chicago police superintendent eddie johnson found asleep in car sot_00003025.jpg
chicago police superintendent eddie johnson found asleep in car sot_00003025.jpg
Now playing
01:33
Chicago Police Superintendent found asleep in his car
covid-19 relief package house biden sot malveaux nr vpx _00000000.png
PHOTO: CNN
covid-19 relief package house biden sot malveaux nr vpx _00000000.png
Now playing
02:28
CNN's Joe Johns explains Biden's short speech as relief bill heads to Senate
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
PHOTO: House TV
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Now playing
02:52
House passes Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package
PHOTO: CNN Weather
Now playing
02:03
Weekend weather: Flash flooding, severe storms, and record warmth
Misinformation Trump Capitol March rn orig_00004630.png
Misinformation Trump Capitol March rn orig_00004630.png
Now playing
04:08
These Trump supporters are convinced he will be president again on March 4
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigational pharmacy technician Sara Berech holds a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine before it is administered in a clinical trial on December 15, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be submitted for emergency use by late January and is the only vaccine among leading candidates given as a single dose. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigational pharmacy technician Sara Berech holds a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine before it is administered in a clinical trial on December 15, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be submitted for emergency use by late January and is the only vaccine among leading candidates given as a single dose. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:19
Doctor who voted to approve Johnson and Johhnson vaccine speaks out
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 2018.
PHOTO: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 2018.
Now playing
02:10
US intel report: Saudi Crown Prince responsible for approving Khashoggi operation
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:24
Acosta corrects CPAC organizer: Trump did lose the election
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week
PHOTO: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. According to reports, as many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding the city as preparations are made for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:33
This is what's in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus package
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
09:36
I lost everything: Texas mom's devastating story from winter storm
Now playing
01:23
See what happened when CPAC organizers asked crowd to wear masks
The Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, across the Potomac River from Washington, DC is seen from the air January 24, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / Daniel SLIM        (Photo credit should read DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Daniel Slim/Getty Images
The Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, across the Potomac River from Washington, DC is seen from the air January 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel SLIM (Photo credit should read DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
05:24
US carries out airstrikes on Iran-backed militia groups
A woman walks past mailboxes  seen outside of a US Post Office in Washington, DC on August 17, 2020. - The United States Postal Service is popularly known for delivering mail despite snow, rain or heat, but it faces a new foe in President Donald Trump. Ahead of the November 3 elections in which millions of voters are expected to cast ballots by mail due to the coronavirus, Trump has leveled an unprecedented attack at the USPS, opposing efforts to give the cash-strapped agency more money as part of a big new virus-related stimulus package, even as changes there have caused delays in mail delivery. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
A woman walks past mailboxes seen outside of a US Post Office in Washington, DC on August 17, 2020. - The United States Postal Service is popularly known for delivering mail despite snow, rain or heat, but it faces a new foe in President Donald Trump. Ahead of the November 3 elections in which millions of voters are expected to cast ballots by mail due to the coronavirus, Trump has leveled an unprecedented attack at the USPS, opposing efforts to give the cash-strapped agency more money as part of a big new virus-related stimulus package, even as changes there have caused delays in mail delivery. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:49
Biden announces 3 nominees to USPS board
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:00
Weekend hindered by rain in the East and snow in the Northwest
The exterior of the U.S. Capitol building is seen at sunrise on February 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate is scheduled to begin the second impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump on February 9.
PHOTO: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
The exterior of the U.S. Capitol building is seen at sunrise on February 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate is scheduled to begin the second impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump on February 9.
Now playing
01:57
Senate parliamentarian rules against minimum wage increase in relief bill
Now playing
03:56
Marjorie Taylor Greene's challenger explains decision to run
Everyone wears masks and desks are spaced at the high school, where full in-person teaching has been offered since the school year began.
PHOTO: CNN
Everyone wears masks and desks are spaced at the high school, where full in-person teaching has been offered since the school year began.
Now playing
03:20
Ohio school is staying open with these safety measures
(CNN) —  

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired retiring Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson Monday, saying Johnson lied about an October incident in which he was found sleeping in his car after supposedly having drinks with dinner.

“It has become clear that Mr. Johnson engaged in a series of actions that are intolerable for any leader in a position of trust, particularly the head of the Chicago Police Department,” she said in a news conference. “Mr. Johnson failed the hardworking members of the Chicago Police Department, he intentionally misled the people of Chicago and he intentionally misled me. None of that is acceptable.”

