CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired police Superintendent Eddie Johnson effective immediately Monday for intentionally misleading her and the public about his conduct when he was found asleep in his running vehicle at a stop sign after a late weeknight out in October.
"This moment needs to be a turning point for the Chicago Police Department and the way things are done in this city," said Lightfoot, emphasizing that a "culture change" must take place.
The stunning announcement came just weeks after Lightfoot held what she referred to Monday as "a celebratory press conference" to announce Johnson's retirement by year's end after about 3½ years at the helm.
Former Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck, previously named Johnson's interim successor, took control of the beleaguered department after flying into Chicago on Monday afternoon. He and the mayor separately met with the department's top brass.
Sources told the Chicago Tribune that the city inspector general's office, which has been investigating the October incident, obtained video footage showing Johnson drinking for a few hours on the evening of Oct. 16 with a woman who was not his wife at the Ceres Cafe, a popular restaurant and bar at the Chicago Board of Trade building.
Later that night, when officers responded to a 911 call near Johnson's home in the Bridgeport neighborhood about 12:30 a.m. Oct. 17, Johnson rolled down the window on his police vehicle partway, flashed his superintendent's badge and drove off, sources said.
A Ceres employee who identified himself as a general manager declined to comment Monday.