On his first full day as Chicago’s police superintendent, Eddie Johnson faces several questions on whether he will implement the sweeping changes to the department recommended by a police task force this week.
The Task Force on Police Accountability left no question changes are needed within the department, alleging decades of discrimination and violence in a scathing report released Wednesday.
“I don’t think it’s a true representation,” Johnson said. “We have racism in this country. I think we have racism in Chicago. We have some racism with the CPD, like any other organization. There are challenges to root it out because misconduct of kind simply can’t be tolerated.”
According to the report, over the past eight years, 74 percent of people shot by Chicago police were black, while only 14 percent were Hispanic and 8 percent white. The report called McDonald’s shooting "the tipping point" in a long history of intimidation.
Johnson spent his afternoon Thursday taking part in a peace march at Cornell Square Park.
“The police department is only as strong as the community’s belief in it,” he said.
Also present at the march was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who appointed the task force. Emanuel maintained that Johnson would be able to run the department, but declined to specify his thoughts on the report’s recommendations.
“There were 100 different recommendations,” he said.
The president of Chicago’s police union says he believes the report was biased.
“There was a built-in bias more or less,” said Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo. “I think the report could have been written without any data collecting.”
Angelo also claimed the report was premature, suggesting that implementing the changes could interfere with a Department of Justice probe on the department’s practices.
“Let the Department of Justice do it,” he said. “Don’t try to change the recipe or incorporate all these changes when you’re going to get changes suggested to you by the federal government.”