CHICAGO (CBS) — Eddie Johnson has officially retired from the Chicago Police Department, the mayor’s office said tonight in a statement.
“We have been informed that effective today, Mr. Johnson retired from his career service rank and is no longer employed by the Chicago Police Department,” the statement said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot may have announced the firing of now ex-police superintendent Johnson in a no-holds barred news conference, but it didn’t mean he was immediately booted from the police department.
CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov reports, Johnson was still getting paid–until he apparently announced his retirement.
He was technically still on the police department payroll, but as a lieutenant.
That was his last career service rank before being promoted to the exempt superintendent position.
Exempt ranks are not protected by department procedure, but lower ranks are — meaning his firing really amounted to a demotion.
Johnson will get to retire after all, according to his attorney, Thomas Needham. Lightfoot’s firing of Johnson, for lying about an October incident, removed him from the department’s top spot but then simply sent him back a few rankings.
Earlier today, Needham said Johnson would retire only when he’s assured there’s no gaps in his health insurance. That apparently happened late today.
Needham says Johnson hasn’t been interviewed by the inspector general about the night Johnson was found by police slumped in his car. However, it’s only because they couldn’t agree on a date.
Needham said he offered Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 as dates to meet with the IG’s office, but he was told the investigation would be complete by then.
He doesn’t anticipate any criminal charges surrounding the Oct.16 incident.
Johnson told the mayor he’d had a few drinks that night, publicly blaming the matter on a medical issue. Sources say he’d been drinking with a female police officer, not his wife, at Ceres cafe.
A restaurant spokesperson says, ‘We are fully cooperating with the office of the inspector general on the ongoing investigation of this matter and providing them with all requested information.”
Lightfoot said Wednesday that she would like to see the IG report made public.
“I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but I think this is something that qualifies under the statute but we aren’t going to do anything until we get word that IG investigation is complete,” Lightfoot said.