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.
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.
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The Chicago Police Department spent more than $47.1 million on overtime in June as murders and shootings skyrocketed and demonstrations after the death of George Floyd devolved into looting and mayhem.
June overtime costs, released to us in response to a Freedom of Information request, nearly doubled the $24.1 million spent during the same period a year ago.
That means CPD has spent $84.3 million and nearly used up its overtime budget for all of 2020 during the first six months of the year.
Under pressure from Mayor Lori Lightfoot to reduce police overtime that ballooned to $139.5 million last year, Police Supt. David Brown ordered all overtime to be approved by deputy chiefs and above. It was one of his first official moves as superintendent.
Then, Memorial Day weekend turned into a bloodbath, with 10 people killed and 39 others shot and wounded. When it was over, Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety, complained Brown had failed his first major test as superintendent because he was more concerned with cutting overtime than fighting violence. Taliaferro claimed there were “hundreds” fewer officers on the street when there should have been at least as many as last year, maybe more, to “saturate” South and West Side police districts plagued by gang and gun violence.
Four days later, demonstrations over Floyd’s death turned ugly, prompting Lightfoot to invoke a 9 p.m. curfew. The next day, police officers’ days off were canceled. Bridges were raised, sealing off downtown, with expressway ramp closures enforced by the National Guard. That prompted looting and mayhem to spread into South and West Side neighborhoods. The overtime edict was thrown out the window; police officers were required to work 12-hour days for weeks on end.
The June figure covers the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June. That means overtime in the July report, covering the last two weeks of June and the July Fourth weekend, could be even worse.
“Normally, we have higher overtime for Memorial Day. And that level continued with the George Floyd protests and then the following week with another week of protests and with the looting and everything that was going on,” Budget Director Susie Park said.
“This is something that we could not control. … New York’s overtime for that period was quadruple, I think. A lot of other cities during the protests that happened probably had similar police overtime costs.”
The stay-at-home shutdown triggered by the coronavirus has blown a $700 million hole in Lightfoot’s precariously balanced 2020 budget. Park refused to say whether the sky-high police overtime for the month of June would exacerbate that budget struggle.
But she said city budget officials would “do the best we can for the rest of the year” to control the more routine forms of police overtime.
More news you need
- Public health officials have announced Illinois’ largest coronavirus caseload in over 10 weeks: 1,953 more people tested positive for COVID-19 across the state today. Since cases dipped in mid-June, a deluge of outbreaks among young people have fueled a steady rise that has the state on the verge of a full-blown resurgence, officials said.
- A “poorly designed” national program allowed “highly experienced money launderers” to take advantage of “massive holes” to file more than 120,000 fraudulent claims through Illinois’ beleaguered unemployment benefits system during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says. Authorities are working to track down the thieves.
- A Lawndale man faces five counts of attempted murder after allegedly shooting at officers from a third-story window yesterday, striking one of them, during a domestic call on the West Side. Anthony Marks, 30, also faces a count of being an armed habitual criminal since he allegedly wasn’t allowed to possess a firearm, police said.
- Bonnie Swearingen, a flamboyant, irrepressible Chicago society figure and charity fundraiser who made headlines for her madcap comments and marriage to a Midwestern business titan, has died. She was 87, Maureen O’Donnell reports.
- Need some fresh ideas for things to do in the next week? We’ve rounded up some options happening both virtually and in person, including concerts, dances and drive-ins.
A bright one
Chicagoans will soon be able to enjoy a chilled beverage and delicious meal at their favorite beachfront restaurants.
Though the beaches remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, city officials gave lakefront restaurants and cafes the green light this week to reopen for business after months of being shut down.
That was welcome news for Reggie’s on the Beach, one of at least five beachfront restaurants that have announced plans to open their doors for the first time this summer. “We already lost half the season, so it’s better than nothing,” owner Robby Glick said. “And we’re just grateful that they listened to us and are letting us open.”
Reggie’s on the Beach, located near the Jackson Park Harbor, is the first restaurant to return; it opens its doors today. The other four restaurants — The Dock on Montrose, Caffe Oliva, Castaways and Shore Club — plan to reopen tomorrow.
Glick is planning to make the most of the next six or eight weeks left of summer: “People, they need some positivity right now,” he said, “and this will help.”
From the press box
Sorry Bulls fans, it looks like you’re stuck with coach Jim Boylen for another season, Joe Cowley writes. The team’s uncertain financial status means Jerry and Michael Reinsdorf will probably keep the embattled coach around, rather than pay for a high-priced new floor leader. On the other side of the Reinsdorf sports empire, the White Sox’ bullpen seems to be a bright spot so far this season.
There’s no Navy, USC or Stanford on Notre Dame’s football schedule, but November’s game against Clemson might make up for it.
And CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz says this weekend’s PGA Championship will be the beginning of “the greatest stretch of golf in the history of the game.”
Our weekly @suntimes sports poll is here. We want to hear from you! Selected comments will appear in our Sports Saturday edition.— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) August 6, 2020
Q1: As college football training camps open this week, do you trust that coaches and administrators are doing all they can to keep players safe?
Your daily question ☕
What do you think about Chicago Public Schools being fully remote this fall?
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: What are some things you would bring with you if you had to work and live inside a “bubble” like some pro athletes are doing now? Here’s what some of you said…
“My signed baseball from Andre Dawson, endless coffee and my Glee Live t-shirt which reminds me of how much I love music and musical theatre. Maybe a picture of me and my siblings as kids.” — Danielle-Alysse Di Silvestro
“My dogs! Oh and my boyfriend, phone, iPad, assuming food and drinks are provided you.” — Deb Gallagher
“Laptop, kindle, cat.” — Hera Dean
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