Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson fell ill at a news conference Friday at a South Side police station and appeared about to faint.
As Johnson got wobbly, there were requests for candy for him and shouts to call an ambulance, which arrived with a fire truck shortly after.
He “felt lightheaded,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, but remained conscious and alert, was able to talk and was being evaluated by paramedics at the police station. Johnson never collapsed on the ground.
Before the ambulance arrived, Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave him some water.
Even though the ambulance was there, Johnson didn’t leave in it. Instead, he left in a city-owned police SUV. Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said Johnson walked to the car on his own.
“He looks to be OK,” Sawyer said. “It’s precautionary. . . . I don’t know if he’s going to the doctor or the hospital, but he’s going to get checked out. He walked out on his own. He’s looking fine. He got a little lightheaded.”
A source said that Emanuel stayed with Johnson at the police station and then walked with him to the SUV. That source said Johnson was headed to a hospital.
The news conference at the Englewood District station, 1483 W. 63rd St., was halted as Johnson was attended to. It had been called to highlight upgrades in crime-prediction analytics being made in the department.
It was wrapping up when Johnson started getting rubber-legged, and his eyes appeared to glaze over.
Johnson was the surprise choice of Emanuel as superintendent after the mayor rejected three nominees chosen by the Chicago Police Board last year after a nationwide search. Johnson hadn’t applied for the job when he was thrust into the high-profile post.
Chicago has been on the receiving end of a constant barrage of negative comments by President Donald Trump, who this week used the city as an example of the “carnage” happening on the nation’s streets.
“What the hell is going on in Chicago,” Trump asked this week, and he tweeted that, if things couldn’t be brought under control, it might be time to bring in “the feds.”
Johnson appeared fine before the news conference, despite the obvious pressure he’s been under.
In June 2014, former police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who preceded Johnson, was hospitalized for two days and underwent an angioplasty, a procedure to unblock his arteries.
McCarthy continued to serve as superintendent until December 2015 when he was fired by the mayor following the release of the Laquan McDonald video, which showed a cop fatally shooting the 17-year-old, who was holding a knife but appeared to be turning away from the officer at the time.