Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, left, sparked controversy after she fired Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson for "lying" about falling asleep behind the wheel of his car.
Lightfoot announced Johnson's termination during a press conference on Monday, Dec. 2. Johnson, who was promoted to Superintendent in 2016, had been on the police force for 31 years. He was just weeks away from retirement.
The harsh action was taken after Johnson reportedly lied to investigators after he was found slumped over the wheel of his car around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 17. Johnson was not far from home when he fell asleep at a stop sign.
The officer who responded to the scene did not test Johnson for alcohol intoxication. Johnson told the officer that he was on his way home after dining with friends and he pulled over because he felt tired.
Mayor Lightfoot said Johnson later told her that he'd had a "few drinks" at dinner that night and that the alcohol reacted with blood pressure medication he had taken.
The mayor said Johnson lied to her and investigators about where he'd been and what he had been doing. She said surveillance footage proved Johnson had been deliberately "misleading" investigators.
Johnson's supporters were concerned that he might lose his pension and other benefits, but CBS reports he will not lose it unless he is convicted of a felony.
Late Monday night, after the public backlash to Johnson's termination, Lightfoot defended her actions, saying, "It has become clear that Mr. Johnson engaged in a series of ethical lapses that are intolerable."
She refused to release details, saying she wanted to protect his wife and three children, but she said his behavior amounted to conduct that was "unbecoming" of his position.
CBS Boston reported Monday night that the 60-year-old police chief had been drinking with a woman who was not his wife before he was found asleep in his car.
Johnson and his wife, Junior Officer Lt. Nakia Fenner, 43, (pictured below, 2nd from right) were married in 2017.
In early November Johnson announced his intention to retire at the end of the year during a news conference with the newly-elected mayor and his family at police headquarters.
"Had I known all the facts at the time, I would have relieved him of his duties as superintendent then and there," Mayor Lightfoot said.
Photos taken of Lightfoot at Johnson's press conference show her glaring at Johnson and giving him dirty looks.
Sources say that Lightfoot, a 57-year-old male-identified lesbian, had it in for Johnson and his police department after they investigated openly homosexual Empire actor Jussie Smollet for lying about a racial attack in January 2019. Smollett, 36, was arrested in March for filing a false police report.
Johnson is named personally in a lawsuit filed by Smollett against the city of Chicago last month. Smollett filed the countersuit after the city sued him, indicating it wanted over $390,000 plus "further relief as this Court deems just and equitable" for wasting the police department's time and resources investigating his lies.
This post was edited to correct Eddie Johnson's age.