Afternoon Edition: Feb. 27, 2020

Today’s update is a 4-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 4-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, we’ll see a high near 30 degrees with partly sunny skies and a slight chance for flurries. At night, the low will be around 17 degrees. Tomorrow’s temperatures will be nearly identical ahead of a warmup that will go great with your weekend plans.

Top story

Cook County judge on ‘administrative duty’ after video shows her locking up a child

A self-proclaimed “lock-’em-up” Cook County judge has been placed on “administrative duty,” after surveillance video surfaced of her putting a child in a courtroom lock-up reserved for adults.

The child, whose face is obscured in the Feb. 19 video, spent about 10 minutes locked up behind a wire-mesh door in a cell that appears to be otherwise empty. The video was provided to the Chicago Sun-Times by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.

Cook County Judge Jackie Portman-Brown, the woman seen putting the child in the lock-up, is known for being highly unconventional: items on her bench have included a cowbell, which she rattles when a defendant is finishing paying restitution, according to a 2016 profile in the Chicago Reader.

At one point in the profile, Portman-Brown is quoted as saying from the bench: “When you mess up, I’m like the Incredible Hulk: You do not wanna see me angry. When I get angry, I lock people up. I’m known as the lock-’em-up judge.”

The Cook County sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation.

Watch the video.


Protesters decry the Chicago Police Department’s use of a gang database and call for its removal during a rally at City Hall.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

More news you need

  1. Aldermen and community activists today denounced the Chicago Police Department’s plan to upgrade and remodel its error-filled gang database. They’re demanding that it be abolished entirely. Fran Spielman covered today’s protests at City Hall.
  2. A man who said he was forced to confess to a brutal 1982 rape testified today about the dehumanizing beating he says he endured at the hands of two Chicago police officers. Here’s his story.
  3. Cost-cutting continues at the Chicago Tribune at the hands of its biggest investor: today, Tribune Publishing announced that its two top editors are departing. Read more about the shakeup.
  4. JoAnn Cunningham, who has pleaded guilty to the murder of her 5-year-old son AJ Freund, will be sentenced in April. She faces between 20 and 60 years in prison. Our coverage from her hearing this morning.
  5. On March 17, Democratic primary voters will choose between Kim Foxx, Bill Conway, Donna More and Bob Fioretti for Cook County State’s Attorney. Here’s a side-by-side look at where they stand on a wide range of issues.
  6. Chicago Public Schools will no longer celebrate Columbus Day. From now on, students and faculty will only observe Indigenous People’s Day on the second Monday of October, according to NBC Chicago. Get the details.
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A bright one

If you’re thinking about the fitness goals you set back in January and need some inspiration, look no further than George Hood.

The 62-year-old veteran U.S. Marine from Naperville just broke the Guinness World Record for planking, holding the pushup-like position for eight hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds.

Hood started planking back in 2010, when Guinness introduced it as a stand-alone category. A year later, it took a mere one hour and 20 minutes to break the world record. He broke the record again in 2013, with a time of three hours and seven minutes.


George Hood planks in the fitness room at his apartment complex in Naperville. | Mark Black/Sun-Times

Mark Black

To prepare for his latest Guinness record, Hood trained seven hours a day, with a regimen that included about 2,000 sit-ups, 700 pushups, 500 leg lifts and four to five hours of planking. He begins each day with a fistful of vitamins and supplements.

So what does he think about while spending hours posing as a human bench? (Not bathroom breaks — he’s got an external catheter for that).

“I’m solving problems when I’m in that plank pose,” Hood said. “I’m thinking about where I’m going to live. I’m thinking about the kids. I’m working on updates to my social media.”

Read reporter Stefano Esposito’s full interview with the athlete.

From the press box

After using 143 different lineup combinations last season, White Sox manager Rick Renteria wants a more stable lineup this year. The South Siders are playing the Mariners this afternoon at Camelback Ranch in Glendale. 

The Blackhawks also hit the ice tonight to visit the Lightning (6 p.m. CT, NBCSC) in what should be a brutal matchup. Corey Crawford, the team’s undisputed starter the rest of the season, gets the nod between the pipes, but it’s a murky future for the Hawks at that position

Your daily question ☕

Lent started yesterday, and we’re two months into New Year’s resolutions. So we want to know: Are you abstaining from anything this year that you know you’ll really miss? Email us here, and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you for your favorite winter weeknight meals. Deb Garcia sent us a photo of her braised short rib and polenta dish, which seems like the perfect recipe for warming up:

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

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