CHICAGO (CBS) — The city’s top cop remained under scrutiny two days after he was found at a stoplight slumped over in his vehicle.
He had no public events Saturday.
But the mayor was out and she says Superintendent Eddie Johnson will remain in his job while the investigation is carried out.
A police dispatcher sent officers to the intersection of 34th Place and Aberdeen Street where police were called for a well-being check just before 1 a.m. Thursday.
A concerned passerby had spotted what seemed to be a man in need of help. Responding officers found their boss unconscious in his police sport-utility vehicle stopped at a stop sign.
About 10 minutes after the initial call was made, an officer then asked for a supervisor to be called to the scene.
The superintendent was then allowed to drive himself home. No Breathalyzer was administered.
He was not asked to give a blood sample or to undergo any of the standard tests administered to persons suspected of driving under the influence.
“If someone looks impaired or intoxicated or if they smell alcohol or cannabis for that matter then (police) will conduct that but if they don’t think there’s any reason to then they wont,” Johnson said Thursday night.
Johnson said he had felt faint and needed to pull over and rest, and he blamed a mix-up involving his blood pressure medication when he addressed the issue on Thursday night. But it turned out he told Mayor Lori Lightfoot he had a couple of drinks with dinner, according to an interview Lightfoot gave to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The mayor weighed in on Saturday after attending a youth basketball event on the Near West Side:
“As you know, there’s an ongoing internal investigation. In light of that fact, I want to make sure that the investigation is independent. It’s now in the hands of the city’s inspector general as mandated by the consent decree. So I’m not gonna be saying much about it. I want the investigation to be independent. I want it to be thorough, I want it to be expeditious and then we’ll wait to see what the facts tell us.”
Thus, it will be up to Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson and his team to determine why Johnson was not given a Breathalyzer, was not told to give a blood sample, and was not given any tests that are typically administered for people who are suspected of driving impaired.
It’s not clear if Johnson was in uniform at the time. He was off duty.
Departmental rules allow officers to drink off duty in certain cases as long as they are not impaired. They also cannot be in uniform.
The department’s rule 17 says, “Drinking alcoholic beverages while on duty or in uniform, or transporting alcoholic beverages on or in department property, except in the performance of police duty” is not allowed.
As of Saturday night, no decision had been made to immediately release the responding officer’s bodycam video. Lightfoot said the video will be released as required by law.