Tag: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Police Officer Convicted of Second-Degree Murder in Shooting of Laquan McDonald

(photo via aljazeera.com)

by Jaweed Kaleem via latimes.com

A jury has found white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 high-profile shooting death of a black 17-year-old, Laquan McDonald. He was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery.

The verdict marks the first time in five decades that a Chicago police officer has been found guilty of murder in a shooting.

The shooting led to widespread protests and political upheaval in the city, as many residents viewed it as a clear case of police abuse. Dashboard camera video, which a court forced the city to release in 2015, showed that McDonald was shot as he was walking away from Van Dyke and continued to be hit by bullets as he writhed on the ground. In all, Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times in less than 15 seconds.

The murder verdict, announced in a courtroom three miles from the site of the shooting, means Van Dyke will face between four and 20 years in prison. He could face additional time for aggravated battery.

The killing happened on Oct. 20, 2014, after police received reports that somebody was breaking into vehicles in a trucking yard. Officers began following McDonald, who had a 3-inch folding knife.

They radioed a request for an officer with a Taser, but Van Dyke fired before that officer arrived. Van Dyke was charged with murder, aggravated battery and official misconduct.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Van Dyke intended to kill the teen even though he was not a threat to Van Dyke’s life or that of other officers. Van Dyke and his lawyers argued the opposite: that McDonald seemed dangerous and had waved his knife at the officer even after falling to the ground.

Illinois law authorizes an officer to use deadly force when it’s “necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or such other person” or “necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape.”

The 12-member jury, which civil rights groups criticized for including only one black juror even though African Americans make up 31% of the city’s population, began deliberations on Thursday after three weeks of proceedings that included more than 40 witnesses.

Over the years, the case led to the resignations of a county prosecutor and the police superintendent as well as criticism of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said last month that he would not run for reelection.

The killing also led to an investigation of Chicago policing by the Department of Justice, which was released last year and found that officers routinely violated the civil rights of minorities and treated them as “animals or subhuman.”

Last year, two former and one current officer were charged in conspiring to cover up for Van Dyke after the shooting. Those officers will go to trial later in the year.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-jason-van-dyke-verdict-2018-story.html

‘Englewood Four’ to Receive $31 Million in Settlement of Chicago Wrongful Conviction Case

Harold Richardson, from left, Vincent Thames, Terrill Swift and Michael Saunders were convicted of a 1994 rape and murder but later were cleared. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)

by Fran Spielman via chicagosuntimes.com

Four Englewood teenagers coerced into confessing to a rape and murder they did not commit before being exonerated by DNA evidence will divide a $31 million settlement from Chicago taxpayers, one of the largest in the city’s history.

Michael Saunders, Vincent Thames, Harold Richardson and Terrill Swift were between 15 and 18 when they were arrested for the November 1994 murder of Nina Glover. An autopsy concluded that the 30-year-old prostitute had been strangled. Her naked body was discovered behind a liquor store at 1400 W. Garfield wrapped in a bloody sheet and stuffed in a dumpster.

In 2011, a judge overturned the conviction of the “Englewood Four,” freeing Richardson and Saunders after they spent 17 years behind bars. Swift and Thames, who served more than a dozen years, had already been released.

“These were four young men who no way possible they could have committed the crime they were manipulated and coerced into confessing to. They all spent . . . over a decade in prison for something they didn’t do. The number is very large and the magnitude of the injury is very large,” said attorney Locke Bowman, who represented Swift.

Bowman said the $31 million settlement would not have been possible if former assistant state’s attorney Terence Johnson hadn’t “broken ranks from the other law enforcement personnel” and provided a statement to the FBI that confirmed what the Englewood Four had long maintained.

“This was psychological coercion primarily in all four of the cases. They were tricked and coerced into confessing . . . They were fed the information. And they were the victims of police overreaching,” Bowman said Friday.

