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Rahm's Police Chief Pick Says He's Never Witnessed Police Misconduct In 27 Years On The Force

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Mar 30, 2016 6:51PM

The longtime Chicago Police officer whom Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing to become the next chief of the city's embattled police department says he's never witnessed police misconduct—not once in his 27 years on the police force.

Maybe just-promoted Interim Police Chief Eddie Johnson has had a particularly sheltered career—he said officers wouldn't intentionally commit misconduct in front of someone like him, because he would hold them accountable—or he's had the good fortune of working with only the most honest Chicago police officers. But either way, something about that statement, made in an interview to CBS Tuesday, doesn't add up: There's ample evidence that Chicago has a deep, longtime problem with police misconduct, from the startling number of police officers that have received 30 or more complaints against them to the millions of dollars Chicago spends every year on police misconduct settlements.

“I’ve actually never encountered police misconduct, because you've got to understand, officers that commit misconduct don’t do it in front of people that they think are going to hold them accountable for it,” Johnson told CBS. “Now that I’m sitting in this chair, if I come across it, I will deal with it accordingly.”

Johnson replaced John Escalante as interim police chief Monday. He said one of his main goals is to rebuild community confidence in the police force, particularly following the Laquan McDonald shooting scandal that led to the ousting of former police chief Garry McCarthy. And he also wants to rebuild the confidence of police officers, whom he says "went from being right about everything to now being under enormous scrutiny, and not just in Chicago, that's across the country." Johnson also said he wants officers to feel safe admitting to "honest mistakes," and know that the department distinguishes between intentional misconduct and accidents.

You can watch the CBS interview below.