Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson is currently in a position where he must command the trust of the public and the loyalty of the officers he presides over. In an effort to try and maintain that balance, Johnson wrote and sent a letter to the department’s rank-and-file officers stating that he is looking to fire eight of the ten officers who were on the scene for Laquan McDonald’s shooting death.
He later revised his claim and lowered the number to seven, citing that two of the officers in question have since retired from the department, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“While I know that this type of action can come with many questions and varying opinions, please know that these decisions were not made lightly,” he reportedly said in the letter.
“As I have said before, with every decision that I make, I always keep in mind the tremendous sacrifice, bravery and commitment of every officer,” he continued.
It is likely the the officer who retired was Deputy Chief David McNaughton, who was in charge of the crime scene and claimed that McDonald was charging towards former Officer Jason Van Dyke with a knife in his hand, which led to the shooting.
After months of protest and stalling on behalf of local government officials, dashboard camera footage showed that McDonald was actually moving away from the officers when he was shot 16 times.
McNaughton’s retirement earlier this week and Johnson’s letter come after City Inspector General Joe Ferguson concluded an investigation into the incident.
With Chicago’s Police Department being attacked from all sides due to various accusations of abuse and mistreatment, Johnson will need to maintain a stance of transparency to re-gain and maintain the public’s trust. It will be interesting to see if his changes bear any fruit in light of years of distrust and discontent towards the CPD.
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