Early November, Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson announced his retirement in an emotional speech.
He served for nearly four years as the chief of the nation’s second-largest police department.
He has now been fired by the Democrat mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot over what she calls “ethical lapses.”
Lightfoot said she was firing Johnson “with cause” for lying about a drinking and driving incident.
Johnson rose to national recognition when he exposed that actor Jussie Smollett had faked a hate crime to “promote his career.”
NBC reports Lightfoot said Johnson “engaged in a series of actions intolerable for any leader in a position of trust,” citing evidence she had reviewed from an ongoing investigation by the inspector general into an incident in which he was found slumped behind the wheel of his car in October. The termination came one month before Johnson’s planned retirement was set to take effect.
“This is obviously not a decision that I entered into lightly, however the circumstances demanded these actions,” Lightfoot said, adding that there were three reasons for her decision, all stemming from his actions on Oct. 16 and 17.
Lightfoot said she saw evidence from the inspector general’s report that led her to believe that Johnson “engaged in conduct that is not only unbecoming but demonstrated a series of ethical lapses and flawed decision making that is inconsistent with having the privilege of leading the Chicago Police Department.”
She noted that Johnson then “intentionally misled the public” in a press conference on Oct. 17, saying he “had plenty of time to choose his words and the choice he made was a communicated narrative replete with false statements, all seemingly intended to hide the true nature of his conduct from the evening before.”
Lightfoot added that Johnson lied to her personally “several times” when she “challenged him about the narrative that he shared,” describing what happened in the early morning hours when he was found asleep behind the wheel of his SUV at a stop sign.
Johnson initially said a change in medication triggered the incident and he felt “lightheaded” while driving, but ordered an internal investigation of the incident, citing the need for “transparency.”
Lightfoot said at the time that Johnson admitted to her that he “had a couple of drinks with dinner.”
She said Monday, however, that “upon a thorough review of the materials” from the ongoing investigation, “it has become clear that Mr. Johnson engaged in a series of ethical lapses that are intolerable.”
“I’ve reviewed the inspector general’s report and videotape evidence and makes it clear that the only choice that I had to take was the one that I’ve taken. There’s no gray area here,” Lightfoot said. “I saw things that were inconsistent with what he told me personally and what he revealed to members of the public.”