CHICAGO — Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson has defended his role in the Laquan McDonald investigation after he came under fire for his involvement in the case before the video was publicly released.
The Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus and the Chicago Police Department held a press conference Saturday morning at police headquarters to address criticism of the top cop since the release of the inspector general’s report on Wednesday.
A number of aldermen said they’ve lost trust in Johnson due to his role in the investigation. However, Johnson stressed that as an area deputy chief at the time, his role was limited to what he could do.
In 2014, McDonald was shot sixteen times by former Officer Jason Van Dyke who is now in prison after conviction for second degree murder.
“I never thought and I never said the shooting of Laquan McDonald was justified,” Johnson said.
The inspector general’s report criticized Johnson for going along with other top police officials in concluding that the shooting was justified and that Van Dyke’s use of deadly force was necessary because McDonald posed a threat.
“At that time in my career, I wasn’t in a position of authority to do anything in terms of these incidents,” he said. “Fast forward to 2016, look at my record in terms of Laquan McDonald and what I did.”
Johnson stressed the department reforms he’s made, in particular, changes in mandatory training with the use of force.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued the following statement about the superintendant:
“I have full faith and confidence in Eddie Johnson as the leader of the Chicago Police Department. Over the years, I have spoken at length with Superintendent Johnson about the shooting of Laquan McDonald, the police response that night and the days after. Based on these discussions and my knowledge from other sources, there is nothing that gives me pause about the Superintendent’s conduct related to that tragic event.
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