Eddie T. Johnson

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Eddie T. Johnson
Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department
In office
April 13, 2016 – December 2, 2019
Appointed byRahm Emanuel
Preceded byJohn Escalante
Succeeded byCharlie Beck
Personal details
Born1960/1961 (age 58–59)[1]
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
ResidenceChicago, Illinois, U.S.
ProfessionPolice officer
Police career
Allegiance United States
DepartmentChicago Police Department
Service years1988-2019
RankSuperintendent (2016-2019)
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Chief of the Patrol Bureau (2012-16)
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Commander, 6th District (2008-12)
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Eddie T. Johnson is a former Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.[2][3][4]



Johnson began his career in the Chicago Police Department in 1988 as a patrol officer. He was appointed Commander of the 6th CPD District in 2008, and CPD Chief of Patrol in 2012.

Interim Superintendent[edit]

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel endured controversy when appointing Johnson as his interim superintendent in 2016 considering Johnson was not one of the three finalists selected by the Chicago Police Board. Johnson did not apply for the job out of respect for Deputy Interim Superintendent John Escalante.[1][5][6][7] Emanuel named Johnson as the Interim Police Chief on March 28, 2016.[8][1]


On April 13, 2016, a day after the Chicago City Council Public Safety Committee bypassed the Chicago Police Board with a fast-track vote,[9] Johnson was officially sworn in as Chicago Police Superintendent after his nomination was approved unanimously by the Chicago City Council[10][11] in a 50-0 vote.[10][1]


On December 2, 2019, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot dismissed Johnson's employment with the City of Chicago for what she termed a "series of ethical lapses."[12]


Johnson led a department of over 13,400 officers, the second-largest police department in the United States, who defended use of force training, more community policing and a court monitor to oversee department-wide reforms which included the DOJ[13] and the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force (CPATF).[14][13] The CPATF was initiated by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to investigate the shooting of Laquan McDonald and was once headed by the present Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot.[15] Johnson was appointed superintendent in 2016 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to restore the public's trust after Emanuel delayed releasing the video of Jason Van Dyke's fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald for over a year. Johnson said that the Laquan McDonald incident changed Chicago's trust in the police department and that officer morale fell as a result of the lack of trust.[13] Chicago’s homicide rate stood at a 20-year high of 792 in 2016 when Johnson was appointed superintendent, and fell to 561 by the end of 2018. Johnson credited the use of data analytics to decrease homicides and shootings, and approved of the DOJ's investigation into CPD shootings that found widespread excessive use of force and racial discrimination by the CPD.[13] It led to a consent decree, a federally-enforced agreement that oversees CPD reforms.[13] As a result of the consent decree, Johnson validated the CPD's community policing efforts, making substantial improvements in officer training, which eventually led to a decrease in officer-related shootings.[16][13]


Johnson's early support and ultimate reversal in the firing of Officer Robert Rialmo over the 2015 Christmas shooting of Quintonio LeGrier and accidental death of Bettie Jones continued to shadow his term in office as superintendent.[17] Another controversy linked to Johnson was the high-profile case against actor Jussie Smollett,[18] who was accused of staging a fake hate crime on Chicago's North Side. Smollett was charged with a crime for the plan and execution of a hoax and abusing CPD's resources and manpower. However, the charges were subsequently dropped by State's Attorney Kim Foxx, enraging Johnson as well as Mayor Emanuel.[19][18][20] Johnson defied collaborating with the U.S. Federal government’s efforts to round-up undocumented immigrants as a sanctuary city, embroiling Johnson with newly-elected President Donald Trump.[13] Trump in turn traded words with Johnson, who criticised Chicago officials over their mishandling of the city's high crime rate. In October 2019, Johnson refused to attend a speech by Trump at the International Association of Chiefs of Police that took place in Chicago, a move supported by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.[13] Trump called Johnson's absence a "disgrace."[21] Johnson called Trump's words frivolous and stated that he "would not attend the conference while racial insults and hatred are cast from the Oval Office."[13] Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, "Superintendent Johnson showed President Trump what true leadership and character look like."[13]

On November 7, 2019, Johnson announced his intention to retire from the Chicago Police Department.[22] Johnson's retirement announcement, effective at the end of 2019, followed an incident where police officers had found Johnson asleep in his city-owned vehicle on October 17, 2019. Johnson later told Mayor Lightfoot that he had consumed alcohol earlier that evening, requesting an internal investigation into the incident, to which Johnson expressed that he was “not concerned" about the outcome.[23][24] On November 8, 2019, Mayor Lightfoot appointed retired Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck as the city's interim superintendent.[25] On December 2, 2019, Mayor Lightfoot terminated Johnson's superintendent contract for cause, effective immediately, indicating that he had misrepresented the reason why he was sleeping in his vehicle on October 17, 2019.[4][12]

Personal Life[edit]

Johnson was born on the Near North Side of Chicago, Illinois in the Cabrini–Green Housing Projects and, at age 10, moved to the Washington Heights neighborhood. Johnson currently resides in the near South Side neighborhood of Bridgeport. Johnson recalls his mother telling his father about the new neighborhood as a "Quiet place, compared to the old neighborhood" and that Johnson recalled, "Gunshots all night long" while living in Cabrini–Green.[1] Johnson is divorced, a father of three children, one of whom is a CPD patrolman. He's re-married to CPD officer on 2017[26].

