Johnson blamed medication issues for the incident. It later came out that he had actually been drinking and dining with friends – facts made public by Mayor Lori Lightfoot after she had a conversation with the superintendent.
“Just like with the public, Eddie Johnson intentionally lied to me several times,” Lightfoot said. “Even when I challenged him about the narrative he shared with me, he maintained that he was telling the truth. I now know definitively that he was not. Had I known these facts at the time, I would have relieved him of his duties as superintendent then and there. I certainly would not have participated in a celebratory press conference to announce his retirement.”
Johnson announced his retirement on November 7. He has served as a Chicago police officer for 31 years, and as superintendent for three and a half years.
Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck, whom Lightfoot appointed last month, arrived at Chicago police headquarters Monday afternoon. He was not set to take over until Johnson’s scheduled retirement date of January 1, but his role now takes on a new sense of urgency.
“Today, I am announcing that I have terminated Eddie Johnson’s employment with the City of Chicago, effective immediately. Upon a thorough review of the materials of the Inspector General’s ongoing investigation, it has become clear that Mr. Johnson engaged in a series of ethical lapses that are intolerable. Mr. Johnson was intentionally dishonest with me and communicated a narrative replete with false statements regarding material aspects of the incident that happened in the early morning hours of October 17. Had I known all the facts at the time, I would have relieved him of his duties as superintendent then and there. Perhaps worst of all, Mr. Johnson has misled the people of Chicago. The 13,400 sworn and civilian members of the Chicago Police Department who work hard every day deserve a leader who they can believe in. In public life, we must be accountable for our actions and strive to do better every day. And to achieve the reform and accountability in the department that we know is urgently needed, we require a leader whose actions reflect the integrity and legitimacy of what it means to be a Chicago Police Officer. I am confident that incoming Interim Superintendent Beck is such a leader, and that both he and the eventual permanent superintendent will serve with honor.”