Afternoon Edition: June 11, 2020

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

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U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush at a news conference Thursday, where he discussed Chicago police officers caught on video lounging in his burglarized campaign office.

“They even had the unmitigated gall to go and make coffee for themselves, and pop popcorn, my popcorn, in my microwave, while looters were tearing up businesses within sight, within their reach,” said U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/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 sunny with a high near 81 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 60 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 75 degrees, ahead of a clear and cool weekend.

Top story

Rush says cops lounged in his burglarized campaign office as nearby stores were looted

Chicago police officers were “lounging” in U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush’s campaign office, microwaving popcorn and drinking coffee while looters hit nearby stores, the congressman said today.

Rush appeared at a news conference with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who apologized after he described what he saw unfold on video inside the headquarters on Wentworth Avenue. Still images from the video were displayed at the news conference.

The headquarters was burglarized, Rush said, and he had video of eight to 10 police officers “lounging in my office as I assume looters” were in nearby stores.

“One was asleep on my couch in my campaign office … one was on his cell phone,” Rush said.

“They even had the unmitigated gall to go and make coffee for themselves, and pop popcorn, my popcorn, in my microwave, while looters were tearing up businesses within sight, within their reach.”

The incident came near the end of the weekend of riots and looting that started downtown before spreading into the neighborhoods two weeks ago.

An angry, tearful Lightfoot said the officers had “demonstrated a total disregard for their colleagues, for the badge. … These officers will be held accountable. This will be investigated thoroughly.”

Lightfoot told Rush that “you and your office were treated with such profound disrespect. It’s such an embarrassment to me. … I do have a range of emotions as I stand here, but mostly, I’m done.”

The office is in a shopping plaza where looting occurred. The video was taken early the morning of Monday, June 1, Lightfoot said.

“My understanding is the officers were there for four or five hours,” possibly longer, she said.

Three of the officers, in white shirts, were apparently supervisors. Some have been tentatively identified, Lightfoot said. “You know who you are. You know what you did. Don’t make us come find you. Come on in. Identify yourselves,” she said.

When Rush first called her to describe what had happened, Lightfoot said she had to ask him a few times, because she could not believe what she was hearing.

“The utter contempt and disrespect” that the officers displayed by doing this in the midst of looting in the area is “almost inconceivable,” she said.

Read the full story from Fran Spielman.

More news you need

  1. The Second City has agreed to completely overhaul its organization following allegations by former employees and alumni of company-wide racism, abuse, discrimination, sexual misconduct, harassment, pay inequity and other unacceptable treatment of artists of color. Read the company’s letter here.
  2. Illinois dispensaries unloaded over $44 million in recreational weed in May, marking the most successful month of sales since the drug was fully legalized at the start of the year. The previous monthly high was recorded in January, as pot users flooded dispensaries to get their first taste of legal weed in Illinois.
  3. A Chicago coronavirus victim in her 20s whose lungs were left full of holes and almost fused to her chest wall underwent a successful double lung transplant at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Only a few other COVID-19 survivors, in China and Europe, have received lung transplants.
  4. Angela Tovar, an urban planner and Chicago native, was named Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s top environmental officer today. Her responsibilities include serving as a liaison between City Hall and community organizations in the city’s most polluted areas.
  5. Police are searching for a man who allegedly yelled racial slurs and threw hot coffee at a gas station attendant in Armour Square, burning him in multiple places. The attack came days after a vigilante group of mostly white men patrolled that same block following civil unrest that gripped the city.
  6. Cook County health officials hope to reach out to more than 3,000 people a day to alert them that they could have been exposed to the coronavirus under a $40 million dollar expansion of the county’s contact tracing program. The investment is a crucial step as the county begins to reopen, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.
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A bright one

O’Hare couple have a home — until June 23

Life is looking up for Linda and Manny Benavides.

They are no longer sleeping on chairs at O’Hare Airport, or on a Blue Line train after police make their sweeps and throw them out. Now they are in a clean, if bare, one-bedroom ground-floor apartment in Norwood Park, temporarily: “It’s beautiful in here,” said Linda. “We love it.”

After we featured the couple on our front page May 22, there was an outpouring of support. The couple was put up for a few days in a motel in Des Plaines, where people kept arriving with clothes, gift cards and money.


Manny and Linda Benavides, who were living at O’Hare International Airport in late May, in the Norwood Park apartment provided for them by a Chicago police officer. | Neil Steinberg/Sun-Times

Linda estimates they’ve received $2,600 in total. Plus the apartment, offered by a stranger, a Chicago police officer. The clean, new apartment was offered without restrictions, except that they have to move out by June 23.

Linda and Manny Benavides don’t know what they’ll do in a few weeks. But the officer who’s helping them knows one thing for certain: “I won’t stop until I get them the help that I promised,” she said. “Everything got delayed because of the recent events. But I won’t let them become homeless again.”

Read Neil Steinberg’s full column here.

From the press box

The 2020 MLB Draft wraps up today starting at 4 p.m. following an exciting first round for Chicago’s teams last night.

The White Sox took a big-time pitching talent in Tennessee’s Garrett Crochet with the 11th overall pick, but it was the Cubs who stole the show locally by selecting Chicago native Ed Howard, a high-upside shortstop who played at Mount Carmel, five picks later.

Your daily question ☕

How have your habits changed since Chicago’s partial reopening last week?

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

Yesterday, we asked you how you plan on spending your (coronavirus) summer vacation. Here’s what some of you said…

“Sitting on my patio drinking beer, BBQing and listening to music.” — Peter J. Gallanis

“In my camper wherever parks are open. We’ve already been to Jim Edgar state recreational area. It was very pretty there: a birdwatcher’s paradise. We are definitely staying closer to home and away from crowds.” — Bobette Staley

“Same as the last three months: staying in the house, rewatching the same thing on Netflix over and over.” — Kristin Annicks

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