Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, found slumped over in his car just days ago by the police he oversees, has reportedly admitted to the city’s mayor that he’d had “a couple of drinks” prior to being discovered.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot revealed Friday that Johnson told her he’d “had a couple of drinks with dinner” Wednesday evening, prior to being discovered in his car shortly after midnight Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
About 12:30 a.m. Thursday, officers responded to a 911 call about a man slumped over in his car on a street not far from the police superintendent’s home. They came upon Johnson, who had been asleep in his car, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Police said they did not “notice any signs of impairment,” and did not perform a sobriety test, simply allowing Johnson to drive himself home, according to the Tribune.
Johnson, speaking later Thursday, blamed the incident on a change in the medication he takes to control his blood pressure.
Per the Tribune:
As a follow-up after suffering a blood clot this past summer, Johnson said his cardiologist on Tuesday “adjusted” his medication. The superintendent said he removed the old medication from his weekly pillbox but had not yet obtained the new prescription, suggesting he hadn’t taken his blood pressure medication for a couple days.
And Johnson defended the police officers’ decision not to test him for drugs or alcohol, saying: “Someone asleep in a car doesn’t mean they’re impaired.”
After going public with his encounter with police, Johnson did order the police department’s Internal Affairs Division to investigate his case, in a bid “to avoid the appearance of impropriety and to just have total transparency,” the Tribune reports.
“As I’ve said before, every officer, regardless of ranks, must uphold themselves to the highest standards, and that includes me,” Johnson said.
But the mayor’s revelation is raising new questions around Johnson’s account.
Asked whether she believed Johnson’s version of events, Lightfoot told the Sun-Times that she respects Johnson and is going to give him the benefit of the doubt—unless proved otherwise:
“Everybody—whether it’s the superintendent or a beat patrol officer—has to abide by the rules ... It was the right thing to call for an investigation ... We’ll see how that plays itself out,” the mayor said.
“I know what the superintendent told me, which is that he was … changing medication … He’d been out to dinner with some folks. He told me he was driving home. He felt ill and pulled over to the side of the road, which he believed was the prudent thing to do … IAD [Internal Affairs Division] will sort out the rest,” she said.