Supt. Johnson fields questions on police accountability

FOX 32 NEWS - Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson once again found himself in the hot seat Tuesday night over questions about police reform and accountability. It comes on the heels of a scathing report from the Department of Justice on problems within the police department.

Johnson met with member of Youth for Black Lives, fulfilling a promise he made to them back in November.
The group peppered Johnson with questions about how he plans to make his officers more accountable. Johnson tried to answer them all.
“Since I've been superintendent, when I have the facts available to me to be able to say that we've made a mistake or that we've messed up, that's what I do. You know, I call balls and strikes. I'm not going to try and pretend that something isn't what it is. It is what it is,” Johnson said.

The group raised questions about officer involved shootings, and training for officers on racial bias, sensitivity and the use of force. Johnson promised his officers would be better and do better, because the old system wasn't working.

“The end goal for us is to have CPD be a model police agency for agencies across the country so that to that end we haven't been modifying training because of incidents, we have modified the training because it needs to be better,” Johnson told the group.

The meeting lasted an hour and the group even took questions from the audience, in the end calling the meeting somewhat of a success.

“We did accomplish something, we accomplished meeting with the superintendent in a public setting, with press, and I think that we are pleased with that in itself,” said Maxine Aguilar with Youth for Black Lives

The group’s spokeswoman, Eva Lewis, added, “We accomplished accountability and transparency which where are goals for tonight.”

Afterward, Johnson praised the group for doing their part to make Chicago a better place.

“I think it just shows that young people are trying to get involved in they’re trying to make a difference. So, to that end, I'm happy to meet with them, I meet with scores of people every week so this doesn't bother me at all.  I actually admire the fact that they're trying to do something positive,” Johnson said.

The meeting stemmed from an agreement Johnson made with the group after they called off a protest at Marist High School in November. The protest was intended to draw attention to racially charged text messages sent from some girls at Marist, commenting on a police involved shooting of a black man in Mt. Greenwood.