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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 19, 2020

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

Chicago police investigate the scene where four people were shot, including a woman who was killed, in the 3000 block of West Roosevelt Road in Lawndale Wednesday.
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.

We’ve got a shockingly warm afternoon in store, despite being deep into November: It’ll be partly sunny with a high near 65 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 49 degrees. Tomorrow, expect more good weather: sunny with a high near 58 degrees.

Top story

Chicago nears 700 homicides in 2020, a milestone reached just one other time since 1998

Chicago is on pace to pass 700 homicides this year as the city faces a 50% increase in gun violence from a year ago.

Since 1998, it’s a milestone reached only one other time, in 2016.

So far, Chicago has more murders this year than during the same period in 2016 — Chicago’s most violent year in recent memory.

As of this morning, 694 deaths in Chicago have been ruled homicides, according to our analysis of the Cook County medical examiner’s office data. The city had 680 murders by this time in 2016, according to Chicago Police Department statistics.

In April, CPD Supt. David Brown challenged his department to keep the annual murder total under 300 — a number the city hasn’t been under in 60 years. He likened the challenge to President John F. Kennedy’s goal to put a man on the moon.

At the time, Brown said he wanted Chicago to “become the safest big city in the country, bar none. Others might be afraid to speak of such lofty goals for fear of falling short.”

But even the mid-year homicide total in 2020 outpaces the totals in years past. We counted 503 homicides in all of 2019; 550 in 2018; and 664 in 2017.

Chicago logged 781 homicides in all of 2016.

Shootings are also up 53% compared to last year, but still 9% lower than they were in 2016, according to CPD statistics. Through Nov. 15 this year, the city saw 2,898 shooting incidents, nearly 1,000 more shootings than during the same time in 2019.

This year, Chicago also saw its most violent day in 60 years, with 18 murders recorded on May 31.

Of this year’s 694 murders, Chicago police have made 165 arrests in connection to murders this year, according to department data.

The medical examiner’s office, which tracks homicides by the date of death instead of the time of injury, has recorded 715 homicides so far in 2020. That number includes police-involved shootings and other self-defense shootings that our count omits.

For the last four years, CPD reported consistent drops in gun violence. In 2017, the FBI said Chicago’s drop in murders accounted for more than half of a national decline in killings.

But murders in the city have risen steadily all year — even before the pandemic forced many people out of work or into working from home.

Keep reading David Struett’s report here.

More news you need

  1. After members of his inner circle were indicted for an alleged bribery scheme designed to influence him, three more state House members say they won’t be voting for Speaker Mike Madigan to maintain his powerful position in January. If they hold to their statements, that would block him from another term in that seat.
  2. State health officials reported another 14,612 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 today, as well as 168 deaths due to the coronavirus. The number of people being treated in Illinois hospitals for COVID-19 has now crossed the 6,000 patient mark.
  3. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s $12.8 billion budget sailed through a City Council committee today, setting the stage for final approval next week with as many as 20 dissenting votes. A day after the Finance Committee approved the mayor’s $195.7 million revenue package, the Budget Committee approved the spending plan 26-to-8.
  4. As the city was roiled with protests this summer, Chicago police officers committed a host of civil rights violations against many people speaking out against police violence, a new lawsuit claims. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 60 activists who claim they were victimized by officers.
  5. Racial gaps in the rates at which failing grades are handed out to Chicago Public Schools students have widened this school year, even as kids across the board have received both more A’s and more F’s than they had this time last year. District officials say they could “lose a generation of students” if they don’t return to in-person learning soon.
  6. A failed congressional candidate from a fading political dynasty in Illinois is tied to a cannabis startup that’s suing the state for allegedly failing to even grade its application for a lucrative dispensary license. Two partners say the firm is tied to Republican Bill Fawell, who lost his bid for Congress this year and has supported conspiracy theories in the past.
  7. After a years-long effort led by student activists, a West Side park will now bear the name of abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Anna Murray-Douglass. The park was originally named “Douglas Park” — an homage to former Illinois senator and slave owner Stephen Douglas.

A bright one

Chicago program adds social equity to holiday shopping list

Putting a social justice twist on Black Friday shopping promotions, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and some community partners have started a campaign encouraging Chicagoans to support Black-owned businesses this holiday season.

“Black Shop Friday,” which refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving that traditionally marks the start of holiday shopping, will feature a website listing more than 500 businesses to help you check items off your gift list.

“It’s not just about one day,” said Karen Freeman-Wilson, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, which is helping the effort. “This will continue beyond the holiday into 2021.”

Christopher Brakenridge, left, and Milton Latrell, right, show AJ Rosser, center, accessories that go with his blazer at Agriculture on Tuesday.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

By encouraging consumers to support Black-owned businesses, Freeman-Wilson hopes to chip away at the disadvantages research shows they face, such as poor access to capital. She said Black-owned businesses were hit especially hard by shutdowns earlier in the pandemic and by recent outbreaks of looting.

Milton Latrell, owner of the custom clothier Agriculture on the Near North Side, said his store was looted in August and business is down significantly because buying habits have changed. “What Mayor Lightfoot is doing — this is so cool to be a part of this,” he said. “We want the chance to show everyone who walks through the door that they’re appreciated.”

BlackShopFriday.com will be updated Tuesday with more than 500 businesses listed. Black-owned businesses that want to be included should email Jason Johnson at jjohnson@chiul.org.

Read David Roeder’s full story here.

From the press box

A mixed public response to the Bulls’ first-round selection of Patrick Williams last night doesn’t appear to bother team executive Arturas Karnisovas at all.

“I think his perception, I didn’t agree with the perception people have of him,” Karnisovas said hours after using the No. 4 overall pick on Williams. Karnisovas later added that, “for us, he was the guy to get.”

The Bulls appear to have another Williams fan in guard Coby White, who crossed paths with the Charlotte native on the prep circuit in North Carolina.

Your daily question ☕

We’re one week away from Thanksgiving, so we want to know: What are you most thankful for in this otherwise difficult year?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: Do you trust our local elected officials to keep us safe during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s what some of you said…

“Our local officials have performed admirably both in terms of keeping us informed, and in working diligently to keep us safe. At the end of the day though, while our safety is their job, it is our responsibility. We (the public) are failing them.” — Vic Maurer

“At the state level? Yes. My county and city officials? Absolutely not, they’re pretending this isn’t happening.” — Maggie Parent-Moyer

“Compared to other states in our area, they’ve been on top of it.” — Brian Horan

“I would complain about the school board for Chicago Public Schools but they aren’t elected.” — Heather Kinion

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

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