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Afternoon Edition: June 11, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Karol Chwiesiuk, the Chicago police officer who has been charged with breaching the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Karol J. Chwiesiuk appears in an image federal authorities allege was taken during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. | U.S. District Court records
U.S. District Court records

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 93 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 71. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a high near 86.

Top story

Chicago police officer charged in connection with US Capitol breach

Federal authorities have arrested a Chicago police officer for his alleged role in the January breach of the U.S. Capitol that interrupted the Electoral College vote count and has led to a sprawling criminal investigation.

Karol J. Chwiesiuk is charged with five misdemeanor counts and appeared remotely before U.S. Judge Gabriel Fuentes in Chicago Friday, where he was given a $15,000 unsecured bond.

Fuentes further ordered Chwiesiuk to surrender his FOID card and not possess a weapon or keep weapons in his home while he awaits trial. He also cannot travel to Washington.

The criminal complaint filed against Chwiesiuk Friday alleges he used a racial slur in a text message and bragged about being inside the Capitol where he was seen wearing a CPD hoodie.

Three days before the riot, Chwiesiuk texted an associate, saying he was “busy planning how to f---- up commies” during a conversation about unsuccessful lawsuits that had been filed to dispute the results of President Joe Biden’s election, federal prosecutors said. He then allegedly traveled from Chicago to Washington and joined the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

In a text message on Jan. 6, he allegedly bragged that he “knocked out a commie last night.” Chwiesiuk also took photos of himself at the Capitol — including inside the building — while wearing a tan hoodie with a Chicago police logo on the breast, according to the complaint.

In another message, Chwiesiuk wrote “There’s so many blacks here I’m actually in disbelief” and in a message the following week about being inside the Capitol, he texted a racial slur, writing “N---- don’t snitch,” the complaint alleges.

A selfie Chwiesiuk sent in a text message during the riot appears to show him inside U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office. Chwiesiuk was also identified as being inside the Capitol in several other photographs.

Jon Seidel and Matthew Hendrickson have more on Chwiesiuk here.

More news you need

  1. A collective sense of relief, even joy, rippled through gyms, bars and restaurants, as the city opened up today, doing away with almost all COVID-19 restrictions. But the pain of the last 15 months is still present, Stefano Esposito reports.
  2. After he was incarcerated nearly three years ago, Lee Anglin promised to repay the people from whom he’d stolen more than $10 million in a Ponzi scheme. But his latest money-making scheme has him going back to prison.
  3. Jamari Dent suffered brain damage after he hanged himself in a suicide attempt in 2019, following months of bullying by Chicago Public School staff and students, his family said. Last night, the 13-year-old died.
  4. Gov. Pritzker is proposing spending $694 million to bail out three Exelon nuclear plants and shutter all Illinois coal plants by 2035. That’s according to a memo obtained by the Sun-Times.
  5. Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Bronzeville is among five Black South Side parishes set to close at month’s end. A chapter in the history of Black Catholics in Chicago closes with them, Maudlyne Ihejirika explains.
  6. In court documents filed yesterday, the Lightfoot administration said car shredder General Iron’s owner shouldn’t get a permit until pollution studies are complete. Lightfoot last month suspended the company’s permit at the request of the EPA.

A bright one

Dishin’ on the Dish: The Ethiopian messob at Demera Restaurant in Uptown

Growing up in Ethiopia, Demera owner Tigist Reda spent a lot of the time in the kitchen alongside her mother.

“There was no carryout when I was growing up at least,” said Reda, who has 10 siblings. “We were always cooking, kind of like a restaurant.”

Reda loved to cook, especially for other people, but she never aspired to open a restaurant of her own. After she moved to the United States in the early 2000s, she worked several years as a home chef, cooking for various clients.

The “chef’s selection” messob is served with injera bread at Demera restaurant in Uptown.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

However, when a restaurant space in Uptown opened up at the corner of Lawrence and Broadway Avenues, Reda couldn’t help but pounce on the opportunity to open a place of her own.

Reda opened Demera in 2007 in hopes of sharing her culture’s hospitality and authentic and colorful Ethiopian dishes with Chicagoans. It hasn’t always been easy — she’s had her fair share of growing pains as a rookie restaurateur — but over the years, Demera has become one of the city’s favorite Ethiopian dining spots.

Watch an interview with Reda and read Madeline Kenney’s dive into the beloved restaurant here.

From the press box

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo acknowledged on Friday that he has not received the COVID-19 vaccine. “To me, it really is an individual choice,” manager David Ross said. “There’s some things we can’t control, and guys’ choices, that’s one of them.”

With second baseman Nick Madrigal going on the 60-day injured list, the White Sox are dealing with yet another injury to one of their top players. Even so, the Sox remain in control of the American League Central Division and continue to be a favorite to reach the World Series.

And here’s a way-too-early look ahead at the next high school basketball season.

Your daily question ☕

As select museums stay open later tonight, we want to know — which Chicago museum is your favorite? Tell us why.

Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: How do you think the city handled the pandemic over the last 15 months? Here’s what some of you said…

“Very well, I think. It was an extremely difficult situation to be in — you weren’t going to please everyone all the time. There were bound to be hiccups — no one alive has had to deal with a public pandemic of this proportion. All in all the City and the State did a very good job.” — JD Vincent

“I think they did an excellent job. They didn’t make it political like everything else. Just facts and science.” — Melanie Mclin

“The governor and mayor did the best they could in accordance with the CDC. But Covid is still out there and not everyone is in favor of the vaccine. It’s a little scary to think everything will be opening up tomorrow.” — Mary Jilek Yung

“I feel we all failed miserably. Especially the “elected officials.” — Phil Hardison

“I think the city leadership, especially Dr. Arwady, should be commended. We may not have always liked the decisions, but the city and a great many of its residents owe their life to the decisions she made.” — James Robert

“I think things are opening too soon. There will be a lot more COVID hospitalizations in the weeks to come. Too many unvaccinated. We’ll see variants.” — Sharon M. Costanza

“Poorly. Way too many contradictions and many of the rules were ridiculous.” — Erich V Dahm

“Being that this was the worst worldwide pandemic since 1918, I think it was handled as well as possible. Mistakes were made, but all in all, it certainly could have been worse.” — Rose Doy

“I liked when the Mayor and Arwady dressed in Rona costumes. That was fun.” — John Kapusciarz

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, the city’s health commissioner, appeared in costume Oct. 1 for a news conference on the city’s plans for Halloween. They also handed out candy.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

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