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CPD's Johnson Under Siege Again; Church Leaders Worry About His Leadership Abilities

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Strike two.

First slumped over behind the wheel of his car. Now a "no confidence" vote against police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

That word came late Wednesday from the police union.

CBS 2's Jim Williams has the latest.

Sources tell CBS 2, the Fraternal Order of Police board issued the no confidence vote, because Superintendent Eddie Johnson is skipping President Trump's speech to the International Chiefs of Police next week in Chicago.

The union leadership supports the president. Trump has long criticized how Chicago leaders handle violent crime and Johnson said that's his reason for skipping not attending the address.

"I have issues with being attacked as a city. Some of the divisiveness that's come out of it. I try not to be political about anything, but I just think right for the sake of the city of Chicago, it's best for me to sit this one out."

These are difficult days for Superintendent Johnson. A "no confidence" vote from the police union board on Wednesday and questions about what he did before he was found asleep in his car last week.

When CBS 2 asked Johnson how much he had to drink the night he was found slumped over the wheel, he chuckled and offered no response.

"Listen, as I would like to answer you all's questions, there's a pending investigation so to comment on anything would really be inappropriate."

Several Chicago religious leaders asked to meet with Johnson Wednesday afternoon on another matter they find troubling.

"We had some concerns about the superintendent, his involvement in the Laquan McDonald shooting," said Reverend Ira Acree.

Inspector General Joe Ferguson's investigation said Johnson was silent when police brass determined the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald was justified.

Johnson was then deputy chief of patrol. He told the religious leaders the report was wrong.

"When the Inspector General's report characterizes me as having a role in Laquan McDonald, that's untrue. I didn't. I had no role at all," Johnson said.

"I have to just realize that it's important he gets the benefit of the doubt," Acree said.

In her budget address, Mayor Lori Lightfoot touted lower violent crime, and gave Johnson credit.

"That is thanks to the leadership of police Superintendent Eddie Johnson as well as CPD's rank and file," Lightfoot said.

CBS 2 asked another religious leaders if they felt Johnson was under siege.

"We're not going to say so much as he's under siege, but how can he effectively give leadership when his leadership is always being questioned," said Pastor Walter Turner of the New Spiritual Life Missionary Baptist Church.

In response to the FOP board's no confidence vote, Superintendent Johnson said:

"I can't in good conscience stand by while racial insults and hatred are cast from the Oval Office, or Chicago is held hostage because of our views on new Americans."

Those last words, a reference to Chicago's status as a so-called 'Sanctuary City.' Mayor Lightfoot is adamant that the police department will not cooperate with Trump administration efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.

The complete statement from Johnson on the Fraternal Order of Police reads:

"While today's decision is from the Board and not the active FOP membership, I understand and respect that the Lodge is upset about the decision to not stand with the President. As police officers, our job is to be the voice for the voiceless and ambassadors to the communities that we serve. I can't in good conscience stand by while racial insults and hatred are cast from the Oval Office or Chicago is held hostage because of our views on new Americans."

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