Johnson had battled congenital kidney disease for most of his adult life.[27][28] Johnson's son, CPD patrolman Daniel Johnson, donated one of his kidneys to his father in 2017.[27][28] Johnson has always professed his strong spiritual beliefs.[28] He supports Illinois' organ donation program, and along with his son Daniel, were honored by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) with the "Gift of Life" Award at NKF's 2019 Gala.[28][27]


  1. ^ a b c d e Main, Frank; Spielman, Fran (November 12, 2019). "Top cop Eddie Johnson's dad inspired him to serve and protect".
  2. ^ "Eddie Johnson, New Chicago Police Leader, Has Deep Roots in a City Adrift in Turmoil". The New York Times. 2016-03-28. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  3. ^ FOX. "Eddie Johnson officially named Chicago police superintendent". WFLD. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  4. ^ a b McLaughlin, Eliott C. (December 2, 2019). "Chicago mayor fires city's top cop for 'intolerable' actions and misleading the public, she says". CNN. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  5. ^ "Mayor expected to name Eddie Johnson new interim superintendent Monday". WLS-TV. 2016-03-27. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  6. ^ "This new top cop is wholly unqualified to reform CPD". Crain's Chicago Business. 2016-04-20. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  7. ^ "Eddie Johnson Named New Chicago Police Department Interim Superintendent". WLS-TV. 2016-03-28. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  8. ^ Sweeney, Jeremy Gorner, Annie. "Humble and quiet, Eddie Johnson takes over as Chicago's interim top cop". Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  9. ^ Thomas, Charles (12 April 2016). "City council panel votes to fast-track Emanuel's top cop pick". Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  10. ^ a b "City Council votes unanimously to approve Eddie Johnson as new CPD superintendent". 13 April 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  11. ^ Thomas, Charles (13 April 2016). "Eddie Johnson named new Chicago police superintendent". Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b Ortiz, Erik (December 2, 2019). "Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson fired after 'series of ethical lapses,' mayor says". NBC.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Allyn, Bobby (November 7, 2019). "Chicago's Top Cop Eddie Johnson, Who Took Over Controversy-Racked Force, Is Retiring". NPR.
  14. ^ "Police Accountability Task Force Members". Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  15. ^ "Mayer Brown partner Lori Lightfoot recognized by Chicago business and legal groups". Mayer Brown. June 7, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  16. ^ Gorner, Jeremy; Pratt, Gregory (November 7, 2019). "Eddie Johnson, who steadied CPD after the Laquan McDonald scandal, to retire as Chicago's top cop". ChicagoTribune.
  17. ^ "Rialmo to face full Police Board after Johnson rebuked". Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  18. ^ a b McCarthy, Tyler (March 26, 2019). "Jussie Smollett won't be prosecuted on charges he faked attack". Fox News. New York City: Fox Corporation. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  19. ^ Bosman, Julie; Deb, Sopan (March 26, 2019). "Jussie Smollett's Charges Are Dropped, Angering Mayor and Police". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  20. ^ Madhani, Aamer (March 26, 2019). "Charges dropped against 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett". USA Today. McLean, Virginia: Gannett Company. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  21. ^ O'Reilly, Andrew (November 5, 2019). "Trump blasts Chicago police chief as 'disgrace,' in fiery takedown at law enforcement conference". foxnews.
  22. ^ "Chicago Police Superintendent to Announce Retirement". The New York Times. 2019-11-07. Retrieved 2019-11-07.
  23. ^ Helsel, Phil (October 19, 2019). "Chicago police superintendent had been drinking before he was found asleep in car". NBC.
  24. ^ Mitchell, Chip (November 4, 2019). "Top Cop Contemplates Retiring, Insists He's Not Worried About Probe Into Driving Incident". WBEZ.
  25. ^ Gorner, Jeremy; Pratt, Gregory; Sweeney, Annie (November 10, 2019). "Mayor Lori Lightfoot appoints retired LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as Chicago's interim top cop". ChicagoTribune.
  26. ^ Police superintendent married his sweetheart while recovering from kidney transplant - Chicago Tribune(12/04/2019)
  27. ^ a b c Tafoya, Bernie; Puccinelli, Mike (August 30, 2017). "Top Cop Eddie Johnson In Fair Condition After Kidney Transplant". CBS.
  28. ^ a b c d Sillets, Andrew (August 28, 2019). "Top Cop Eddie Johnson on Organ Donation, Chicago Violence". WTTW.