Continue reading “‘Englewood Four’ to Receive $31 Million in Settlement of Chicago Wrongful Conviction Case”

Chicago Mayor to Release Footage of Ronald Johnson Police Shooting

Ronald Johnson's mother Dorothy Holmes fights to have police video of her son's shooting released. (photo via CNN.com)
Ronald Johnson’s mother Dorothy Holmes fights to have police video of her son’s shooting released. (photo via CNN.com)

A year after backlash from the family and supporters of Ronald Johnson III, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced dash cam footage of the Chicago man’s fatal encounter with police in 2014 will be released next week.

Johnson, 25, was fatally shot by Officer George Hernandez eight days before the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The Chicago Tribune reports:

On the night he was killed, Johnson was in a car with friends when the vehicle’s back window was shot out by an unidentified gunman. Chicago police have said that Johnson, a known gang member, resisted arrest when officers responded to the call of shots fired and then ran.

During the chase, Hernandez, at the time a tactical officer in the Wentworth Police District, pulled up in an unmarked squad car and jumped out with his gun drawn, Oppenheimer said. The video, which Oppenheimer said he has seen many times, shows that within two seconds of getting out of his car, Hernandez fired five times at Johnson as he was still running away, striking him in the back of the knee and again in the back of the shoulder.

Autopsy results obtained by the Tribune show the fatal shot traveled through Johnson’s shoulder, severed his jugular vein and exited his eye socket.

Continue reading “Chicago Mayor to Release Footage of Ronald Johnson Police Shooting”

Chicago Wins Bid to Host Barack Obama Presidential Library

Martin Nesbitt, chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation, announced on Tuesday that the library would be built in Chicago’s South Side. (Credit: Joshua Lott for The New York Times)

CHICAGO — Maybe the Obamas will never return to live in Chicago after the presidency is over, their global celebrity pulling them toward New York or Los Angeles and away from the unpretentious Midwest. But Chicagoans will always have this: As it was formally announced on Tuesday, their city will be home to his presidential library.

“His journey began on the South Side and now we know that it will come full circle with his library coming home to the South Side of Chicago,” an elated Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Tuesday at a ceremony here, where the Barack Obama Presidential Center, which is to include the library, museum and space for the president’s foundation, will be built.

But as Chicago officially notched a victory over New York and Hawaii, which were also contenders, it immediately turned to the next question: Where, exactly, on the South Side will the library be built?

The Obama Foundation says it is still undecided on the location and will make the announcement in roughly the next six to nine months. Two parks near the University of Chicago’s campus on the South Side are being considered for the library: Washington Park, a 380-acre space that borders several neighborhoods, including Washington Park and Hyde Park; and Jackson Park, which hugs both the neighborhood of Woodlawn and Lake Michigan, and is the site of the Museum of Science and Industry, a golf course, soccer fields and a children’s hospital. The transfer of about 20 acres where the library could be built was approved in February by the Chicago Park District.

City officials have trumpeted the project’s potential to give the South Side a much-needed influx of tourism, new jobs and economic development. (Credit: Joshua Lott for The New York Times)

The library will be built in a partnership with the University of Chicago, where President Obama once taught law, and could open by 2020 or 2021.  Amid the triumphant announcement and buoyant speeches by civic leaders, there are still concerns being raised by some people about the permanent loss of valuable parkland in a highly populated part of the city.

Continue reading “Chicago Wins Bid to Host Barack Obama Presidential Library”

Jackie Robinson West All-Stars Gave Their All in Little League World Series Championship, Celebrated by Hometown Even in Defeat

Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West All-Stars  (Photo: TWITTER)

The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars are still the pride of Chicago, even after a tough loss to South Korea in the Little League World Series championship game. The Jackie Robinson West team put up a valiant fight, including a late rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, but in the end it was not enough to hold off the mighty bats and dominant pitching performance from the Seoul team, which handed the South Side Chicago sluggers an 8-4 loss.

