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State

Internal affairs investigation launched against Chicago police supt.

Johnson: Medicine, not booze, caused me to pass out in car

CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago’s mayor said Friday that the city’s top police officer told her he’d had “a couple of drinks with dinner” before he fell asleep at a stop sign while driving home, an incident that the chief contends was related to a change in his blood pressure medication.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times that she agreed with Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s decision to request an internal affairs investigation of the Thursday incident to assure the public he’s not trying to hide anything about his actions. Officers responded to a 911 call from a passerby reporting that someone was asleep in a vehicle at a stop sign.

“It was the right thing to call for an investigation...,” Lightfoot told the paper. “We’ll see how that plays itself out.”

After the newspaper’s report, department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement that, “While we have no indication of impropriety at this time, this question can only be answered by the internal affairs investigation.”

On Thursday evening Johnson told reporters that he was driving home at about 12:30 that morning, after having let his driver go home to his family, when he felt lightheaded. He said he pulled over and fell asleep.

The responding officers found Johnson slumped over but allowed him to drive home and did not administer a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test. Johnson said officers do such tests only when a motorist appears impaired or officers smell alcohol or cannabis.

The Thursday episode is just the latest scare for Johnson, who was diagnosed decades ago with a kidney condition, which 2 years ago led to a transplant – with his son as the donor. Earlier this year he was hospitalized for a blood clot.

During a news conference with then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel in early 2017, Johnson had to be helped to a seat after he wobbled and appeared to be about ready to fall to the ground.

In her comments, Lightfoot said that Johnson told her about how he had just changed medication, and said she has “no reason to doubt” his account of what happened.

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