Chicago Police Superintendent Falls Ill At News Conference | WBEZ
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Chicago Police Superintendent Falls Ill At News Conference

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is on a waiting list for a kidney transplant because of a condition he has been dealing with for 32 years, Johnson said at a press conference Friday evening.

Johnson's health became an issue after he suffered an episode of dizziness during a news conference earlier in the day. Johnson appeared dazed and had to sit down while Mayor Rahm Emanuel was announcing an initiative to reduce homicides and shootings.

While Emanuel was speaking at the podium during the news conference, he stopped suddenly and turned to the police superintendent, asking "Are you OK?"

People then surrounded Johnson and several shouted: "Call 911." Emanuel handed Johnson a bottle of water and the superintendent drank from it after sitting down in seats reserved for reporters.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter that Johnson "felt light-headed" and didn't lose consciousness.

"He was coherent and will go to an area hospital for examination," Guglielmi said.

Johnson and the mayor were announcing technological advances for police at a station on the city's South Side. Chicago police and city officials are under tremendous pressure to curb a rash of homicides and shootings in recent years.

Chicago ended 2016 with 762 homicides — or an average of two people killed per day, a rate that was widely reported at year's end. It was the highest number of homicides in the city in two decades and more than Los Angeles and New York combined. Last year, there were 3,550 shootings, a nearly 50 percent increase over 2015.

Three days ago, President Donald Trump tweeted that he would "send in the Feds" if the city couldn't fix the problem.

Johnson told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday that Trump's tweet baffled him.

"The statement is so broad. I have no idea what he's talking about," Johnson said.

Johnson replaced former Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who was fired following the release of dashcam footage showing a white police officer fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager 16 times. He didn't apply to be the city's top police officer. Emanuel chose Johnson for the job in March 2016, after rejecting three finalists recommended by the city's police board.

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