Afternoon Edition: Aug. 24, 2021

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

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ShotSpotter equipment overlooks the intersection of South Stony Island Avenue and East 63rd Street in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

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 mostly sunny with a high near 93 degrees, heat index values as high as 101 and a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low around 76 and a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a high near 92, heat index values as high as 100 and a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Top story

City’s watchdog finds ShotSpotter rarely leads to evidence of gun crimes, investigatory stops

The city’s top watchdog issued a scathing report today that found ShotSpotter technology used by the Chicago Police Department rarely leads to investigatory stops or evidence of gun crimes and can change the way officers interact with areas they’re charged with patrolling.

The report from the city’s Office of the Inspector Generalanalyzed 50,176 ShotSpotter notifications from last January through May. Just 9.1% indicated evidence of a gun-related offense was found. Only 2.1% of the alerts were linked directly to investigative stops, though others were identified that didn’t correlate with a specific ShotSpotter notification, even though the alerts referred to the technology.

The watchdog found that CPD data it examined “does not support a conclusion that ShotSpotter is an effective tool in developing evidence of a gun-related crime.”

While the acoustic gunshot detection system had already come under heavy fire amid a recent study and other reports challenging its efficacy and accuracy, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Supt. David Brown have continued to publicly support the department’s use of the technology.

“If the Department is to continue to invest in technology which sends CPD members into potentially dangerous situations with little information — and about which there are important community concerns — it should be able to demonstrate the benefit of its use in combatting violent crime,” said Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety Deborah Witzburg.

The city’s three-year, $33 million contract with the Silicon Valley-based startup was initially supposed to expire last Thursday. But the deal was extended last December for two additional years at the request of the police department, according to Cathy Kwiatkowski, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Procurement Services.

Tom Schuba and Fran Spielman have more on the use of ShotSpotter technology in our city here.

More news you need

  1. One day after Lightfoot demanded it, indicted Ald. Carrie Austin resigned today as chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity. Austin will remain as alderman of the 34th Ward but is widely expected not to seek re-election in 2023.
  2. A couple dozen Chicago high schools that had opted to only have one police officer in their buildings this school year could have a second cop for a little while longer, officials said yesterday. More than 30 schools voted in the spring to remove at least one officer with some voting to remove both of them.
  3. A Park City family is mourning after 16-year-old Jesus Garcia drowned at Waukegan Municipal Beach in Lake Michigan over the weekend. In an online fundraiser for Garcia’s funeral expenses, his family said they lost a “beautiful, strong, smart, humble and most kind soul.”
  4. CoinFlip, a Chicago-based operator of cryptocurrency ATMs, joined Gov. Pritzker to announce today that the company is bringing its headquarters to the Old Post Office downtown. The company signed a lease for 44,000 square feet in the renovated landmark, and officials said the company will add at least 30 jobs to its current count of 138 Chicago workers.
  5. President Biden yesterday tapped Martin Malin, a Chicago labor law professor, to be the chair of the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s Federal Service Impasses Panel. The panel deals with disputes between unionized federal workers and the federal government agencies employing them.
  6. The three surviving granddaughters of Al Capone will auction off 174 items belonging to the notorious Chicago gangster in October. The items include his favorite pistol, icy jewelry with his initials, a letter Capone wrote to his son from Alcatraz and more.
  7. Kanye West isn’t just bringing his “DONDA” listening event to Soldier Field this Thursday — he’s also recreating the family home he grew up in on the South Side as part of the show. Photos from inside the stadium show the construction of a building on the field that resembles the South Shore home West was raised in by his late mother, Donda.
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A bright one

Donald Lawrence entrusts ‘Goshen’ to his Chicago dance partner

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater likes to tell stories, and what story is bigger or better known than the Exodus, the biblical saga of the escape of the Israelites from their Egyptian captors, complete with the parting of the Red Sea?

A contemporary reinterpretation of that ancient tale is at the heart of “Goshen,” an in-development dance-theater work created by Donald Lawrence, a Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and gospel artist based in Chicago.

Deeply Rooted and 17 onstage singers will present a free preview — a 45-minute version of what is ultimately expected to be a 90-minute work — tomorrow at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

The presentation is titled “A Deeply Rooted Evening for Chicago’s Healing: GOSHEN (preview),” a nod to the show’s timing a few months after the coronavirus shutdown as arts organizations begin returning to live performances.


Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is shown in a movement from “Goshen.”

Ken Carl

“It’s about persevering and making it through difficult times and healing, so we wanted to do it as a gift to Chicago,” said Kevin Iega, Deeply Rooted’s co-founder and creative/executive director and director of this project.

Goshen is named in the Bible as the place in Egypt where Joseph, a cast-out Israelite who rose to become second only to the pharaoh, invited his fellow countrymen to live following a severe famine. Much later, the Israelite descendants were enslaved, ultimately leading to the Exodus.

“Goshen was considered God’s protected place,” Lawrence said, “but if you want to use more spiritual-psychological wisdom, it’s like this place of peace and safety no matter what is happening around you, and it’s all inward.”

Kyle MacMillan has more on the performance’s backstory and meaning here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

How would you describe the taste of Malört to someone who’s never had it before?

Yesterday, we asked you: How do you feel about Chicago’s annual Air & Water Show that brings roaring jets to the city skies each year? Here’s what some of you said...

“Archaic show of force.” — Nic Bhak

“They literally shake my house! I live for this weekend every year. It’s the last summer hurrah.” — Lisa Varga

“I hate it. I own a pet sitting business and I can tell you pet sitters dread this weekend each year because the noise scares the hell out of the dogs and cats. Many pet guardians feel the same as it’s traumatizing for their animals.” — Lita Peterson

“I love it! I get excited each time I hear them coming. I was at the Bears game and got to see them fly over a few times.” — Renata Buchanan

“It glorifies death and violence and this city has enough of that. They should leave the planes on the ground and put that money into actually improving people’s lives.” — Nick Burt

“It was happening before you moved there and is well-publicized, so you know it’s happening. If you don’t like it, get out of town for the weekend and see some other part of the state.” — Karma Grotelueschen

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