CHICAGO — Eddie Johnson, who took over Chicago’s police department at a time of cratering public confidence and a spike in homicides, announced on Thursday that he would retire, saying at an emotional news conference that after 31 years of police work, “it’s time.”
Superintendent Johnson, a native of Chicago who spent his entire career in the department, stabilized a city and a police force that were in crisis after the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white officer.
With his family and Mayor Lori Lightfoot at his side, Superintendent Johnson said that he worked to overhaul a department whose institutional failures he had witnessed since he grew up in the Cabrini-Green public housing projects.
“Like too many children in Chicago, I experienced the trauma of gun violence firsthand as a child,” he said. “I saw how these unspeakable acts could tear a family apart. I also saw how those who were sworn to protect our city instead relied on prejudice and intimidation. I could have easily learned to hate this city. But my family taught us to love it.”
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