Editorial: Chicago deserved better than Johnson

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Monday that police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was fired from his position for lying about circumstances surrounding him being found asleep in his car in October.

Johnson was found asleep at a stop sign in his car by police in October and originally he claimed that he fell asleep because he forgot to take his blood pressure medication. At least that is the original narrative Johnson told Lightfoot and the citizens of Chicago that he serves.

As it turns out, Johnson may not have been telling the full truth, at least that is what Lightfoot believes. Johnson later admitted to Lightfoot he had been drinking that night.

That admission, along with other misleading statements made by Johnson, led to Lightfoot firing Johnson ahead of his scheduled retirement.

We at The Daily Eastern News of course find Johnson’s conduct to be inexcusable and agree with Lightfoot’s decision to fire him from his position. As the top law enforcement officer in the third-largest U.S. city, Johnson needs to be held as accountable for his actions as any other public employee in the state.

What we believe is truly disheartening about this whole debacle however is that this is the last thing the city of Chicago, or the state of Illinois needed to happen.

Johnson is now the fourth of Chicago’s last six police superintendents to have been fired or let go for misconduct in the position. And now he also joins a long list of public officials in the state’s history to have been removed from duty because of scandal.

The people of Illinois and also the people of Chicago have seen too much of this. Citizens of the state and Chicago already, and rightfully so, have trust-issues with those in power. Just when it seems those things might finally be behind the state or city, something like this happens and sends everyone two steps back after taking one step forward.

Lightfoot removing Johnson from his position is at the very least a sign that people in power will be held accountable, when they’re caught, but still, seeing something like this happen again is just exhausting.

The city of Chicago especially needs a police force that it can trust and most importantly one that can deliver culture change to the parts of the city that need relief from high-rates of gun violence.

This affair with Johnson is indication that a police force able to help the city of Chicago fix its issues does not yet exist.

The citizens of Chicago deserve far-better from their police force.