Can a sleeping top cop finally wake up Chicago?

Long before the people in City Hall became outraged, they should have acted on behalf of Chicagoans who have been victimized by police.

SHARE Can a sleeping top cop finally wake up Chicago?
merlin_87642529.jpg

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 07: Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson announces his retirement during a news conference at the Chicago Police Department’s headquarters November 7, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnson who will retire at the end of the year was promoted to Superintendent in 2016 and has been on the police force for 31 years.

Getty

Eddie Johnson has been fired as Chicago Police superintendent for unethical behavior and lying, apparently acts far worse than falling asleep behind the wheel of your car, something that would have shamed even Deputy Barney Fife.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot could have fired Johnson for that weeks ago, when the incident was first disclosed. Instead, she waited for a report that revealed substantial drinking, lying and ethical lapses.

Columnists bug

Columnists

In-depth political coverage, sports analysis, entertainment reviews and cultural commentary.

Who knew those were causes for firing in the Windy City?

There’s almost nothing that could surprise the public about the Chicago Police Department.

The department recently made the national news for a video of a police officer body slamming a citizen to the ground. What’s the big deal?

Remember, this is also the city where a police officer shot a teenager 16 times. He was carrying a knife and endangered the life of the police officer.

The problem was that he was walking away from the officer at the time. The problem was that there were about a dozen other officers who had been watching and didn’t feel the need to shoot.

The problem was that the officer who fired had just arrived on the scene, jumped out of his squad car, emptied his weapon and was about to reload.

The problem was that almost all of the officers on the scene would later claim that the police officer who did the shooting was justified. Even the top brass, who reviewed video of the shooting, said it was just fine.

Johnson wasn’t police chief back then, but he was a higher-up. He saw nothing wrong. Or, as he would later put it, he saw no reason to open his mouth in protest because that wasn’t his job at the time.

No wonder he was promoted.

Chicago is a city that has paid out something like $1 billion in legal settlements for unlawful arrests. That money might have been used for something else…like mental health clinics for people who are a danger to themselves and to others.

Chicago closed its mental health clinics because of a funding shortage.

In the meantime, people were being murdered. Little children. Women. Old folks. Just shot down dead for being in the street. For playing in the parks. For sitting on their porches or inside their homes.

Johnson said things have gotten better under his watch. Statistics prove it. Pretty impressive for a fellow who had ethical lapses, lied and fell asleep in his car.

Imagine what a police chief could do if he managed to keep his eyes open.

Chicago is the place where a TV celebrity could stage his own beating, hold a news conference, allow police to spend hours investigating his charges and then walk away laughing when it turned out he had paid two actors to pretend they assaulted him.

The Cook County state’s attorney said she had more important matters to attend to, so she released the fellow from jail. That made the national news. Chicago was a joke once again.

Johnson blew a fuse on national TV because he had not been notified about the decision of Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney, before the release of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.

It was a great display of outrage. The handling of the Smollett case reeked of influence peddling and insider deals.

In the end, all anyone remembers is that the Chicago Police Department and the justice system of Cook County looked pathetically inept and corrupt.

Long before Johnson was fired, he should have been fired. Long before the people in City Hall became outraged, they should have acted on behalf of all the people in Chicago who have been victimized, not just by street thugs, but by the police.

But this is Chicago, where the guy in charge of the police force can go to sleep in his car confident he would be allowed to rest in peace until his retirement.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com.

Send letters to:letters@suntimes.com.

The Latest
Blazingly original Netflix film blends music, narrative and trippy visuals to depict an artist’s search for romance.
“Because of the marketing and advertising of these kinds weapons, our lives will not be the same,” said Lorena Rebollar Sedano, who was shot in the foot and is one of those who filed suit Wednesday.
The Twins move into a second-place tie with the Sox in the AL Central.
Wesneski held the Phillies to one run in five-plus innings.