NBC 5 Investigates

City Officials: Inspector General Report on Eddie Johnson Incident Won't be Released

The Police Superintendent was fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, after she said he lied to her about what happened the night he was found unconscious behind the wheel of his car

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In response to an open records request filed by NBC5 and other media outlets, the city of Chicago has released body camera footage and other documentation related to the night former police Supt. Eddie Johnson was found slumped over the wheel of his SUV in October 2019, but said that other information, including the Inspector General's report, will not be released.

While the city did release the single bodycam video, along with dispatch tapes, a 911 call, and an associated POD camera video, there was plenty which was not released.

A second officer is visible in the video, but his bodycam video was not provided. In addition, no police reports were included in the document release, and perhaps most importantly, there is no copy of Inspector General Joe Ferguson's summary report on the incident.

While Johnson maintained that he pulled over after feeling ill due to a failure to take the proper blood pressure medication, Lightfoot indicated that when she reviewed Ferguson's materials she saw things that were inconsistent with Johnson's original story.

It was that report which Mayor Lightfoot cited when she fired Johnson.

"A lie is a lie," she said that day last December. "He told me something that happened that night that turned out to be fundamentally different than what he portrayed to me, and to members of the public."

That reportedly included video images of Johnson drinking with a woman who was not his wife, at the Ceres Cafe in Chicago's Board of Trade.

Law Department spokesman Kathleen Fieweger said Ferguson's summary report on the incident was not released, because by law, such reports are only made public in the event of a death, or a felony with associated high public interest.

Fieweger referred questions about the second officer's video camera to the Chicago Police Department, which in turn referred NBC 5 to Ferguson's office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Everything that's in there is all the responsive documents we have," she said.

Just after midnight on Oct. 17, officers were called to the intersection of 34th Street and Aberdeen, with a caller informing them that a person was asleep behind the wheel of an SUV.

When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered that it was Johnson in the car. In body camera footage of the incident released Monday, Johnson can be seen slumped behind the wheel of his vehicle, with officers asking him multiple times if he was alright.  

 “Sir. Sir. You alright?,” one of the officers asks Johnson in the video.

Johnson says “yes,” and the officer asks the now-former superintendent for his identification.

After approximately 40 seconds, Johnson hands the officer his i.d. through a cracked window.

“Do you just want to sit here or do you want to go home?” the officer asks Johnson in the video. “Are you good?”

After Johnson tells the officer he wants to go home, the officer tells the former superintendent to “have a good night” and begins to walk back to his squad car.

According to documentation released by the department, fire officials responded to the 911 call, but when firefighters from Engine 29 arrived at the intersection of 34th and Aberdeen, they were informed that “no patient was on the scene.”

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