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South Side mall workers where police are accused of lounging on the job question ‘sense of respect for the community’
Standing outside their barbershop in a South Side strip mall yesterday, LaShawn Patton and Derrick Noel said they watched the video in which Chicago police officers appeared to be sleeping and eating popcorn in a nearby office while chaos erupted around them.
“That’s just proof of what most of us seen anyways,” Patton said, referencing the lack of police response many Chicago residents witnessed while civil unrest erupted throughout the city following the death of George Floyd.
Their barbershop, Hair Experts, is a short walk from U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush’s campaign office, which is now at the center of a controversy after the mayor publicized a video showing thirteen officers lounging there as nearby businesses were looted and damaged. The office is in the middle of the shopping plaza, which has two entrances.
“You put on that badge and say you’re for the people, then be for the people,” Noel said about the officers in the video.
Today, many businesses in the plaza in Fuller Park remain boarded up or closed. “Black Lives Matter” was spray-painted on one store. Noel and Patton said they were hoping business would pick up, though many customers are scared to return. During the days of unrest, they lost 15 years’ worth of equipment after their windows were smashed.
Like other workers at the mall, Noel and Patton expressed frustration that more wasn’t done to stop the looting, especially because they can see a police station from their parking lot. The men said they think the officers should be fired, just like anyone else would be if they were caught sleeping during work hours.
“You’re supposed to wear a badge with a sense of respect for the community,” said Patton, who says his father was a police detective.
Quella Whitehead, manager of a Boost Mobile store in the plaza, is just starting to reopen her business after it was vandalized. She hadn’t watched the video released by Rush, but she said hearing about it left her puzzled. She thinks the officers’ presence at the shopping center could have deterred some of the destruction.
“Maybe they were scared as well,” Whitehead said. During the hours of looting, Whitehead did see some officers at the mall, but they didn’t get out of their cars. When she tried to file a police report for the stolen merchandise, an officer never came out. Instead, she went to a nearby police station.
“You don’t have words for it,” Whitehead said, throwing up her hands in the air.
More news you need
- Chicago’s first-ever virtual citywide high school graduation ceremony is on Sunday, so we’re relaying some advice from 20 notable Chicagoans. Here’s what Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Cheryl Burton, Rahm Emanuel, Jonathan Toews, Rhymefest and others had to say.
- A Cook County judge is allowing the latest criminal case against actor Jussie Smollett to move forward, ruling that the charges did not constitute double-jeopardy. Judge James Linn said that Smollett’s previous case never led to an admission of guilt and noted that the former “Empire” actor was never punished.
- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has launched an online preregistration program for driver service facilities in an effort to shorten wait times. The program allows residents to complete certain forms before arriving to the DMV, circumventing the data entry usually done in-person.
- A Cook County judge again denied bail for Wyndham Lathem, a former Northwestern University microbiologist accused of murdering his boyfriend in 2017. Lathem wanted to be released from Cook County Jail so he could assist in the battle against the coronavirus.
- The city of Chicago launched a virtual memorial today as part of its coronavirus communication portal and is inviting residents who have lost loved ones to the disease to share their stories. Submissions will be displayed on the website to serve as a virtual public memorial.
- Faith leaders and politicians, including Sen. Dick Durbin, focused on the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. today as they marched toward the Lawndale house the civil rights leader once lived in to draw attention to housing issues in Chicago. Elvia Malagón outlines their demands.
A bright one
Chicago’s Riverwalk is reopening, just in time for the weekend.
Starting today, the Riverwalk will be open to the public from 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., according to the city. Visitors must wear a face mask and maintain social distance from others, and bars and restaurants must space out tables at least six feet apart.
To limit crowding, the city has established designated hours for certain activities. From 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., the Riverwalk will be open for running, walking and biking between Lake Shore Drive and Lake Street. At 10 a.m., it will close for cleaning. Then, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Riverwalk’s bars and restaurants will be open by reservation only. During this block of time, the city said there will also be several “passive recreation areas” for outdoor use.
North of downtown, Chicagoans flocked to a stretch of Broadway between Belmont and Diversey avenues that’s been closed off for pedestrians as part of the city’s cautious reopening.
“It feels so great today. You can see the energy on the street,” said Martin Cournane, co-owner of Wilde Bar & Restaurant. “The weather is beautiful. There’s a lot of hope from this. I’m really grateful to the mayor for choosing us as one of the streets for this pilot program.”
From the press box
Mitch Trubisky said he “was kinda pissed off — in a good way,” when the Bears signed quarterback Nick Foles. “I’ve been motivated ever since.” Patrick Finley has the story.
The Bulls won’t be part of the NBA’s 22-team “bubble” when the season restarts in Florida, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t concerned about playing during the pandemic.
And Blackhawks players have their own questions about the NHL’s plan to open training camps on July 10.
Your daily question ☕
With Chicago’s first-ever virtual citywide high school graduation ceremony taking place this weekend, what’s your advice for 2020’s graduating seniors?
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 your habits have changed since Chicago’s partial reopening went into effect last week. Here’s what some of you said…
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