CPD Supt. Johnson says reasons clear for skipping Trump visit

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 21: Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks during a press conference at Chicago police headquarters about the arrest of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett on February 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. According to Johnson, Smollett arranged the homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO — CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson doubled down Saturday on his reasons for not planning to attend President Trump’s visit to Chicago Monday.

“We need immigrant communities to trust our police department,” Johnson said. “We don’t need them to fear us and then to flee us."

On Monday, protests are expected at McCormick Place and Trump Tower.

Johnson’s decision to pass on the president’s visit is causing controversy among some large enforcement officials.

WGN has learned a past president of International Association of Chiefs of Police petitioned the board to sanction Supt. Johnson for skipping Trump’s speech, suggestingJohnson doesn’t share Chicago’s values. The past president claims it’s a violation of the group’s rules to steer clear of politics.

A spokesperson for IACP says the group is not considering any action against Johnson. This comes after the Chicago police union’s board of directors voted “no confidence” in Johnson’s leadership.

Earlier in the week, Johnson issued the following statement.

I look forward to hosting America’s police chiefs and collaborating on the best ways to keep our cities safe in the upcoming week. However, I will not be attending the president’s speech because the values of the people of Chicago are more important than anything he would have to say.

Chicago has been a frequent and favorite target for criticism by Trump.

“The crime spree is a terrible blight,” Trump said during a speech last year to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In 2017, Trump repeated a familiar refrain about crime asking rhetorically “What the hell is going on in Chicago?” He has also repeatedly called the city a “disaster.”

The president’s criticisms came despite progress in the fight against violence. Murders are down 11% year-to-date and 31% over the last three years, according to Chicago police data. Shootings are down 11% year-to-date and 39% over the last three years.

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