The Chicago police chief is out of a job just weeks before he was set to retire.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday (Dec. 2) that the Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has been fired, NBC News reports.
“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,” Lightfoot said in a statement ahead of a news conference in which she rebuked Johnson for his conduct, NBC News reports.
Although his three-year tenure as head of the Chicago police department was riddled with controversial police shootings, court-supervised reforms and questionable handling of high-profile arrests, Johnson’s firing was seemingly due to his personal failures, Mayor Lightfoot suggested, NBC News reports.
“Eddie Johnson intentionally lied to me several times even when I challenged him about the narrative that he shared with me,” the mayor later said at the news conference, alluding to the Oct. 17 incident when the 60-year-old police chief was found asleep behind the wheel of his car, NBC News Reports.
“He maintained that he was telling the truth. I now know definitively that he was not,” she added.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Mayor Lightfoot reported that Johnson had told her that he had “a couple of drinks with dinner” on the evening a driver called 911 to report him slumped behind his steering wheel after midnight near his home.
When he announced his plans to retire from the police force he’s been with since 1988 just a few weeks ago, Johnson said, “This job has taken its toll — taken a toll on my health, my family, my friends. But my integrity has remained intact.”
At Monday’s news conference, Mayor Lightfoot withheld specific details surrounding her mistrust for Johnson, NBC News reports, because she didn’t “feel like it is appropriate or fair to Mr. Johnson’s wife or children to do so at this time.”
However, she did confirm that her decision to let him go was “the only choice that I had to take … There’s no gray area here,” NBC News reports.
“A lie is a lie,” Lightfoot added, according to NBC News. “He told me something that happened that night that turned out to be fundamentally different than what he portrayed to me and what he portrayed to the members of the public.”
Former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck will take over as interim superintendent, NBC News reports.