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Afternoon Edition: Aug. 20, 2020

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

Chicago police officers positioned near Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home earlier this year.
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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.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 87 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 67 degrees. Tomorrow’s high will be 90 degrees ahead of a hot and sunny weekend.

Top story

Lightfoot makes no apologies for heavy police presence around her home

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today that the heavy police presence outside her Logan Square home at a time when police officers are stretched to the limit is justified by “specific threats” made “every single day” to “my person, my wife and my home.”

“Given the threats that I have personally received. Given the threats to my home and my family, I’m gonna do everything to make sure that they are protected. I make no apologies whatsoever for that,” the mayor said.

“I’ve talked to my fellow mayors across the country and, seeing the kind of things that have been done to them and their family members, I’m not gonna have that happen. That’s not what my wife and my child signed up for. It’s not what my neighbors signed up for. We have a right in our home to live in peace.”

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that, for the first time in recent memory, Chicago police are enforcing an ordinance prohibiting neighborhood demonstrations, even peaceful ones. The mandate has empowered officers guarding the mayor’s house to keep demonstrators off the mayor’s block and arrest anyone who refuses to disperse.

After the court-ordered release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in November 2015, protesters routinely gathered outside then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Ravenswood home, claiming Emanuel had concealed the video until he was safely re-elected. There was no attempt then to enforce the city ordinance.

But Lightfoot said the death of George Floyd, the pandemic and the resulting economic hardship have created a unique set of circumstances demanding a show of force: “Comparing this to some other time doesn’t make any sense because there is no other time like this one that we’re in,” she said.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown backstopped the mayor during a news conference at Ogden Police District called to announce an expansion of a community policing initiative.

“Very violent people” have hijacked “very peaceful First Amendment protests” across the city, Brown said. “They’re embedded. They put up umbrellas and they come for a fight, so we have to prepare for what we’ve seen.”

“These people embedded in these protests have shown us they’re violent. They’re violent in our downtown. They’re violent in our neighborhoods. And they’re violent at the mayor’s house. We’re sworn to protect people from violence and we’re gonna do our job.”

Lightfoot wouldn’t elaborate on the threats. “Suffice it to say that, every single day, there is something that pops up,” she said.

Read Fran Spielman’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Health officials today announced 1,832 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 across Illinois, another four-digit caseload that has become the norm as the virus flares back up statewide. “We are better than most states — that’s true today, but we are going in the wrong direction,” said Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
  2. When a police officer is in crisis, he or she often needs help right away — and from someone who truly understands the trauma particular to a cop working in communities rife with gun violence. That’s part of the thinking behind a new initiative called “Bank the Blue,” a cop-focused mental health program that’s expected to be available to any officer working in Cook County.
  3. A firefighter suffered a minor injury Thursday morning while putting out a fire that broke out on a rear porch in Old Town, spreading inside the building and causing heavy damage. As the fire spread, about 70 firefighters were called to fight the blaze, which was put out in 20 minutes, officials said.
  4. A man is wanted by police for allegedly stabbing four sleeping homeless men — one fatally — since July at Grant Park and on the CTA. Aaron Curry, 58, was found dead in a grassy area of Grant Park with a knife stuck in his neck, authorities said.
  5. Sen. Tammy Duckworth delivers a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention tonight, speaking before Joe Biden accepts the Democratic presidential nomination. Watch it here.

A bright one

Sister Jean discusses quarantining, basketball’s fate, life lessons ahead of 101st birthday

One year ago Friday, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt peered over a large birthday cake and blew out her special “1-0-0” candles burning in front of a crowd of several hundred at Damen Student Center.

It was the party of the century — at least in Sister Jean’s eyes. There was cake, appearances by Gov. J.B. Pritzker along with other prominent Illinoisans, and a star-studded video tribute that included NBA legend Charles Barkley, Bears owner Virginia McCaskey and former Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

But what made it extremely special, she said, was the opportunity to share her 100th birthday with the Loyola community of students, faculty and alumni: “It was a wonderful day,” Sister Jean recalled.

Sister Jean is celebrating her 101st birthday Friday with a virtual party hosted by Loyola.
Getty Images

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Loyola can’t do the same this year when Sister Jean celebrates her 101st birthday, a milestone she said she wasn’t sure she’d reach. But they’re going to do what she believes is the next best thing — hold a virtual birthday party Friday. And Loyola’s No. 1 fan is welcoming everyone to be part of her special day.

Her one birthday wish?

“The best one that I could possibly imagine is that if I could leave [my apartment] and go to campus,” she said. “That’s the best one that I could do.”

Read Madeline Kenney’s full interview with the popular men’s basketball team chaplain here.

From the press box

Yes it’s early, but Nick Foles looks like he already has an edge over incumbent Mitch Trubisky in the Bears’ QB competition. Mark Potash has the story.

Tonight’s NBA Draft lottery at 7:30 p.m. will help determine the next step in the Bulls’ rebuild. Here’s how to watch.

Your daily question ☕

If you’ve been watching the DNC this week, what’s been your favorite (or least favorite) thing about the virtual format?

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

Yesterday, we asked you: How do you plan on voting in November? Here’s what some of you said…

“In person. I will be the first in line. I am a new U.S. citizen and I am so excited!” — Erika Hoffmann

“I will be voting early and in person. This year would’ve been my first year that I voted by mail to be cautious in a pandemic, but the continued efforts to discredit vote by mail concerns me that my vote won’t be counted. I will happily go to the polls.” — Daniel Alleva

“Mailing my ballot. And I’m not worried about it getting there on time. I won’t wait till the last days. No problem.” — Mike Kaestner

“Early voting in person wearing my mask and standing six feet behind the person in front of me.” — Patricia Marie Novack

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