CTA rider opens up about recent attack, Chicago Duck Derby returns and more in your Chicago news roundup

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

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Nearly a month after he was attacked on a CTA Red Line train, Dan Beam still has the marks of the injuries he sustained when he fought off his attackers.

Nearly a month after he was attacked on a CTA Red Line train, Dan Beam still has the marks of the injuries he sustained when he fought off his attackers.

Ashlee Rezin/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.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a slight chance of thunderstorms and a high near 86 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low near 72. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 91. Sunday will be partly sunny with a chance of thunderstorms and a high near 90.

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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

More CTA riders are getting attacked, with violence at a level not seen in over a decade

Dan Beam had a bad feeling about the two men who crossed into his car on the CTA’s Red Line one day last month.

They sized him up. Then, one of them grabbed his cellphone.

That set off a melee involving knives and bottles that put a spotlight on the sharp rise in violent crime on the CTA’s L and subway trains and buses — and the city’s struggling efforts to contain it.

Beam, 42, fought back and eventually got away, and his attackers were arrested.

But not before he was kicked in the face, stabbed in the collar bone and cracked over the head with bottles as he fended off the two men he was wary of and four others he and the police say also took part in the attack July 22.

It spilled onto another train car and the platform of the North/Clybourn station, with Beam knifing three of his attackers before jumping from the train and calling for help.

The number of violent crimes on the L and buses has jumped to a level not seen in over a decade, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis has found. Through July 19, 488 attacks had been reported on the transit system — the most since 533 during the same period in 2011.

The number of passengers has remained relatively low since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. That means riders are more likely to fall victim to a violent crime today than they were a few years ago, according to the analysis, based on city crime data.

The city used to have a data portal online and available to the public that tracked each crime on the CTA but stopped updating that in 2011. The Sun-Times used other crime data to create a similar dataset for this analysis.

Violent crimes accounted for more than 26% of the 1,863 crimes reported on the CTA this year.

In 2018 and 2019, when there were far more riders, violent crimes amounted to 13% of the crimes.

As more violent crimes have been committed, the deployment of police officers on the CTA system hasn’t kept pace.

Tom Schuba, Manny Ramos and Jesse Howe have more on the state of the CTA here.

More news you need

  1. A sex abuse case against the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Carmelites, a Catholic religious order, has been settled for $1.75 million, attorneys for the victim announced today. The case was brought by a woman who claimed she was repeatedly abused as a child in the 1980s by Robert Boley, a Carmelite priest who taught at the now-closed St. Cyril Catholic School in Woodlawn.
  2. New claims have surfaced about the former lead prosecutor in R. Kelly’s federal case in Chicago, with lawyers for one of his former employees alleging the prosecutor may have developed an inappropriate personal relationship with an alleged victim. Our Jon Seidel has more on the claims here.
  3. Seven months before the botched implosion of a former coal plant smokestack left Little Village smothered in dust in 2020, a city employee issued a dire warning to his boss that went ignored, Brett Chase reports. John Kryl, then-director of environmental inspections, wrote in an email that the plans to implode the tower could cause “almost cataclysmic” harm.
  4. A federal appeals court today ruled in favor of Gov. J.B. Pritzker in his bid to end judicial oversight of the state’s employment practices via the Shakman decree. Pritzker moved to vacate the half-century-old Shakman decree with state lawyers telling the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals that “there is no evidence the state is considering political factors in hiring today.”
  5. Chicago Reader president and publisher Tracy Baim announced today that she will step down by the end of the year. Baim said that she wants to turn over the Reader to fresh leadership, do more writing and engage in other work to help Chicago journalism. 
  6. Mayor Lori Lightfoot yesterday unveiled plans to build 10 new outdoor plazas in neighborhoods across Chicago the city hopes will inspire community engagement and local pride. The plazas, which could feature walking trails and spaces for artists and vendors, are part of a program funded by the $1.2 billion Chicago Recovery Plan and are expected to be completed by spring.
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A bright one

75,000 rubber ducks make a splash in Chicago River for this year’s ducky derby

Getting to be the ambassador for the 2022 Chicago Ducky Derby was an experience Special Olympics athlete Kyle Tuckey called phenomenal.

“It’s such a big honor,” Tuckey said

Special Olympics Illinois held its 17th annual Ducky Derby yesterday with a big crowd getting the chance to watch the splash down of 75,000 ducks in the Chicago River and race to the finish line.

The Ducky Derby is a fundraising event that helps Special Olympics Illinois support more than 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities with programming, including participating in athletic competitions and providing health services.


75,000 ducks are released onto the Chicago River during the Chicago Ducky Derby yesterday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Alex McMillin, a spokeswoman for Special Olympics Illinois, said the organization reached its goal of selling all 75,000 rubber ducks, or up for “adoption,” raising more than $450,000.

Tuckey said once he learned he was going to be this year’s ambassador, he got straight to work promoting the event.

“I told everyone my goal from the start was 75,000, and we sold out a day before the race.”

Read the online version of our Jordan Perkins’ story here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

In honor of International Beer Day, which Chicago craft brewery is your favorite? Tell us why.

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: Where’s the best place to travel for a summer weekend getaway from the city?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan. It’s far enough away from Chicago to feel you have left it, and the dunes are so huge that they feel almost exotic.” — Craig Barner

“Lake Geneva or Williams Bay. Just a slower vibe very walkable, a beach feature, quaint shops, good food and lush green everything.” — Ann Kennedy

“Galena, Illinois is a picturesque town located on the beautiful Galena River. A once prosperous mining town, it has a rich history and was the home of Ulysses S. Grant. A quaint downtown district, with plenty to do! Galena is a bucolic getaway for sure.” — Dianna Sandlin

“Anne Arbor, Michigan. They have a wonderful little anthropology museum.” — Andrew Zwick

“You’ve got to go to Saugatuck, Michigan! It’s only a two-hour drive from the city and boasts beaches, boats, and quaint shops and eateries. We love walking through the town on warm summer nights or admiring the leaves on crisp autumn days. Now is a perfect time to visit!” — Alex Weir

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

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