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.
Snow showers are expected this afternoon with a high near 23 degrees and possible snow accumulation of up to 3 inches. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with snow showers likely and a low around 11. Cook County is under a winter weather advisory until 6 p.m. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a high near 23 and the chance of snow showers.
Ex-Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke released from prison for murder of Laquan McDonald
Ex-Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke was released from custody early today after serving three years in prison for the murder of Laquan McDonald, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot called his release a “disappointment” and activists pushed for federal prosecutors to file new charges.
Van Dyke was released at 12:15 a.m. from Taylorville Correctional Center outside Springfield, according to Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lindsay Camile.
Van Dyke was the first Chicago police officer in nearly 50 years to a face murder charge for an on-duty killing. He served less than half of an 81-month sentence for the murder of the 17-year-old McDonald on the Southwest Side in 2014, a shooting that jolted the city when video was released a year later under a judge’s order.
McDonald’s grandmother Tracey Hunter said she couldn’t sleep the night before Van Dyke’s release. Though her family had been preparing for this day, Hunter said it’s been hard to understand that the man who killed her grandson is free.
“Words can’t express and explain the feelings that my whole family is going through,” Hunter told the Sun-Times. She said her daughter, McDonald’s mother, is at a “loss for words.”
Van Dyke was convicted in 2018 conviction of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery — one for each bullet he fired at McDonald. While he was sentenced to 81 months, he was released after serving half that term because of good behavior.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said the sentence did “not meet the crime” and encouraged new charges on the federal level. “If there’s an ability to do something about it on the federal level, then, by all means, something should be done,” Foxx said.
It’s unclear if federal charges will be filed against Van Dyke. Activists planned to rally this afternoon at Federal Plaza in Chicago to urge federal prosecutors to take action.
David Struett, Andy Grimm, and Madeline Kenney have more on Van Dyke’s release here.
More news you need
- A Pilsen man admitted today that he set fire to a Chicago police vehicle while wearing a Joker mask during the widespread rioting and looting downtown in May 2020. The case became among the most high-profile to result from the uprisings in Chicago due in large part to jarring photos of the clown-masked man taken that day.
- A promising new science aimed at predicting COVID-19 outbreaks in high-risk communities is running into a challenge: Chicago winter. Public health officials were unable to collect some wastewater samples as part of a coronavirus surveillance program because the sewage froze during extreme cold snaps this winter.
- Billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott continues to dish out her fortune — and one of Chicago’s largest education nonprofits is reaping the benefits this week. Communities In Schools of Chicago secured a $4 million grant from Scott that will go to help provide additional support for more than 50,000 Chicago Public Schools students, the organization announced.
- Former colleagues and loved ones are remembering the legacy of Shirley Haas — a writer, reporter, bookstore owner and much more — who died on Jan. 19 at age 97. “Shirley was a vibrant and colorful personality and a gifted Chicago reporter from the heyday of Chicago journalism with great stories to tell,” said author Richard Lindberg.
- Chicago’s major city-sponsored spring/summer festivals and cultural programming are returning as in-person events and in pre-pandemic size and scope. Including The Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago Air and Water Show, World Music Festival Chicago and more, see the full schedule of summer events here.
A bright one
Black-owned breweries collaborate in six-week residency
When Jamhal Johnson started Moor’s Brewing last year, he joined a very small club — less than 1% of breweries are Black-owned, according to a 2020 study by the Brewers Association.
“We’re looking to be more diverse and bring more people into the space and grow the space, not just here in Chicago, but nationwide,” said Johnson, co-owner of Moor’s Brewing.
Starting Tuesday, Johnson’s was among six Black-owned beer entities in a six-week residency program at Haymarket Brewery & Pub, 737 W. Randolph St. in the West Loop.
Besides Moor’s, there are three other Black-owned breweries — Funkytown Brewery, Black Horizon Brewing and Turner Haus Brewery — and two other Black-owned beer brands — Black Beer Baron, by brewer Jay Westbrook, and The Brother at the Bar, by Sam Ross.
The six brewers collaborated on a new beer that’s being tapped Feb. 13 — Super Bowl Sunday. Called, Chicago Uncommon, the beer pays homage to the Chicago common brick, used to reconstruct a stronger, more durable city after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
“We’re using the Chicago Uncommon to rebuild the narrative of what people think craft beer looks like,” said Westbrook.
Josephine Stratman has more on the historic collaboration here.
From the press box
- The Bears found their next QBs coach: Andrew Janocko, who last worked for the Vikings.
- The Sky moved on from Diamond DeShields by dealing the guard to the Mercury as part of a three-team deal.
- The 2022 Winter Olympics started this week, and Neil Steinberg writes about an aspect of the Games that’s been notably absent from most coverage so far: The fact that they’re taking place in China.
- Can undefeated Glenbard West run the table? Joe Henricksen looks back at all the local high school basketball teams with perfect seasons since 1980.
Your daily question ☕
Will you be watching the Winter Olympics this year? Tell us why or why not.
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: Is it wrong to order food delivery in a snowstorm?
Here’s what some of you said…
“It’s not wrong, but the tip should be higher than Cheech & Chong! Anyone driving today is doing it for the extra tips, don’t let them down!” — Starr Spencer
“Yes, it is. You knew it was coming you should have shopped yesterday.” — Susan Ewing
“The restaurants are already hurting. Selling food gets them tips. As bad as it is no one can complain about the time it’ll take because it’s being brought to you so you don’t have to deal with the weather. I know, I just ordered food.” — Raul Espinoza Jr
“Many folks can’t go grocery shopping on their own during this time, so meal delivery is very important. And yes, please tip generously.” — Carmie Daugird Callobre
“I would not. if I felt it was not safe to drive in bad weather, why would I endanger someone else life?” — Jill Bray-Musselman
“I wouldn’t order but I don’t think it’s wrong. I also think that if you do order something you should double the usual tip based on the weather like today.” — Rodney Jones
“I deliver for DoorDash, I have a good four-wheel-drive car that handles snow up on the U.P. Of Michigan. If the weather is crappy, go ahead and order — just be understanding if it takes a little longer, and make sure you leave a good tip or we can decline the delivery. Oh and please just ask us to hand it to you so we don’t have to set your food in the freezing cold/wet (you get the idea) lol.” — Courtney Schubert Shafron
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