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Top Chicago officer found asleep in car after having ‘a couple of drinks’ orders inquiry into himself

Vincent Wood
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Chicago’s top police official has called for an inquiry into himself after he was reportedly found slumped over in his car at a stop sign near his home.

Eddie Johnson, the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), was found at the side of the road in Bridgeport following a 911 call from a member of the public, who said he had been asleep at the wheel of his car.

Now the CPD’s most senior officer has called for an inquiry into himself – while claiming he had stopped after feeling lightheaded. In a press conference he added that he had failed to properly switch to a new medication, and had been diagnosed after the incident with elevated blood pressure.

Describing the incident as a “medical episode”, he said: “While off duty I was out with a group of friends for dinner and didn’t have any feelings or symptoms of impairment when I left the restaurant

“Out of an abundance of caution I pulled over to the side and stopped – even though I was relatively close to home.

“Someone called 911 and reported a person asleep at the stop sign. Responding officers did come, they checked on me and confirmed that I was able to continue on my way”.

Mr Johnson was hospitalised in June after doctors found a blood clot in his lung during a stress test. It came two years after he underwent a kidney transplant in August 2017.

In his press conference Mr Johnson said no Breathalyser test was carried out – arguing that the administering the alcohol check was a choice for individual officers to make.

However on Friday the city’s mayor Lori Lightfoot said the officer had been drinking before the incident.

“He revealed to me that he had a couple of drinks with dinner”, she told the Chicago Sun Times, adding “We know he’s had some medical issues. He’s on the other side of a kidney transplant operation, which is obviously very, very serious. There have been some issues with high blood pressure and so forth,”

“When I take medication, sometimes it has side effects. I know from my parents. So, I take him at his word. The investigation will sort out the details… We’ll see what happens.”

Asked if he should have been driving after consuming alcohol, the mayor added: “I can’t say that. I don’t think you can say that. But no matter what, we’ve got to let the investigation play itself out. He’s a grown man. He had a couple of drinks with dinner,”.

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