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Black leaders react to Eddie Johnson’s retirement as top cop

Crusader Staff Report

Chicago’s Black leaders are reacting to Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s recent announcement to retire after 31 years on the force.

Charlie Beck, who retired last year as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, was officially appointed Friday morning as Chicago’s interim police superintendent, replacing outgoing Chief Eddie Johnson.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a statement, “I’m proud to salute Superintendent Eddie Johnson for his commitment to the brave women and men of the Chicago Police Department and the City of Chicago. As a life-long Chicagoan, who like me grew up in Cabrini Green, to have the opportunity to give back to the city you love through public service is an honor and privilege. This work calls for tremendous sacrifice, and I am grateful for Superintendent Johnson’s collaborative partnership and mutual respect as we worked to increase public safety and end the cycle of violence in our communities. I want to thank Superintendent Johnson for serving and protecting the citizens of Chicago for 30 years and wish him and his family all the best as they enjoy the next chapter of their lives.”

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said, “Serving as the superintendent of Chicago’s police department is no easy task, and I thank Superintendent Eddie Johnson for his willingness to take on the responsibility at a challenging time in our city’s history.

“As a legislator, I had the pleasure of working with Eddie Johnson on policy related to repeat gun offenders. As Attorney General, I have worked with Superintendent Johnson to begin implementation of a consent decree in the interest of constitutional policing and improved police-community relations.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, “Superintendent Johnson has dedicated more than three decades of his life to serving and protecting the people of Chicago, and he will end his service standing on a record of reform and progress that will be felt long after his retirement. Chicago is better because Superintendent Johnson called this city his home and dedicated his career to serving it.”

Johnson was appointed by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2017, months after Garry McCarthy amid widespread protests over the video of Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald. Black leaders urged Emanuel to appoint Johnson as the top cop.

In the last several weeks, Johnson has been an embattled figure who faces an investigation by the city’s Office of Inspector General after he was found slumped over in his car last month near his home in Bridgeport. Johnson first said he neglected to take prescribed medication, but later said he had a “couple of drinks” with dinner that day.

Last month, Johnson met with several Black clergy for the first time after years of pursuing the superintendent. Johnson also came under fire after the city’s OIG report showed that Johnson, prior to his current position, saw the video of the Laquan McDonald in a room full of high-ranking officer but said nothing.

President Donald Trump criticized an absent Johnson during speech before the International Association of Chief of Police at McCormick Place. Johnson boycotted the speech, saying that Trump did not share his values or the city’s.

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