Eddie Johnson safe as gun violence escalates

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Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Lightfoot holds weekly accountability meeting with top cop after 52 shootings, 8 deaths

Crusader Staff Report

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s job remains safe as gun violence escalates with rising summer temperatures.

After 52 shootings and eight deaths marked the most violent weekend since Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office May 20, she held her first “Accountability Monday” with Johnson on June 3. She said during the meeting that Johnson’s job is safe and that there will be no big command shakeups. With Johnson and dozens of high-ranking officers present, Lightfoot said she will keep the heat on the city’s law enforcement.

“I have great confidence in the superintendent. But I’m gonna keep pushing him as I’m pushing the entire leadership team,” Lightfoot added. “If they’re not going to bed every night and waking up every morning worrying and having a sense of urgency and asking themselves what more they can personally do to fight crime and stem the violence in our city, they’re in the wrong job.”

Lightfoot held a press conference after the accountability meeting, outside her office, repeating what she had said in the meeting that “if they’re not going to bed every night and waking up every morning worrying and having a sense of urgency and asking themselves what more they can personally do to fight crime and stem the violence in their city, they’re in the wrong job.”

During the meeting Lightfoot was asked if Johnson’s job is in jeopardy. She said ‘not at this time.’

Lightfoot said much of the violence is the result of decades’ worth of disinvestment across large swaths of Chicago.

“There are areas in the city (where) there is literally nothing. Vacant lots, abandoned houses, no restaurants, no coffee shops, no grocery stores, no parks, no schools. All the things that we know are important to maintaining a good quality of life and providing residents with a sense that the city cares about them, that they have a stake in their own future, and neighborhood after neighborhood on the South and West sides in particular, those things just don’t exist,” Lightfoot said.

“This is not a law enforcement only problem, and they’re not going to solve it entirely, but I want to make sure they’re doing everything they can to be far more proactive.”

Johnson held his own press conference earlier that day and blamed the city’s gun violence on the illegal guns and a lax court system.

Lightfoot responded, saying “There’s a lot of causes of the problem, and we need to make sure that everybody in the entire criminal justice system understands the urgency and is doing their part as appropriate to hold people accountable.” Lightfoot also said she will be talking with judges and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office about making sure gun offenders aren’t allowed back onto the street soon after gun offenses.

“We can’t have a set of circumstances where the Police Department arrests somebody on Friday and they’re back out on the street — for serious gun offenses,” Lightfoot said.

“I’m seeing some data that gives me concern, and I certainly will be talking to the chief judge of the entire system, chief judge of criminal courts, and the state’s attorneys about what we need to be doing better as partners to make sure that violent offenders are not cycling through the system so fast that they’re back on the street before the ink is dry on their paperwork.”

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