How did former Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson arrive at 34th and Aberdeen before police officers found him asleep in his vehicle last October? Was anyone else with him? Is there video available to show what happened?
Johnson was fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in December, in part because Lightfoot said Johnson intentionally lied to her several times and misled the people of Chicago in his explanation of what happened. But that’s the city’s narrative. There are still questions that have yet to be answered.
NBC 5 Investigates filed Freedom of Information Requests with the Chicago Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications for any available police records, videos and written communication that could possibly provide more information.
But our requests were denied. The city argues providing the records would interfere in a pending investigation into Johnson’s conduct.
It may soon be up to a court to determine if that information will be made public. NBC Chicago has joined a lawsuit originally filed by the Better Government Association against the Chicago Police Department and City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) seeking records related to the chain of events leading to Johnson’s firing.
“It should be very clear to the public and to the court and to the city, most importantly, that there is an incredible interest in this information,” said attorney Matt Topic of Loevy & Loevy. “The public has a right to know exactly what happened and whether they’re telling us the truth about what happened.”
Topic is representing NBC Chicago, the BGA and Chicago Public Media in the lawsuit.
Illinois law is clear that these types of documents should be made public to anyone who requests them, with very few exceptions.
“There seems to be an allergy to transparency when it comes to the City of Chicago,” Topic said.
A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Law said the city does not comment on pending litigation.
In a statement released last month, Johnson said he did not intentionally deceive or mislead Lightfoot.