Afternoon Edition: Aug. 11, 2021

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

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Chicago police officers and firefighters walk with the ambulance carrying slain Officer Ella French into the loading bay of the Cook County Medical Examiners Office on Sunday.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

This afternoon will be breezy and mostly sunny with a high near 92 degrees and heat index values as high as 102. Tonight, showers and thunderstorms are likely with a low around 73 and wind gusts as high as 30 mph. Tomorrow is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 92.

Top story

Lightfoot defends first deputy for canceling ritual at morgue for Officer Ella French

Mayor Lightfoot insisted today that a ritual at the medical examiner’s office normally afforded to police officers killed on the job was canceled last weekend to avoid “exponentially delaying” the family of slain officer Ella French.

Lightfoot said First Deputy Police Supt. Eric Carter made that decision and “I support what he did.”

We reported this week that Chicago police officers who gathered at the medical examiner’s office to give their colleague a final sendoff are furious at Carter.

On the police scanner, Carter’s voice is heard impatiently declaring: “We don’t have 20 minutes for this s---.” He demanded the Chicago Fire Department ambulance bearing French’s body be taken directly into the medical examiner’s office, skipping the Emerald Society’s traditional playing of bagpipes.

“There was no official honor guard that night. There was, let me choose my words carefully, [a] well-meaning but not well-organized group that wanted to hijack the procession. Which would have meant that the family would have been delayed exponentially in getting to the morgue,” the mayor said.

“Given the new restrictions that the new coroner has put in place, that wouldn’t have been fair to them. ... So, a call was made under those circumstances to focus on the family. Eric Carter made the right call. I support what he did. And I’m horrified that, in this moment, people are trying to savage him for whatever agenda or purpose.”

The Cook County medical examiner’s office said today that rules for processions haven’t changed since the pandemic began.

Fran Spielman has more on the controversial decision here.

More news you need

  1. Chicago cops meeting Monday following the death of French shunned Lightfoot again when she attempted to join them. This comes after another recent snub, when police turned their backs on her as she arrived at the hospital where French’s partner — also shot on Saturday — was being held.
  2. The city faces a “significantly reduced,” but still sizable, $733 million budget shortfall in 2022 because of the “lasting and continuing impacts” of the pandemic, Lightfoot said today. The figure is an indication that the city is fiscally bouncing back from crisis, she said.
  3. The mother of two brothers charged in French’s murder was arrested after police said she scuffled with officers while trying to visit her son in the hospital. She was arrested yesterday morning outside the room of Emonte Morgan, who was hospitalized with gunshot wounds, police said
  4. Police have released a photo of a newborn they say was left in a dresser drawer in an alley yesterday, seeking help from anyone who may know the baby boy’s family. The baby boy, less than a week old, was taken in good condition to Lurie Children’s Hospital.
  5. A federal judge sentenced a man to nearly nine years in prison yesterday for burning down a Sprint store during the 2020 protests in Minneapolis before traveling to Chicago, where he was arrested, prosecutors said. The 29-year-old downstate Galesburg man pleaded guilty to arson in April.
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A bright one

North Lawndale event rebrands into hip-hop festival at the request of local teens

The youth in North Lawndale wanted a change when it came to an annual musical event that takes place in the neighborhood.

They wanted the event to be more inclusive to everyone in the community.

Hip Hop Revival — the event’s original name — had a religious connotation to it so it was rebranded into the “FireFest Hip Hop Block Party,” which is scheduled for Saturday at North Lawndale’s Firehouse Community Arts Center.

The block party, which starts at noon, will also feature breakdancing, 3-on-3 basketball, art, and a performance from the LowDown Brass Band, among others.


The FireFest Hip Hop Block Party kicks off Saturday in front of North Lawndale’s Firehouse Community Arts Center.

Firehouse Community Arts Center

“Oftentimes, in a community like Lawndale where there’s 100 churches, people may think it’s a church thing and I don’t really want to come to church — a ‘revival’ thing,” said Firehouse Community Arts Center founder and CEO Pastor Phil Jackson. 

Jackson aims to get the community involved also by adding resources such as COVID-19 vaccinations and unconventional engagement.

Desiree Lopez, a block party volunteer and youth advisor at the community center, describes the block party as a way to “activate” the community.

“We didn’t like the corners, but I feel like there’s not really any activity,” said Lopez. “People can go there for basketball but there’s really no life to it. So what we’re trying to do is bring life and activate the community so people feel like a community corner and not just a corner.”

Evan F. Moore has more on Saturday’s event here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

“Jeopardy!” today announced its two new hosts: Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik. What do you think of the show’s new Alex Trebek replacements?

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: On a scorching hot summer day like today, what’s the best way to stay cool in Chicago? Here’s what some of you said...

“Stay in the grocery store, because I’m not turning on my air conditioner. I’m trying to save money.” — Jeremy Burks

“Beach Day! I love this weather. I was already outside — it’s beautiful out!” — Jackie Hulten

“The public library is air conditioned, same for museums and malls.” — Keith Dearinger

“My pool. However, if a pool isn’t available, take a wet bandana, roll up some ice in it and tie it around my neck.” — Charlene Fitzpatrick Schmitt

“In da bleachers, watching the Cubbies play two at good old Wrigley Field.” — Ken Schabelski

“I used to hit the Portage Park pool or the sprinklers at Shabbona Park — good old days.” — Michael Derenzo

“I so remember the days of running in the streets in the spray of the fire hydrant.” — Michelle Cooney

“Watch the seals at Lincoln Park Zoo — go to the underground area and sit with a book.” — Dave McGuire

“Have a beer by the beach! With a Chicago-style hot dog in hand. It’s literally the only way I swear.” — Ashley Anne

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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