Afternoon Edition: March 15, 2022

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

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Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx during a presser today.

Anthony Vazquez/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.

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Top story

No criminal charges against Chicago Police officers in fatal shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and Anthony Alvarez

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said today she will not file criminal charges against Chicago Police officers in the shooting deaths of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez last year.

Foxx made the announcement almost a year after the officers shot and killed Toledo and Alvarez in separate incidents in March.

“This is a somber announcement. There are no winners in this situation,” Foxx said.

Foxx said the decision not to file charges was made after a thorough investigation and an additional review by an outside agency.

In the shooting of Toledo, “based on the facts, the evidence and the law, we found that there’s no evidence to prove that Officer (Eric) Stillman acted with criminal intent,” Foxx said.

Stillman was wearing a body camera that shows him chasing the teen down an alley in Little Village on March 29. The officer orders him to stop and show his hands.

Solano shot Alvarez several times from behind during a foot pursuit in the 5200 block of West Eddy Street.

In April of 2021, COPA recommended Solano be relieved of police powers during the investigation of the Alvarez shooting — a rare move that would mean the officer would be placed on paid desk duty after a standard 30-day leave.

COPA concluded its investigation the end of January and Police Supt. David Brown was expected to come to a decision on the officer this month.

Foxx said she had spoken recently to Alvarez’s family, and that his family was “heartbroken” that no charges would be filed against the officer.

“They didn’t think the criminal court system would hold the officer accountable,” Foxx said. They had many, many questions. They seemed resigned to the decision my office made.”

David Struett has more on Foxx’s announcement here.

More news you need

  1. Jose Alvarez — the top administrator at the embattled Illinois State Toll Highway Authority — has resigned from his six-figure post in the latest sign of turmoil at the state agency. His resignation follows the recent departure of tollway board chairman Will Evans, who had been in a power struggle with Alvarez since 2019, when they both were hired at the request of Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
  2. Patrick Daley Thompson’s lawyers are seeking a new trial or acquittal for the former City Council member — despite a jury’s verdict last month — in part by alleging that prosecutors made inappropriate arguments at the close of Thompson’s federal tax trial. A jury found Thompson guilty of cheating on his taxes and lying to regulators. Its verdict cost Thompson his seat on the City Council — he could also face prison time.
  3. Top mayoral aides got a new tool to reclaim some abandoned and distressed properties concentrated in communities of color, under an ordinance advanced today amid renewed concern about aldermanic prerogative. The city’s Planning and Development Commissioner and Housing Commissioner will be authorized to purchase delinquent or forfeited property taxes from Cook County to assemble property for development.
  4. The alleged fraud at the North Side’s Brennemann Elementary School has led to more federal charges this week, this time for a sales representative for a Chicago Public Schools vendor. She is accused of participating in a scheme to fraudulently deliver iPhones, iPads and prepaid gift cards to administrators and others at the school for personal use, allegedly cheating CPS out of $75,000.
  5. Nearly 30 years ago, Terence Alan Smith stirred up conversations around race and gender when he entered the 1991 mayoral primary as his drag persona, Joan Jett Blakk. Our Cheyanne M. Daniels explains why Joan Jett Blakk’s candidacy remains for many a significant moment in Chicago’s history.

A bright one

Group bicycle rides gaining traction

Mel Leverich first embraced biking as a safe alternative to public transit during the pandemic. Now, it’s a huge part of her life. 

Leverich was soon regularly going on rides with friends and using the bike on a near-daily basis. She casually looked for a more organized biking group to join. Not finding many options, she made her own — North Side Bike ride, which hosted its first biweekly group ride March 6. 

Organizers say group bike rides like these are gaining traction, spurred on by warmer weather and cabin fever. 

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Eight people joined North Side Bike Ride’s first group ride last week. Courtesy Mel Leverich

Provided

The Southwest Collective sometimes had as many 40 cyclists show up for its monthly rides since the pandemic hit, said Dixon Galvez-Searle, head of the nonprofit bike group.

Organizers and biking activists argue the increase in riders needs to be met by better riding conditions.

Chicago Family Biking, a volunteer-run organization, hosts rides in neighborhoods across the city. 

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of people that are interested in biking with their family, which is fabulous,” said Rebecca Resman, the founder of Chicago Family Biking.

Josephine Stratman has more on the group biking boom here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Should Chicago dye the river for any other occasion? What color and why.

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: As spring training opens, what are you looking forward to most from this baseball season?

Here’s what some of you said…

“I’m looking forward to the Sox being better again this year and playing deeper into the playoffs and listening to games on warm evenings.” — Michael Thomas

“Watching the new players and getting to know the team again.” — Pamela Day Vlies

“The baseball sounds: ‘Batter up!’ The crack of the bat breaking the sound barrier. ‘Get your hotdogs here.’ The warmth of the sun. The buzz, the hum, the engine of the park! Yes, it’s summer.” — Charles Woods

“A winning season for the Cubs — but I doubt it.” — Carol Wortel

“Baseball. Just a nice afternoon of baseball. Even a boring pitcher’s duel would be a welcome relief.” — Edward Erwin

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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