CHICAGO — As fallout continues from the firing of Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is still answering questions for her decision.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the mayor's office released a brief statement that said Johnson is no longer with the department.
We have been informed that effective today, Mr. Johnson retired from his career service rank and is no longer employed by the Chicago Police Department.”
Lightfoot was in Peoria Wednesday but the news from Monday in Chicago was still top of mind.
“I think the department is going to be fine,” she said.
Lightfoot announced her decision to fire Johnson for, in her opinion, lying to her about the night he was found slumped over in his department-issued SUV.
On Tuesday, Johnson said in a statement he did not intentionally mislead or deceive the mayor or the people of Chicago.
Wednesday, the mayor was asked if the entire contents of the inspector general report will be released.
“Obviously the investigation of Eddie Johnson wasn’t just about him,” she said. “It involved the conduct of other people and that investigation is ongoing. We are not going to do anything that would compromise the IG’s work that has to be independent.”
In Chicago, the city’s alderman shared their reactions.
Lightfoot’s floor leader Alderman Gilbert Villegas called the mayor’s action appropriate but also showed some compassion for the former superintendent.
“Superintendent Johnson, with 30 plus years with the police department, came in the department, promoted more African Americans and Latinos than any other superintendent,” he said. “So I’m not going to throw him under the bus for one mistake.”
But that one mistake could reportedly cost others their jobs too. The Chicago Sun-Times reports several CPD employees are under investigation for taking part in a cover-up to protect Johnson.
“I think she was right to fire him from the beginning,” 15th Ward Alderman Ray Lopez said. “But if there are more individuals who are participating in this effort, in this scheme to protect him, then they should be dealt with just as swiftly and immediately.”
11th Ward Alderman Patrick Thompson represents the area where Johnson lives and where he was found slumped over the wheel. He’s concerned about the leaks of information to the media concerning the investigation. But he’s more focused on the future and what the interim superintendent Charlie Beck brings to the table.
“The week before, we were talking about how we were missing these timeframes for the consent decree and we now have an interim superintendent who has lived through that and can help lead us,” he said.