Johnson, who became Chicago’s top cop three years ago, said he started contemplating retirement last month when he was in London for a Chicago Bears-Oakland Raiders football game. He said that trip was his first vacation since becoming superintendent and made him “realize how much of a sacrifice you make.”
The 59-year-old police chief said his retirement thoughts are not related to an ongoing internal investigation into a recent incident in which he was caught sleeping in a car at a stop sign. Johnson, who makes $260,044 per year, requested an investigation of himself after a passerby spotted him parked near a stop sign in October and called 911.
The superintendent said that while he was driving, he felt lightheaded and pulled over. Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the department, said Johnson changed a medication he takes earlier in the week, and recently had concerns about feeling exhausted. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times that Johnson confessed to her he had drunk alcohol with his most recent meal.
Johnson, appointed in March 2016 by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was hospitalized in June after doctors found a small blood clot in one of his lungs during a stress test done as the superintendent approached the two-year anniversary of a kidney transplant, which happened in August 2017.
President Trump, who has long been a critic of Chicago’s policies dating back to Emanuel’s time in office, slammed Johnson during a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in the Windy City. Johnson had boycotted Trump’s appearance.
Trump, who was in the city to, among other things, sign an executive order establishing the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, blamed Johnson for soaring violent crime rates and accused him of putting “criminals and illegal aliens” before residents. The president also repeatedly slammed Johnson for Chicago’s gun violence — describing the city as more dangerous than Afghanistan — in addition to suggesting the superintendent should be replaced, adding that rank-and-file officers deserve a leader who has their backs and “who sides with you.”
Chicago is a “sanctuary city” where local authorities do not cooperate with federal immigration officials, denying information that would help them deport illegal immigrants. Proponents argue Chicago’s efforts encourage cooperation between local police and immigrant communities.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly, Nicole Darrah and The Associated Press contributed to this report.