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Top Cop Eddie Johnson Needs Kidney Transplant: Report

By Heather Cherone | January 27, 2017 11:46am | Updated on January 27, 2017 12:52pm
 Police Supt. Eddie Johnson with Mayor Emanuel Friday morning before the city's top cop fainted.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson with Mayor Emanuel Friday morning before the city's top cop fainted.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

ENGLEWOOD — Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson is in need of a kidney transplant, according to a published report, but that problem is not related to a medical episode he suffered Friday morning, his spokesman said.

The Chicago Sun-Times first reported that the 56-year-old Johnson is in need a transplant. The news came out after Johnson appeared woozy and his knees buckled while standing next to Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a news conference in Englewood.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi then tweeted that the episode and Johnson's "longstanding kidney issue" were not related.

Earlier in the day, Guglielmi said that the top cop didn't lose consciousness.

"Supt. Johnson felt light headed at presser and did not lose consciousness. He was coherent and will go to an area hospital for examination," Guglielmi said in a statement shortly before noon.

The mayor's office declined to comment on the state of Johnson's health.

He swayed while standing near a podium with Emanuel and others at the Englewood (7th) District Police Station, 1438 W. 63rd St.

Johnson was helped to a seat by the mayor and First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro.

As city officials ordered the news media out of the room, other city officials yelled for 911 to be called or for anyone who had a snack or juice to give it to the superintendent.

About 20 minutes after the incident, Johnson left the police station in a black SUV lead by marked police SUVs, lights and sirens ablaze.

Although an ambulance was called for Johnson, it left without him.

Emanuel, who left just after Johnson, made no statement.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), who was the press conference, left the police station after Johnson.

"He's doing fine," Sawyer said. "He walked out on his own. He's looking fine."

The press conference was scheduled to announce new technology to combat street violence.

Johnson has nearly 30 years with the police department. He lived in the now-demolished Cabrini Green public housing complex until the age of 9 when his family moved to the Washington Heights neighborhood.

Handpicked by Emanuel in March 2016 to lead the department after a police officer fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, Johnson said he took office "at a time of unparalleled challenge."

Emanuel has effusively praised Johnson for leading the department through the aftermath of the video release.

An investigation by the Justice Department released Jan. 13 concluded the unconstitutional use of force by officers and a lack of accountability by the Chicago Police Department created a "deadly cycle" of violence that effected Black and Latino Chicagoans disproportionately.

Emanuel has agreed to negotiate reforms of the police department that will be overseen by a federal judge.