After leading the Chicago Police Department through more than 3½ years, Supt. Eddie Johnson is set to announce his plan to step down this week, according to published reports.
Johnson’s reported plan comes as the city’s Office of the Inspector General is investigating an incident last month in which Johnson was found asleep in his vehicle near his home in Bridgeport.
Johnson had neglected to take a prescribed medication and subsequently had a “couple of drinks” with dinner, according to Johnson and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Anthony Guglielmi, the CPD’s chief spokesman, said Tuesday night that he could neither confirm nor deny the reports.
Monday, Johnson told reporters at City Hall that he was contemplating retirement, though he insisted it was unrelated to the OIG investigation. The Sun-Times and other media outlets submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the CPD to acquire bodycam footage and other records related to the incident but were denied because of the open investigation.
Lightfoot reportedly plans to meet with former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charles Beck later this week to discuss him taking the role on an interim basis, according to ABC7.
Johnson previously served as the commander of the Gresham District on the South Side and the department’s Chief of Patrol. Johnson’s son, Daniel, is also a CPD officer and is assigned to the Gresham District.
Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired then-Supt. Garry McCarthy in the aftermath of the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in 2015.
Lightfoot — then the president of the Chicago Police Board — recommended three possible replacements to Emanuel, but he opted to tap Johnson for the job in an effort to ease tensions between the CPD and the city’s African-American communities, even though Johnson did not submit his name.
Johnson — who’s been a member of the CPD for more than 30 years — has overseen the department during a time of immense change. As a result of the McDonald video coming to light, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into department practices that ultimately led to a federal consent decree that was approved earlier this year.
In 2016, the first full year after the release of the McDonald video, murders in Chicago spiked to levels not seen since the mid-1990s. In each of the last three years, though, fatal shootings have fallen. Johnson has also been at the helm as the department has rolled out a large investment in tech-based policing strategies.
Aside from the OIG investigation, the last month has not been a cakewalk for the superintendent.
The city released records from the OIG report on the McDonald shooting and subsequently reminded the public that Johnson was among the police brass who saw the video and did not object to it.
Last month, Johnson said he would skip a speech from President Donald Trump at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago. A day later, the FOP’s Board of Directors issued a no-confidence vote in the superintendent.