Sources told the Chicago Tribune that the city inspector general’s office, which has been investigating the October incident, obtained video footage showing Johnson drinking for a few hours on the evening of Oct. 16 with a woman who was not his wife at the Ceres Cafe, a popular restaurant and bar at the Chicago Board of Trade building.
Later that night, when officers responded to a 911 call near Johnson’s home in the Bridgeport neighborhood about 12:30 a.m. Oct. 7, Johnson rolled down the window on his police vehicle partway, flashed his superintendent’s badge and drove off, sources said.
A Ceres employee who identified himself as a general manager declined to comment Monday.
On Monday, Lightfoot told reporters she had reviewed the inspector general’s report into the incident as well as videotaped evidence that left her with no choice but to fire Johnson.
“I saw things that were inconsistent with what Mr. Johnson had told me personally and what he revealed to members of the public,” she said.
With the inspector general’s report still not public, Lightfoot declined to be more specific about what the videotaped evidence showed but hinted that it would be hurtful to Johnson’s family.
“While at some point the IG’s report may become public and those details may be revealed, I don’t feel like it’s appropriate or fair to Mr. Johnson’s wife or children to do so at this time,” she said.
Sources said Lightfoot moved to fire Johnson before the superintendent had even been interviewed by the inspector general’s office as part of its investigation.
The mayor said she personally delivered the news Monday morning to Johnson, the fourth of the last six superintendents to be fired or resign amid scandal. She gave three reasons for dumping him:
— That he “engaged in conduct that is not only unbecoming but demonstrated a series of ethical lapses and flawed decision-making” in the October incident.
— That the superintendent called a news conference later the day of the incident in which he communicated “a narrative replete with false statements, all seemingly intended to hide the true nature of his conduct from the evening before.”
— That Johnson intentionally lied to the mayor several times, “even when I challenged him about the narrative that he shared with me.”
The facts that Lightfoot shared, if true, are certainly unbecoming of the superintendent and may justify his firing, but the investigation is not complete. Also, the full details of the investigation have not been made public, so the mayor’s claim that she wants to protect his family rings hollow.
I suspect that this is the real reason for Lightfoot’s hasty decision:
Johnson had been plucked from relative obscurity as chief of patrol in April 2016 when then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel bypassed three finalists chosen by the Chicago Police Board and appointed him superintendent.