Editor's Note: The body camera footage of the incident can be found in the video player above.
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.
Johnson ultimately was fired after he lied to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot about the circumstances surrounding the incident, according to a letter released by the City Law Department on Monday.
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 provided by the city’s law department, Johnson can be seen behind the wheel of his vehicle, with officers asking him mutliple times if he was alright.
“Sir. Sir. You alright?,” one of the officers asks Johnson in the video.
Johnson says “yes,” and then the officer asks the now-former superintendent for his identification.
After approximately 40 seconds, Johnson hands the officer documentation after cracking open the vehicle 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:”
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.
In December, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired Johnson, saying that he had lied to her and misled city residents about what had happened on that night.
One of the documents released by the City Law Department on Monday was the letter that Lightfoot sent to Johnson informing him of his dismissal:
“Per our discussion, please be advised that effective immediately, your employment as the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department is hereby terminated for cause,” the letter, dated Dec. 2, 2019, says. “The findings made in the Inspector General’s report of the investigation regarding your actions the night of Oct. 16 and the early morning hours of Oct. 17 make it clear that you engaged in conduct that was unbecoming, thereafter intentionally misled the public about your conduct and lied to me directly through commission and omission about the same incident.
“Any of these facts indivudally and certanly collective warrant your termination for cause. It is therefore in the best interests of the City of Chicago that you are relieved of your duties so that the employees of the nation’s second-largest police department can be properly represented,” the letter continued.
In late January, NBC 5 Investigates filed Freedom of Information Act requests with CPD and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications for police records, videos and written communication about the incident. Requests were denied, with the city arguing that the records would interfere in a pending investigation into Johnson’s conduct.
Now, the city says those investigations are completed, and as a result they released more information pursuant to FOIA requests made by multiple news agencies, including NBC 5 Chicago.
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. While a second officer is visible in the video, his bodycam video was not provided. 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.
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 NBC5 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.