According to the Associated Press, normal Sunday activities in Chicago were on hold for a few hours while the all-black Jackie Robinson West ballplayers, who “made their first appearance in 31 years in the Little League World Series” and had stolen the nation’s heart on their way to the championship game, took the field.

Several hundred supporters gathered at TV watch stations to root for the team, which, until the final game, had dominated all comers.

AP notes that despite the defeat, several fans gathered at the South Side community center gym and roared and cheered just as if their boys had won.  “They showed what heart they have. The city could not be prouder of them,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told AP.

Jackie Robinson West’s run was a nice break for an area that has been ravished by poverty and violence.

“I have never seen the community come together like this,” Eldridge Dockery, 44, told AP. “We’re usually behind our walls or gates—but this team brought us out, talking and celebrating together.”

According to news station WGN-TV, a parade is planned for the team on Wednesday.

Read more at the Associated Press and WGN-TV.

All-Black Team from Chicago Heads To Little League World Series

The Jackie Robinson West Little League Team. (Facebook/Little League Central Region)
The Jackie Robinson West Little League Team. (Facebook/Little League Central Region)

According to thegrio.com, an all-black little league team from Chicago has been invited to represent the Great Lakes region in the Little League World Series.

The Jackie Robinson West League, founded in 1971, and named after the iconic ball player, has helped to keep baseball accessible to underprivileged kids. The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars bring much-needed good vibes and a great deal of hope to the people of Chicago.  Even Mayor Emanuel noticed, saying, “The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars have excited an entire city with their dedication and athleticism, and everyone should have the chance to see a Chicago team play in the Little League World Series for the first time since 1983.”

“This is stuff of legends,” said renowned Cincinnati Reds player Barry Larkin on ESPN. Major League Baseball’s David James, a senior director of the Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities (RBI) program, knows all about the team’s story, and it delights him to see them return to the biggest stage in Little League. “All of us at MLB are talking about that team,” said James, a native of Williamsport and a former head of the Little League Urban Initiative. “It’s really good for the game.”

This year’s Jackie Robinson West team has come to the attention of Curtis Granderson, a Mets right fielder, who knows all about the hardship that the boys on this team face every single day, having grown up in Chicago’s south suburbs. Granderson began playing baseball in the Lynwood Little League.

“The cool thing is the way people talk about it,” Granderson reflected. “Like, ‘Wow, there is an all-black team out there; I didn’t know there was an all-black team playing.’ The fact that people don’t realize that there is a black team means that people are under the assumption that black kids aren’t playing baseball. Hopefully, this could be something that sheds light both in the African-American community and the non-African-American community.”

While diversity is often talked about and praised in baseball, the game’s costs have not stopped increasing and as a result have been beyond the wallets of a large and growing number of future players after Little League. The expense of playing, since teams who travel have become standard even prior to reaching high school, might extend to thousands of dollars each year. That is why there are programs to help inner-city areas maintain a team.

article edited by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Chicago To Name High School After President Obama

obama-rahm

CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama‘s hometown of Chicago plans to name a high school after him.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday announced plans to build Barack Obama College Preparatory High School. The selective enrollment high school will be open for the 2017-2018 school year. Chicago Public Schools says its enrollment will be 1,200 students.

Emanuel and school officials say Chicago needs more competitive selective enrollment schools. They say nearly 16,500 students applied for 3,200 seats this school year. The Obama school will be the 11th selective enrollment high school in Chicago.

School officials say the Obama school will open with a freshman class of 300 students. Subsequent grade levels will be added in following years.

Chicago Public Schools is the nation’s third-largest school district, with 400,000 students in 658 schools.

article by Associated Press via newsone.com

For the 5th Year in a Row, Chicago’s Urban Prep Academy Students Achieve 100 Percent College Acceptance

urban-prep-chicago-660

For the fifth year in a row, Chicago’s Urban Prep Academy has again achieved a 100 percent acceptance rate for its 2014 class.  This year, 240 students were accepted into four-year colleges and universities.  “I got into a lot of different schools but right now I’m thinking about four different choices,” student Keshawn Cathery said.

