Chicago names new top cop
Chicago’s mayor will appoint a new interim police superintendent to lead the embattled department on Monday — an officer who was not among three recommendations made by the city’s Police Board.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will appoint Eddie Johnson, Chicago police chief of patrol, as the interim superintendent, the mayor’s office said. The announcement is slated for Monday afternoon.
The Police Board, which had recommended three candidates for the job, did not immediately comment on Emanuel’s pick.
The mayor’s selection is from outside the recommended candidates, but his office said Emanuel spent months talking to officers, residents and community leaders before making his decision.
“With the help of their feedback, the mayor is confident that Eddie Johnson is the right person at the right time to fight crime, lift morale in the police department, and build on the work that’s been done to restore trust and accountability in the police department,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.
The police board had named three finalists — Cedric Alexander, DeKalb County, Georgia, public safety director; former Spokane, Washington, Police chief Anne Kirkpatrick; and Chicago Police Deputy Superintendent Eugene Williams.
With Johnson, Emanuel is going with a hire from inside the department but not the inside candidate the board has suggested.
Johnson has been with the Chicago Police Department since 1988, the mayor’s office said.
All eyes on Chicago
The choice for Chicago’s next police superintendent is important following the controversy that has plagued the department.
Recent headlines called Chicago the “murder capital of the U.S.” or “murder city” as the city battled a years-long struggle with rising and falling homicide rates, especially in poorer, black neighborhoods such as Austin and Englewood.
Chicago police reported that since the middle of February, gun arrests are up 43%, and that for the whole month, arrests for homicide are up 40% over February 2015.
In addition, the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation last year after police released the October 2014 video of Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald on a Chicago street. The officer is white.
The video of McDonald’s death outraged many Chicagoans, who took to the streets to protest what they felt was excessive use of force and dishonesty by the city and Van Dyke’s fellow officers, who initially accused McDonald of threatening officers. The demonstrators also questioned why it took more than 400 days to release the video despite the city paying McDonald’s mother $5 million.
Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder in the teenager’s death. He has pleaded not guilty.
CNN’s Michael Martinez and Seth Kovar contributed to this report.