Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson announced his decision to retire Thursday morning during a press conference at the department’s headquarters.
“It is time for someone else to pin these four stars to their shoulders,” he said, adding, “These stars can sometimes feel like carrying the weight of the world and I’m confident I leave CPD in a better place than when I became superintendent.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot noted that Johnson will continue to serve as superintendent until the end of the year and that she and the department will outline a plan for the transition in the coming months.
The announcement comes during an ongoing investigation by Chicago’s Inspector General Joseph Ferguson into an incident that occurred last month when Johnson was found asleep in his car.
However, he told the mayor he had been drinking earlier that evening but insisted that his plan to retire had nothing to do with the investigation, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hired Johnson in 2016 as the police department was faced with heavy criticism over video footage that showed a white officer shooting Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, sixteen times in 2014.
A jury found the officer guilty of second-degree murder on October 5, 2018, according to Breitbart News.
Johnson told reporters Monday that the decision to step down came from a desire to have more time with his loved ones.
I have given 31 years now to this city, and almost four as superintendent. You know, but I recognize also that at some point it’s time to create another chapter in your life. And I will tell you all this: When my family and I went to London for the Bears game, that’s the first vacation like that that I’ve had since I became superintendent. And I looked at my family and it made me realize how much of a sacrifice you make for your family when you take on positions like this.
Thursday morning, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted a video of the chief’s announcement.
SUPT JOHNSON ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT: After spending more than three decades of his life to serving the City of Chicago, Superintendent Eddie Johnson announces his retirement. https://t.co/kNJbZQe8JT
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) November 7, 2019
“This is a guy who has sacrificed a tremendous amount for the city over the last 3 ½ years. He stepped into a breach at a time when our city really could have come apart. Remember where we were in December of ’15 and into ’16, and the anger that was manifest itself all over the city,” Lightfoot said during a meeting with the Tribune editorial board in October.
“That was a really scary time for us, and we didn’t come apart in part because of the superintendent’s leadership and stewardship,” she continued. “I want to look at the entirety of the man’s body of work. I think he deserves that, I think he’s earned that.”