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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 30, 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 a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed in the 4400 block of West Jackson Blvd, in the West Garfield Park neighborhood, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020.
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.

It’s a cold and blustery afternoon with a high of 34 degrees and wind gusts as high as 35 mph. Chicagoans are being urged to avoid the lakefront as dangerous waves of up to 14 feet high flood the area. Tonight’s low will be around 25 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 37 degrees.

Top story

Violence soars in Minneapolis after Floyd killing, but one Chicago police district is even worse

To get a measure of just how bad crime is on Chicago’s West Side this year, one good place to start is about 350 miles away — in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis has struggled with violence since May, when a police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck and he died, setting off protests, looting and rioting that spread across the country, including in Chicago.

Floyd’s killing shattered the friendly, stoic image of that city of 425,000, which has been facing a growing murder problem. Through mid-November, Minneapolis has had almost 75 killings — stunning for a city with fewer than 50 killings in all of 2019.

But the violence this year in Chicago’s 11th police district alone, also known as the Harrison District, is worse.

The district — one of 22 in the city — stretches from Roosevelt Road on the south to Division Street on the north and Cicero Avenue on the west to Western Avenue on the east. It’s less than 6 square miles, about one-tenth of Minneapolis’ 58 square miles. Yet more people have been slain in the 11th District than in all of Minneapolis this year.

Almost 90 homicides — about 15 more than in Minneapolis — were recorded in the 11th District this year through mid-November.

The 11th District is typically one of the most violent areas of Chicago. Almost 70 people were murdered in the district over the same period last year.

But this year, the 11th District’s body count towers above the other districts and has helped to drive the number of killings across the city above 700 — more than 50% above the same time last year.

By the end of 2020, the number of killings in Chicago could be higher than any time since 1998.

The police department’s response to the violence is evolving.

Early in the year, interim Supt. Charlie Beck reorganized the department, emphasizing crime-fighting at the district level. Then his successor, Supt. David Brown, put about 1,000 officers on new citywide teams to combat gun crime, looting and rioting.

In recent months, district officers have complained about being undermanned and working in conditions they fear are putting them at risk of getting the coronavirus. Arrests and traffic stops have fallen during the pandemic. And like in Minneapolis, police retirements are up in Chicago, but not as sharply.

On Saturday, the head of the Police Executive Research Forum sent a message to its members — police chiefs across the country — noting the same problem in other departments.

“The day-to-day activity of working cops has changed when it comes to proactive police work. And the bad guys know this,” executive director Chuck Wexler said. “Many of them are now carrying weapons, because they recognize that the chances of being stopped have been significantly reduced.”

The story doesn’t end here. Read Frank Main’s full report.

More news you need

  1. Chicago’s annual overnight winter parking ban begins 3 a.m. tomorrow on more than 100 miles of city streets — threatening drivers with towing and a minimum fine of $235. The parking ban is enforced regardless of snow from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m., and lasts from Dec. 1 to April 1.
  2. The chair of the special House investigative committee looking into Speaker Michael Madigan’s dealings with ComEd announced he’s tested positive for the coronavirus days after he put the panel’s next meeting on the calendar. Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch said he started to feel symptoms Wednesday; he was tested Saturday afternoon.
  3. Illinois health officials today reported 6,190 new and probable cases of the coronavirus and 85 new deaths, continuing a trend of lower caseloads compared with earlier this month. As of last night, 5,849 people were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19.
  4. A Thanksgiving dinner guest stabbed a man to death after the victim questioned why he was digging into the leftovers with his hands, upsetting the host with his uncouth behavior, Cook County prosecutors said. The host’s boyfriend, Vincell Jackson, was stabbed after trying to escort James Dixon outside.
  5. Domenic Poeta, 63, admitted earlier this year that he made more than $3.7 million from a bookmaking business between 2012 and 2017, dodging $1.4 million in taxes. Today, the North Shore butcher was sentenced to a year in federal prison, and ordered to pay the $1.4 million he owes.

A bright one

‘Jingle Jangle’ actor Justin Cornwell says musical inspires ‘love, forgiveness, and redemption’

Chicago theater actor Justin Cornwell sees the importance of his upbeat new Netflix musical “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” amid trying times.

“It’s amazing to have the response that we’re getting from this movie,” said Cornwell. “I think everybody I’ve ever known has reached out to me telling me that they’ve seen the film three or four times. They are having such a visceral, emotional reaction to it because it feels like we are doing something that’s much needed. …

“For it to come out at a moment where I feel like everyone’s hearts are healing, or needed healing, it just feels like the right moment.”

Chicago theater alumnus Justin Cornwell (middle) stars in Netflix’s “Jingle Jangle” with Madalen Mills (left) and Sharon Rose.
Gareth Gatrell/NETFLIX

The main storyline of the film, which features a predominately Black cast, focuses on inventor and toymaker Jeronicus Jangle, played by Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, whose apprentice, Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key), steals his book of inventions and becomes a successful toymaker in the process.

While on the set, Cornwell says he got to have conversations with Whitaker about their shared character and how it fits into their theater backgrounds.

“We honed our character together, so it wasn’t like I’m doing my thing and he’s doing his thing,” said Cornwell. “And we’re more theater-type actors. We can deep-dive into this character even if it’s a children’s movie; there’s so much to be discovered.”

Read Evan F. Moore’s full interview with Cornwell here.

From the press box

Last night’s 41-25 loss to the Packers was the latest disaster for the Bears, but Matt Nagy indicated that Mitch Trubisky will be the starting quarterback this Sunday against the Lions.

Despite Nagy’s attempts to build confidence in Trubisky, the quarterback showed no improvement, columnist Rick Morrissey writes.

The pandemic continues to create havoc in college football as the number of COVID-19 cases in its program forced Minnesota to cancel Saturday’s game against Northwestern.

And Illinois’ men’s basketball team entered the Associated Press top 5 for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

Your daily question ☕

How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping habits?

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

Wednesday, we asked you: What are you cooking for Thanksgiving this year? How does it differ from previous years? Here’s what some of you said…

“Huge difference from years past, which always included a turkey and all the trimmings with family. This year I’m by myself and having a hot dog, which is fine because I love them, but will really miss the family togetherness.” — Sandra Wasielewski

“We usually go out to eat at a restaurant, so this is the first year I’m attempting to cook anything. Turkey roulade from Target with canned cranberry sauce, so I can’t screw this up too terribly. I hope.” — Laurie Alfaro

“Rock cornish hens individually roasted in foil. Everyone has their own. And normal shared sides.” — Cindy Haduch Gizowski

“Lobster! There are only 5 of us instead of 25, so we’re splurging.” — Patty Roberts Rohm

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