CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot had a warning about the trend of COVID-19 cases in Chicago on Monday, but that was not the only subject she addressed.
The mayor was also on the hot seat about what she did and did not know about the relationship between former Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and Chicago Police Officer Cynthia Donald – who is now suing Johnson on allegations of sexual assault.
As CBs 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Monday evening, this was the first time reporters were able to ask Mayor Lightfoot about the explosive allegation that she ordered Officer Donald’s demotion.
Kozlov noted that while the mayor did not avoid reporters last week after Donald’s lawsuit was filed and the Chicago Office of the Inspector General’s report about Johnson’s night of drinking with Donald was released, Lightfoot did not make herself available either.
On Monday, the mayor was asked point blank about what she knew and how she reacted.
“There were a number of, I think, remarkable comments,” the mayor said.
Mayor Lightfoot did not want to talk too much about the allegations laid out in the civil lawsuit filed by Officer Donald last week. In the lawsuit, the 14-year CPD veteran claims Johnson sexually assaulted and harassed her for three years after making her a member of his security detail.
“Lawsuits make all sorts of allegations,” Lightfoot said.
But one of those allegations directly involves the mayor. Donald claims after telling Mayor Lightfoot why he was found slumped in his police-issued vehicle near his Bridgeport home a year ago after drinking with Donald, he also told the mayor about their relationship.
“Mayor Lori Lightfoot had an opportunity to investigate and uncover Eddie Johnson’s abusive conduct toward me, she instead ordered Eddie to dump me by demoting me to a desk job,” Donald said at a news conference on her lawsuit last week.
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Specifically, the lawsuit states, the mayor ordered Johnson to dump the plaintiff by having her located away from Chicago Public Safety Headquarters. When asked if that was true, Mayor Lightfoot would not comment.
But she did say: “Eddie Johnson obviously – common sense tells you – never told me that he was engaged in any kind of improper relationship with Ms. Donald, and he never, of course, told me that he was taking her into his office and sexually assaulting her on a regular basis.”
So what exactly is CPD policy when it comes to any sort of sexual relationship between a boss and subordinate? The Department Rules of Conduct do not specifically address that, but they do prohibit “any action or conduct” which brings “discredit upon the department.”
Donald’s lawyers claim the mayor never even ordered an internal investigation of the Johnson-Donald relationship.
The mayor’s response?
“As this litigation plays itself out, there will be a lot that is revealed about the allegations,” Lightfoot said.
The mayor also said if Johnson or anyone else had told her the assault was involved, as alleged, she would have had him arrested on the spot.
Johnson has vehemently denied he ever assaulted Donald.