Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson will not attend a speech by President Donald Trump at a police chiefs conference in the city next week, even though he is hosting other events associated with the conference, according to the Associated Press.
The decision to skip the president's speech is an apparent act of protest by Johnson against Trump, who has been extremely critical of Chicago and its law enforcement practices in the past.
"I look forward to hosting America's police chiefs and collaborating on the best ways to keep our cities safe in the upcoming week," Johnson said. "However, I will not be attending the president's speech because the values of the people of Chicago are more important than anything that he would have to say."
President Trump will speak Monday at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference. Trump spoke at the same conference last year, when it was held in Orlando, Florida. During that speech, the president criticized Chicago for its "terrible blight" of crime, saying, "There's no reason for what's going on."
The president's speech is expected to cover his record on law enforcement issues and his role in the passage of the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill.
"President Trump is expected to discuss his strong record on law enforcement, the historic First Step Act legislation, and economic actions taken to reduce crime and recidivism, including Opportunity Zones," a White House official told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Johnson is currently in the midst of a controversy. Last week, he was found slumped over, unconscious in his vehicle, having apparently pulled over and fallen asleep after a dinner. Johnson said he forgot to take his blood pressure medication.
First responders said he did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, although a breathalyzer test was not administered. Johnson reportedly told Mayor Lori Lightfoot that he had some drinks at the dinner. He has called for an internal investigation into himself on the matter.