Afternoon Edition: July 6, 2021

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

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Chicago Police Supt. David Brown speaks at a news conference following a violent Fourth of July weekend in the city.

Brian Rich/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 92 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low around 73. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a 50% chance of thunderstorms and a high near 85.

Top story

Chicago’s top cop blames the courts — again — after one of the most violent Fourth of July weekends in years

After the most violent Fourth of July weekend in four years, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown once again blamed the court system in Cook County, complaining it releases too many violent criminals.

“Chicago police officers are doing their job by arresting people and charging them with murder,” Brown said today, a day after a long holiday weekend that saw more than 100 people shot, 19 of them fatally.

“That’s doing our part,” he said. “And what’s happening in the courts, it’s creating this unsafe environment for all of us.”

It’s an argument both he and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have repeatedly made as this year’s violence continues to outpace last year, which was the most violent for the city since the mid-1990s.

Brown pointed to more than 90 people who’ve been charged with murder but were later released back into their communities on electronic monitoring.

“If the cops’ productivity was down and not unprecedentedly high, I would be arguing we need to do more as police officers, that’s not the case here,” he said, noting officers recovered 244 illegal guns over the holiday weekend, resulting in 86 arrests.

This holiday was the most violent Fourth of July weekend since 2017, when at least 101 people were shot, 14 of them fatally. However, that holiday was on a Tuesday, so the tally covered four full days, not three like this year.

Mitch Dudek and Andy Grimm have the full story here.

More news you need

  1. Twenty years ago this summer, Tionda and Diamond Bradley went missing and Chicago launched what investigators say may be the city’s largest missing persons investigation to date. Still, two decades later, family and friends ask: Where are they?
  2. Larry Hoover, convicted of ordering a murder in 1973, was denied a sentencing break today by a judge who cited concerns the Gangster Disciplines co-founder could still “convince others to commit illegal acts on his behalf.” Hoover, 70, is serving a life sentence in a federal “supermax” prison.
  3. For the first time in nearly 16 months, Illinois went a full day without losing someone to COVID-19, according to state data. The good news comes with the caveat that it’s still possible one or more fatalities could eventually be added to the rare zero-total.
  4. President Joe Biden will make his first presidential visit to Illinois tomorrow when he travels to suburban Crystal Lake. Sources told us that Biden, unless plans change, will appear at the McHenry County College to promote his American Families Plan.
  5. Health advocates for years have warned of potential side effects of certain sunscreen ingredients that can enter the bloodstream, while sunscreen manufacturers claim the presence of these chemicals doesn’t mean they’re bad. The FDA is still trying to determine who’s right, creating plenty of confusion over what’s safe.
  6. Last week, it was announced HBO won’t be producing another season of the critically acclaimed series “Lovecraft Country,” which was set and shot largely in Chicago and surrounding areas. So Misha Green, the show’s creator, decided to tease what she was planning for season two.
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A bright one

Mural in Austin aims to give the neighborhood some people to look up to

Four Chicago artists say they hope to inspire kids to reach for and achieve their dreams with a new mural in Austin that features Maya Angelou and other Black figures.

Barrett Keithley, Missy Perkins, Ahmad Lee and Dwight White included seven figures in the mural at Chicago and Lockwood avenues: Angelou, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Harriet Tubman, the fictional superhero Storm and a Black woman and girl not based on any particular person.


Chicago artists Barrett Keithley, Missy Perkins, Ahmad Lee and Dwight White created this mural at Chicago and Lockwood avenues in Austin. It spotlights prominent Black figures.


For Keithley, working on the mural felt like he was paying homage to his ancestors and all Black Chicagoans. Growing up, he says, he didn’t see many Black people doing this type of art. He says he hopes it can inspire kids to reach for their own dreams.

Lee says that, as a Black American, he feels connected to all the imagery of Black Americans in the mural.

“That wall was just a beat-up wall on the side of a rundown store until we had a chance to actually throw some historical figures on there, some superheroes,” Lee says. “Just showing the youth that you can be whatever you want to.

“If you see it, you can achieve it.”

Lu Calzada has the full story behind the mural here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

How do you feel about the fireworks fired off throughout the city during Fourth of July Weekend?

Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: What song sounds like summer to you? Here’s some of what you said…

“‘Summer Nights’ from Grease. So cheery and upbeat. Positive energy.” — Nicholas Franghias

“‘Whispering Waves’ by Donna Summer — chirping birds that are perched in the stunted trees in my front yard, the silence of the searing hot afternoon sun.” — Maria Victoria Casanova Ante

“‘Hot Fun in the Summer Time’ by Sly and the Family Stone, ‘Saturday in the Park’ — Chicago, ‘For those who like to Groove’ —Ray Parker Jr., and Radio, ‘The Smurf’ — Tyrone Brunson, ‘Just a Touch of Love ‘ — Slave, and ‘Come and get your love’ — Redbone.” — Francois Bossier

“‘Dancing in the Streets.’ I graduated in 1965 from high school in Chicago, Wendell Phillips. That was the song that summer.” — Walterene Coleman Martin

“‘Incense and Peppermints’ by the band Strawberry Alarm Clock — it just fits.” — Elliott Avant

“‘Lit Up by Buckcherry’ or ‘Been There Lately’ by Slash’s Snakepit. It takes me right back to the summer I first heard them.” — Nick Goldsmith

“‘Summertime’ — DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. The lyrics paint a picture of summertime in the neighborhood like no other. Best song ever for summer vibin’.” — Darlene Gordon

“‘Cruel Summer’ by Bananarama. It just sounds like an open fire hydrant in the 80s.” — Wolfy Hernandez

“‘Beach Baby’ by First Class. Used to ride around Chicago and the suburbs waiting for it to come on.” — Melinda Vaughn

“‘Reality’ by Lost Frequencies — you feel like you are on the road traveling.” — Jo Na Lyn

“‘Brandy’ by Looking Glass — no specific references to summer, but it just evokes the feeling of strolling down a pier or boardwalk.” — Elyce Block

“‘Southern Girl’ by Franky Bev. & Maze. Just sounds like a hot summer day song.” — James McCreary

“‘Summer Nights’ by Lil Rob because it’s something I love to cruise to with my lady, enjoying life.” — Jude Quesada

“Seals and Crofts’ ‘Summer Breeze.’ A classic summer song. 1972, No. 1 hit and still a hit with me.” — Pat Vogt

“‘Saturday in the Park’ by Chicago. It reminds me of an afternoon at Ravinia back in the 1970s, when I was in high school. It was a magical day.” — Tom Griffin

“Santana’s ‘Oye Como Va’ always brings memories of sitting on my cousin’s boat at their home in Paw Paw, Michigan. Used to go there for my mom’s family reunion. We’d water ski on the lake, and take turns riding the Sea-Doo!” — David Kowalski

You can stream readers’ picks for song of the summer in a Spotify playlist we’ve pieced together here or press play below:

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