“I got into Georgetown University which I will be attending in the fall,” student Derrick Little said.

As part of an Urban Prep ritual, when seniors are admitted into college, they exchange their red uniform ties for a red and gold striped tie, a symbol of how hard they’ve worked.  “The tie represents to me moving on from a boy to becoming a young man and actually doing something with my life,” graduating senior Dumar Harris said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave the students a pep talk Tuesday, and NBA star Dwyane Wade donated $10,000 through his foundation to offset the cost of the student prom.

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But while students, staff and parents are celebrating the Class of 2014’s achievements, critics say the students in danger of not graduating never even make it to senior year.

“Urban Prep is not for everyone, and those students may leave us,” school founder and CEO Tim King, said. “But the fact that some students choose to leave us should not be used as a weapon against the students who have chosen to stay and have achieved this incredible accomplishment.”

Just ask Urban Prep alumni. The 2010 class the first to graduate from the school in 2010, and now they’re about to graduate from college.  “Being the first graduating class you see a lot of progression, you see a lot of downfall, but everything comes just together. If you keep striving for that one goal, no one can tell you no,” Urban Prep alumnus Paris Williams said.

To see video of this continually wonderful story, click here.

article by LeeAnn Trotter via nbcchicago.com

 

Desiree Rogers Appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Choose Chicago Board

Former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers pauses prior to a reception in honor of International Women's Day hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the East Room of the White House March 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. The reception honored women from around the world and their achievements. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers pauses prior to a reception in honor of International Women’s Day hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the East Room of the White House March 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. The reception honored women from around the world and their achievements. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

NBC Chicago – Desiree Rogers is adding another line to her resume.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel tapped the former White House social secretary to chair the board of Choose Chicago.

Rogers is currently the CEO of Ebony and Jet.  Choose Chicago is a marketing organization that works to lure businesses, tourists and conventions to the city.  Rogers takes over for Bruce Rauner, who is expected to run for Illinois governor on the Republican ticket.

Rogers and Emanuel worked together in the Obama White House during his time as chief of staff.  Click here to read more.

article by Marcus Riley via thegrio.com

Harold Washington’s Historic Mayoral Inauguration Celebrated in Chicago 30 Years Later

Harold Washington, mayor of the city of Chicago, on 12/14/86 in Chicago, Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

Harold Washington, mayor of the city of Chicago, on 12/14/86 in Chicago, Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

CHICAGO – As Chicagoans marked the 30thanniversary of its first African-American mayor, Harold Washington’s, inauguration on April 29, the effects of his rule and the movement that put him in office could still be felt across the country, although rarely celebrated or vaguely remembered on the façades of buildings in the city.

The son of a lawyer and Chicago precinct captain, Washington was essentially born into local politics. But even operating in a political climate harshly adverse to him, he had a strong commitment to fairness and affecting change for the good of all Chicagoans, from the inside out.

Before becoming mayor, Washington served in the Illinois legislature as a congressman and senator. After he unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 1977, a group of community organizers who were upset with the rule of then-mayor Jane Byrne asked him to run in 1983. He did so under two conditions: that the group registered 50,000 African-Americans to vote and raised $250,000 for his campaign.

All ethnic groups involved

“It was the first thing Chicago had ever seen like that before. You had all ethnic groups involved,” said Josie Childs, who worked within Washington’s campaign, administration and now leads a local campaign commemorating Washington’s legacy.

The grassroots effort registered more than 100,000 black voters and raised about half a million dollars for Washington’s campaign, “so it almost put Harold in a position that he couldn’t say no,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was part of both of Washington’s campaigns for mayor.

Continue reading “Harold Washington’s Historic Mayoral Inauguration Celebrated in Chicago 30 Years Later”