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Chicago's top cop lied about being drunk behind the wheel, according to oversight office

Former Superintendent Eddie Johnson and another officer allegedly "consumed several large servings of rum" before he feel asleep in his vehicle.
Graduation Ceremony Held For 363 New And Promoted Chicago Police Officers
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.Scott Olson / Getty Images file

Chicago's former police superintendent "consumed several large servings of rum" before getting behind the wheel and then lied about the incident, a city watchdog revealed on Thursday.

Eddie Johnson was fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot this past Dec. 2 just weeks before he was set to retire, capping a turbulent three-year tenure as head of a department marked by controversial police shootings, court-supervised reforms and its handling of high-profile arrests.

Johnson's downfall came following an Oct. 16 dinner he had with a fellow officer who served as his driver and worked on the superintendent's security detail, according to a report by the city's Office of Inspector General.

The two "each consumed several large servings of rum" and private surveillance video showed Johnson driving the pair away, the oversight report said.

After dropping off his subordinate at Chicago Police Department headquarters at about 10:30 p.m., Johnson drove about two miles before parking near 34th Place and Aberdeen Street.

"The superintendent remained there, parked illegally with his vehicle running, until a member of the public called 911 and reported seeing a man asleep in his vehicle," according to the report.

An officer showed up at 12:33 a.m., now Oct. 17, and allegedly asked Johnson: "Sir, you alright?"

The officer's body camera recorded Johnson pulling out what appeared to be his Chicago PD identification, according to the report.

"Wanna go, umm, you just sitting here, or do you wanna go home?" the responding officer reportedly said.

No field sobriety test was administered, the report found.

A supervising police officer was eventually called to the scene before Johnson was allowed to leave at about 12:46 a.m., followed by two CPD vehicles.

He blew through one stop sign and turned into a wrong lane before eventually getting home in one piece, the report found.

"In addition to driving while impaired, the superintendent made two false statements to the public during a press conference on" Oct. 17 — that he had been out with a friend, not another Chicago PD officer, and that he had ordered an internal investigation, which he did not, according to the Office of Inspector General.

Johnson's lawyer did not immediately respond to phone and email messages left by NBC News on Thursday, seeking comment on behalf of his client.

The department is still conducting an internal probe of all officers who were involved in the Oct. 16-17 incident with Johnson, a Chicago police spokeswoman said Thursday.

"The Chicago Police Department is currently reviewing the Office of Inspector General's investigation report into personnel that responded to the October 2019 incident involving Mr. Eddie Johnson," CPD spokeswoman Kellie Bartoli said in a statement. "The department will take any necessary disciplinary measures upon their complete review of that report."

Technically, Johnson was demoted to lieutenant on Dec. 2 before he resigned on Dec. 4 and was placed on the city's "ineligible for rehire list," according to the report.