Lawsuit says Chicago police target people of color at traffic stops, Biden kicks off visit to Chicago and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Jose Manuel Almanza Jr. is one of five Chicagoans listed as named plaintiffs in an ACLU lawsuit that alleges Chicago police target people of color for traffic stops.

Owen Ziliak/Sun-Times

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

It’s only Wednesday, yet this week is shaping up to be a particularly unique one in the city.

We’ve got workers flipping downtown into a NASCAR track, where this weekend up to 40 cars will take 100 laps around a 2.2-mile course — complete with 12 turns, seven of which are 90 degrees.

Also, ospreys and helicopters are in the skies and a motorcade is in the streets because the president of the United States happens to be in town today.

And we’ve still got some of the worst, most dangerous air in the world right now, as smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to blow in and keep the city looking hazy.

It may feel like a lot to process, but my colleagues and I are here to help make sense of it all for you.

So stick with us as we fill you in on the news you need to know today.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)


Chicago police target people of color for traffic stops, ACLU lawsuit claims

Reporting by Andy Grimm

Lawsuit flags policing trends: Black drivers in Chicago are four to seven times more likely to be pulled over by police than white drivers, while Latino drivers are stopped twice as often, according to a lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. The suit, which includes five Chicagoans listed as plaintiffs, alleges there is a racially biased pattern in how Chicago police enforce traffic laws.

What the lawsuit says: Traffic stops on the city’s predominantly Black and Latino South and West sides, the lawsuit says, are typically for minor violations — or for no reason at all — and are a tool for officers to search and detain people of color. The lawsuit comes less than a decade after the Chicago Police Department reached a settlement with the ACLU in a lawsuit over similarly disproportionate stops of minority pedestrians.

Key context: The number of traffic stops citywide surged after the city in 2015 entered a settlement with ACLU Illinois over “stop-and-frisk” pedestrian stops. Pedestrian stops fell from a high of 710,000 in 2014 to just 107,000 in 2016. But traffic stops climbed from 83,000 in 2014 to 500,000 last year — though the number of tickets issued citywide fell during the same period, the lawsuit states. In each year since 2017, nearly two-thirds of drivers stopped are Black, 20% are Latino, and 12% are white, though the percentage of the driving-age population is roughly the same.




Smoke from Canadian forest fires obscured the Chicago skyline Tuesday. Hazy conditions continue today, as officials urge Chicagoans to continue to protect themselves from the effects of Canadian wildfire smoke.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times



Artists work as admirers stroll by during Rogers Park’s “Artists of the Wall Festival” at Loyola Park Sunday. Every year, artists reserve a section of the seawall and paint new murals.

Matt Moore/Sun-Times

Over Juneteenth weekend, more than 140 murals went up at Loyola Park in Rogers Park, as part of the “Artists of the Wall Festival.”

The neighborhood has been hosting the event since 1993, which sees Chicagoans reserve and paint a section of the 600-foot seawall there. In the month before the event, organizers painted over last year’s murals to make way for a new set.

This year’s theme was “Stories of the Wall.”

As in years past, this year’s festival brought about a relaxed atmosphere, as artists worked on their slices of the wall and admirers strolled by the new pieces and others took it easy on the grass. It was a great opportunity for the community to get together, admire public art and enjoy the weather.

In one mural, a dog is seen wading into the water on the same beach the seawall faces.

“As college students, one thing we miss most is our dogs back at home. Coming to the beach and meeting neighborhood dogs has been really special,” artist Hannah Paschke, a junior at nearby Loyola University Chicago, told the Sun-Times. “Getting to play with a cute dog does miracles for all the stress of being a student and being on our own for the first time.”




The Cubs’ Christopher Morel signs baseballs before last Saturday’s game against the Cardinals in London. The two Midwest teams my have won over a few new baseball fans.

Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

‘I’m invested now’: English fans react to the Cubs and Cardinals’ London Series

Reporting by Maddie Lee

Londoners Chelsea Monteiro and Alfie and Emily Mae Ferris had never even watched baseball on television when they got their first taste of it Sunday at London Stadium.

“First game, first everything — we’re obsessed,” said Monteiro, 23. “We love it.”

They got free tickets for their group through work and thought it could be fun. They Googled the rules. They chose the Cubs to root for because they’d heard of the Bulls and thought, “Close enough.” Monteiro and Alfie stuck Cubs-themed eye-black stickers on their faces to show their support.

Not every member of the group the trio came with agreed. Some were bored with America’s favorite pastime. And, to be fair, last Sunday’s game wasn’t an example of baseball’s best. The Cubs and Cardinals battled the effects of a long flight and jet lag, and the bouncy and unfamiliar turf appeared to affect play quality more than it had the day before.

The two-game series, which the teams split, had implications for the standings and the trade deadline. But there were loftier goals for the game itself as MLB tries to establish a foothold in the United Kingdom. A combined 110,227 fans attended, according to official numbers — including a strong showing of Americans who made the trip. And expats had a taste of home to share with their British friends and family.

Edward Reney, 74, and Pete Smith, 71, had bonded over their love of baseball when they met over a decade ago. Reney was born in Massachusetts but moved to the U.K. in 1978, bringing his lifelong Red Sox fandom with him. Smith, a native Brit, fell in love with the Cubs while visiting his brother in Chicago in the 1980s.

“Ever since that day — that was back in ’85 — I was smitten,” he said. “I’m a Cubs fan through and through.”



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