CHICAGO — Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 board of directors has given police superintendent Eddie Johnson a vote of “no confidence.”
An FOP spokesperson said Johnson’s decision to skip President Donald Trump’s speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police this coming Monday in Chicago was “the last straw.”
The superintendent issued the following statement regarding the board’s vote:
“While today’s decision is from the Board and not the active FOP membership, I understand and respect that the Lodge is upset about the decision to not stand with the President. As police officers, our job is to be the voice for the voiceless and ambassadors to the communities that we serve. I can’t in good conscience stand by while racial insults and hatred are cast from the oval office or Chicago is held hostage because of our views on new Americans.”
On Wednesday, faith leaders from various Chicago churches and dominations expressed support for the superintendent’s decision.
“We all agreed and applauded him but standing because he’s going to catch a lot of hell about that,” Bishop Larry Trotter, Sweet Holy Spirit Church, said.
Johnson has been under fire in recent days after WGN Investigates was first to report the superintendent was found slumped over in his vehicle late at night last week. The superintendent blamed a change in medication for feeling drowsy but later told the mayor he had consumed several drinks at dinner. Responding officers did not conduct a field sobriety test and allowed Johnson to drive himself home.
On Tuesday, the police department announced Johnson would not attend Monday’s speech by Trump “because the values of the people of Chicago are more important than anything he would have to say.”
Reporters repeatedly questioned Johnson about last week’s incident ahead of Wednesday’s budget address by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“You all have been working with me for four years… all I’m asking is wait until after [the investigation] is done and we’ll answer,” Johnson said.
However, the superintendent did answer the pastors’ questions about the inspector general’s report on the Laquan McDonald shooting and it’s characterized of him being among the top brass who viewed the video and signed off on the shooting as justified.
“I was never in a group setting ever that’s just patently false, I was never in a group setting, when I saw the video it was myself and then chief of patrol Wayne Guilford, two people not a group, after I saw the video I left the room, never said a word to him and that was it,” Johnson said.
The pastors said Johnson’s credibility in the community was at stake.
“Our goal was to find out if he was part of a cover up and I think we came away at least satisfied with what we heard,” the Rev. Marshall Hatch, New Mt. Pilgrim Church, said.
Also Wednesday, there was high praise from the mayor during her budget speech. She pointed out that shootings and murders are down and crime is at 20-year low and she gave all the credit to Johnson and his officers — saying they deserve respect and admiration for the hard work they do every day.