the engine was running and smoke was coming out of the exhaust.

 

"They've been sitting there at least five minutes," the caller says at one point.

In footage from a responding officer's bodycam, Johnson is at the wheel when the officer asks, "You just sitting here or you wanna go home?"

"I'm good," Johnson replies.

The officer responds, "You good? All right, sir. Have a good night."

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