CHICAGO (CBS) — Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) collapsed during city budget hearings, prompting colleagues to rush to his side and call for paramedics.
Cochran was attending the Chicago Police Department’s budget hearing at City Hall, when he appeared to slump over in his chair.
Budget Committee Chair Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) noticed Cochran collapse from her seat on the dais and shouted out “Man down! He’s having a stroke.”
Several colleagues and at least one police officer quickly rushed to his side.
Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th) performed CPR after putting Cochran on the floor. O’Connor later said he began performing CPR because Cochran did not have a pulse.
Members of the press were asked to leave the Council Chambers, and several aldermen and staffers formed a human shield to block the media’s view while Cochran was being treated.
Paramedics arrived a few minutes later to begin treating Cochran, and the alderman was alert and breathing when he was taken out of the Council Chambers. An ambulance took Cochran to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Aides tried to block reporters from filming as Cochran was wheeled out of City Hall on a stretcher.
Austin’s husband, the late Ald. Lemuel Austin, died of a heart attack in 1994. She said seeing Cochran’s collapse brought back memories of her husband’s death. She was appointed as her husband’s replacement after his death.
Last year, Cochran was indicted on federal charges of wire fraud, bribery, and extortion. Federal prosecutors have said he shook down businessmen in his ward for bribes, and looted money from a charity he ran. The alderman has pleaded not guilty.
Cochran, a former Chicago police sergeant, was elected in 2007 to the seat once held by Arenda Troutman, who was indicted herself for bribery for seeking money from developers seeking to do business in the ward. She pleaded guilty in 2009 and was sentenced to four years in prison.