Picking a new top cop the Chicago way.


The Mayor didn’t like the choices he was given in the vetting process for a new Chicago top cop.

So he asked the City Council to do away with that process.

But just for 30 days. 

The City Council Public Safety Committee approved changing the current city law that requires a second Police Board search after the mayor rejected the board’s three finalists and opted to appoint Johnson instead.

The measure was approved a near-unanimous vote, with only Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson speaking out against it.

“Who is now vetting, who is doing the background check,” Thompson said.

Yesterday the City Council unanimously voted for the Mayor’s choice, Eddie Johnson.

The City Council Wednesday confirmed 28-year Chicago Police Department veteran Eddie Johnson as the new top cop, with one alderman saying “he knows the streets.”

Oh, I am sure he does.

What he really knows about the streets he isn’t sharing.

And according to the Task Force report issued at about the same time Johnson was confirmed, “the streets” are exactly where bad things happen when the CPD gets involved.

The Task Force was created by the Mayor after the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald was released after being hidden for 400 days.

Police in Chicago have “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color” and have alienated blacks and Hispanics for decades by using excessive force and honoring a code of silence, a task force declared Wednesday in a report that seeks sweeping changes to the nation’s third-largest police force.

Johnson has been a part of that culture for 28 years. Johnson’s unanimous approval by the City’s Alderman came without a single serious question being asked of him.

Meanwhile Injustice Watch reports:

Officers in the South Side Gresham District were the subject of repeated complaints of misconduct and improper searches and arrests while interim police superintendent Eddie Johnson was commander, an Injustice Watch investigation has found.

Between 2008 and 2012, the years that Johnson commanded the district, Injustice Watch identified 15 federal lawsuits accusing a group of officers of illegal searches and arrests, at times using unnecessary force. Though the facts vary, a pattern emerged from the lawsuits:

Officers in the Gresham district are repeatedly accused of approaching people on the street, questioning them, and then, in four cases, allegedly strip searching the people being questioned. Nine of the cases involve allegations of force by the officers.

In ten cases the people being questioned were charged with drug crimes or such other violations as resisting or obstructing officers. All ten of the cases ended in the charges dismissed, in findings that no probable cause existed, or in not guilty verdicts.

In the other five cases, no arrest records were found in relation to the alleged encounters with police.

Records kept by the Invisible Institute, based on data obtained following lawsuits, show that the officers involved were subject to repeated citizen complaints, almost all of which ended with findings from the Illinois Police Review Authority (IPRA) that the complaint could not be sustained. Most of the officers had not been disciplined in any cases; the most harsh was one five-day suspension.

Eleven of 13 officers named in repeated cases are still employed by the Chicago Police Department.

The pattern of alleged misconduct, revealed in the federal lawsuits, comes as City Council Wednesday is expected to take up the permanent confirmation of Johnson to be the next superintendent, replacing Garry McCarthy, whom Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired in December in the fallout that erupted after the release of police video of officer Jason Van Dyke shooting teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.

The City Council is preparing to name Johnson at Emanuel’s urging even though Johnson never went through the process that the city set up, in which candidates for superintendent are to be reviewed and recommended by a nine-person police board.

Told of the Injustice Watch findings, a source familiar with board vetting practices said Tuesday, “That’s 100 percent the reason why there needs to be a vetting process. Because all of this would have been discovered in the process.”

Johnson did not respond to a request for comment through the police department’s press office. The mayor’s office also failed to respond to requests for comment, as did the chairwoman of the Police Board, Lori Lightfoot.

2 Replies to “Picking a new top cop the Chicago way.”

  1. Fred,
    What part did the so called “black caucus” play in this decision?
    Rumor was that it was a lot.
    Mayor still trying to curry favor with this group, but not much left to salvage.


  2. The Washington Post has reported today about the violence Chicago police are perpetrating. Here is a partial quote from today’s Washington Post:
    Headline: Chicago To Pay Millions In Police Misconduct Settlements As CPD Faces Scrutiny From Task Force Report

    The city of Chicago has agreed to two settlements worth over $6.45 million in two police misconduct cases in the wake of a Police Accountability Task Force report that found the Chicago Police Department was plagued by systemic racism and had lost the trust of the community.

    Chicago will pay millions to the families of two men who died after interactions with police, according to the Guardian. The family of Philip Coleman, a mentally ill man who died soon after police arrested him in December 2012, will receive $4.95 million. A video had shown police officers using a Taser on Coleman 13 times before dragging him away in handcuffs. An autopsy concluded that Coleman died from a reaction to an antipsychotic drug he received while receiving medical care, but the report revealed he had experienced severe trauma, including more than 50 bruises during the altercation with police.

    The city will also award $1.95 million to the family of Justin Cook, who died of an asthma attack after police allegedly denied him his inhaler while taking him into custody during a traffic stop in September 2014.

    The announcement of the settlements came just hours after the release of a blistering report by a Police Accountability Task Force revealed evidence of an alarming degree of institutional racism in the Chicago Police Department and recommended massive reform, including fostering more transparency, abolishing the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates allegations of police misconduct, and renewing a focus on community policing.
    How wonderful that Chicago has millions to pay to ‘cover up’ abuse when social services, colleges and public schools are underfunded and closing.

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