The highs and lows of Johnson’s time as chief

Lightfoot met with Johnson on Monday to deliver the news, and he was “accepting,” she said.

Johnson’s actions on the night of October 16 and morning of October 17 demonstrated “a series of ethical lapses and flawed decision making,” she said, adding that he then went on to promptly hold a news conference in which he was dishonest with the public.

“He was not caught off guard and he had plenty of time to choose his words, and the choice he made was a communicated narrative replete with false statements all seemingly intended to hide the true nature of his conduct the evening before,” the mayor said.

Even when Lightfoot challenged his story, she said, he maintained that he was telling the truth.

“I now know definitively that he was not,” she said. “Had I known these facts at the time, I would’ve relieved him of his duties as superintendent then and there. I certainly would not have participated in a celebratory press conference to announce his retirement.”

The city’s police union released a statement saying it understood Lightfoot’s decision and appreciated her desire for transparency and accountability within the department, but it cautioned against a rush to judgment.

“It’s important to understand that just this weekend, the department stripped an officer who was the victim of a high-risk battery without any investigation and without even taking a statement from the officer,” said Martin Preib, second vice president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.

“It is also important to hold every facet of the city affecting the police department accountable, including (the Civilian Office of Police Accountability), the Chicago Police Board, and Inspector General. We look forward to assisting the mayor in helping to make all these institutions equally accountable.”

Set to resign at month’s end

Last month, Johnson said he was stepping down after 30 years with the department. He would continue in his role until year’s end, Lightfoot said. Both declined at the time to comment on the inspector general’s investigation into Johnson.

“It’s time for someone else to pin these four stars on their shoulders,” Johnson announced November 7, holding back tears. “These stars can sometimes feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world, but I’m confident that I leave CPD in a better place than when I became superintendent.”

Former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck was named interim chief.

Though Lightfoot declined to say Monday what specifically led her to oust the police chief, she said it was imperative he be fired. Allowing him to retire might have been the way of Chicago’s old guard — an institution she campaigned on upending — but it would’ve been inconsistent with the type of leadership she vowed to bring to the city, she said.

“This moment needs to be a turning point,” she said. “Yesterday, today and tomorrow has to be about culture change. That must start at the top. That hard but important work is impossible without strong leadership focused on integrity, honesty, legitimacy and accountability.”

“The old Chicago way must give way to the new reality,” she said.

She declined to comment on the case’s specifics, out of deference to Johnson’s family and respect for the inspector general’s ongoing investigation, she said. The inspector general’s report may be made public later, she said.

Lightfoot did, however, mention a video that influenced her decision.

“I saw things that were inconsistent with what Mr. Johnson had told me personally,” she told reporters. “A lie’s a lie. He told me something that happened that night.”

No wrongdoing on superintendent’s part, CPD said

A passerby called 911 on October 17 to report Johnson was sleeping in his car at a stop sign. He drove himself home after officers responded and determined he was not impaired.

The city’s top cop told reporters he felt like his blood pressure was rising when he decided to park his car. He’d been prescribed a medication after he suffered a blood clot in the summer, he said, and he thought he fell ill because a doctor had changed his medication and he had accidentally missed a dose.

He was not asked to take a sobriety test. An internal investigation was launched at Johnson’s request. Despite Lightfoot telling the Chicago Sun-Times that Johnson told her he had had “a couple drinks with dinner,” there was no immediate evidence of wrongdoing, a Chicago police statement said at the time.

“While we have no indication of impropriety at this time, this question can only be answered by the internal affairs investigation,” it said.

Citing Johnson’s handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting and other incidents they said fractured Chicagoans’ trust in their police department, many candidates vying to replace Rahm Emanuel as mayor called for Johnson’s badge during their campaigns. Lightfoot promised a more patient approach.

“We have a lot of challenges to face, and (Johnson’s) very well aware of it,” she said after winning the election in April. “We’re going to be heading soon into the summer violence season. After that’s over, we’ll evaluate at that point, but I’m going to be working closely with the superintendent and with his executive team to make sure that we keep our neighborhoods safe.”

Though she provided no guarantees Johnson would remain superintendent come autumn, she said she had a long-term goal of restoring Chicago communities’ trust in their police.

“We’ve got to support and give better training to our police officers to help them understand how to bridge that divide,” Lightfoot said. “We’ll certainly be borrowing from other cities like New York, but I feel confident that we’re going to be able to continue to make progress. Really, our children’s lives depend upon it.”