CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police board on Wednesday issued a vote of no confidence against police Supt. Eddie Johnson.
The FOP Lodge 7 Board of Directors said it voted to protest Johnson’s decision to skip President Trump’s speech to the police chief’s conference next week, sources said. The president, the sources said, has always been a supporter of law enforcement.
The president is scheduled to speak early Monday afternoon at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference at McCormick Place, CBS News has confirmed.
Johnson said Tuesday that he will not be in attendance for Trump’s speech.
“I look forward to hosting America’s police chiefs and collaborating on the best ways to keep our cities safe in the upcoming week,” Johnson said. “However, I will not be attending the president’s speech because the values of the people of Chicago are more important than anything that he would have to say.”
Johnson issued a statement Wednesday afternoon following the vote of no confidence, in which he reiterated his criticisms of President Trump.
“While today’s decision is from the Board and not the active FOP membership, I understand and respect that the Lodge is upset about the decision to not stand with the President,” Johnson said in the statement. “As police officers, our job is to be the voice for the voiceless and ambassadors to the communities that we serve. I can’t in good conscience stand by while racial insults and hatred are cast from the oval office or Chicago is held hostage because of our views on new Americans.”
The vote apparently had nothing to do with what happened last Thursday morning when Johnson was found slumped over in his car near 34th and Aberdeen in the Bridgeport neighborhood, not far from his home.
Johnson initially said he fell asleep behind the wheel of his parked city issued car because of a blood pressure medicine-related matter. Then, a day later, Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged Johnson told her he’d also been drinking.
The superintendent requested an Internal Affairs Division investigation of what happened that night, but when asked for an update on that probe, a CPD spokesperson said Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s office is now investigating.
It’s unclear where investigators are in their case; if they’ve interviewed any witnesses or reviewed any body camera footage from officers who responded to the scene.
Responding officers were wearing their body cameras. But the mayor hasn’t said if she’s seen that video. Sources said several layers of police command were called to that scene.
While several homes near 34th and Aberdeen have security camera, it’s unclear if any of them captured footage of Johnson’s vehicle or the police response to the 911 call.
Last week, Johnson said officers ultimately let him drive himself home and did not give him a breathalyzer.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams caught up with Johnson late Wednesday afternoon. Williams asked Johnson how much he’d had to drink the night he was found slumped over the wheel.
“Listen, as much as I would like to answer you all’s questions, there’s a pending investigation – so to comment on anything would really be inappropriate,” Williams said. “You know, there’s officers that’s going to have to be interviewed, and I do not want to be accused of trying to sway the investigation one way or another, so it’s just inappropriate for me to speak on it right now.”
“The superintendent is very much on the job. As is the first deputy, because that was another rumor I heard over the weekend. Let’s be fair. These are two human beings who work their butts off for the city of Chicago and they’re doing their jobs,” Lightfoot said. “So speculation, that’s not helpful.”