CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson met for an hour Tuesday night with a group of high school students who asked him a series of questions about police-involved shootings, training, the Justice Department report on the force, and how to streamline the process of firing and disciplining bad cops.
Johnson reiterated that he wants the training afforded Chicago police cadets and officers to be the best anywhere; but when one person asked why police don’t aim for a gunman’s hand or arm instead of shooting to kill when shot at, Johnson said that was an unreasonable standard.
Nonetheless, he said that the department is trying to improve training and transparency, and wants to retrain or fire those officers judged guilty of misconduct.
Co-organizer Eva Lewis, a student at Walter Payton College Prep, came away frustrated that so much of the disciplinary process is out of Johnson’s hands, saying the meeting was supposed to be all about accountability.
Johnson said twice that if the group wanted to petition Mayor Rahm Emanuel to give him the sole power to fire officers, he’d gladly accept it.
Lewis said Johnson ought to challenge the system more.
Another of the co-organizers, 17-year-old Maxine Aguilar of Jones College Prep, said she considered the meeting successful — to a point.
The teens, all public high school students belonging to the recently-organized group “Youth for Black Lives,” for months have sought monthly meetings with Johnson. While Johnson said he could not commit to meetings every month, he said he would be willing to meet with them soon.
About 40 people attended the meeting, which was moved from Payton to the Experimental Station, a community center at 6100 S. Blackstone Av.