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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Thursday, June 15, 2017.
Black Lives Matter Chicago and other civil rights and activist groups are suing the Chicago Police Department, arguing that only a federal judge can effectively oversee badly needed reforms in the police force, DNAinfo Chicago reports. Specifically, the activists want a federal judge to enforce a consent decree based on the reforms suggested in January's Department of Justice report, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel had originally committed to before his June 5 announcement that the city was instead seeking an independent monitor. The suit was filed on behalf of six plaintiffs who allege they were victims of excessive force and/or false arrest, and seeks restitution for them as well. "This is institutional racism. This is something that we need to dismantle," said Black Lives Matter activist Kofi Ademola at a Wednesday news conference. "We will continue to do everything in our power to make sure that this mayor is held accountable and that CPD no longer has a free pass in killing black people." At a separate news conference Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson said the force remains committed to new reforms. "I am making my commitment again today that we will not waver from this path," he said. "As we continue to implement these reforms, we'll make our city safer because we'll have better-trained, better-equipped officers and meaningful partnerships with the community." [DNAinfo Chicago]
Illinois congressman Rodney Davis of downstate Taylorville was up to bat and standing just yards away from the gunman who opened fire at a practice for the GOP's congressional baseball team Wednesday morning. "I heard a loud noise that I thought was a construction site dropping a large piece of metal," Davis told the Tribune. "And the next thing I heard was [someone] saying, 'Run, he's got a gun.' So that's exactly what I did." James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of downstate Belleville, a Bernie Sanders supporter and vehement critic of President Trump, allegedly targeted Republicans, shooting and wounding House majority whip Steve Scalise along with a congressional staffer and two police officers. Davis blames the shooting on hateful rhetoric dominating American politics and says Republicans and Democrats need to unite: "It's my breaking point, we have to stop this." The practice was for a charity game between the Democratic and Republican congressional teams, which, it was announced, will still be played tonight at Nationals Park, something Davis said he found heartening. [Tribune]
Chicago home owners should brace themselves for a 10 percent property tax increase, $360 on average, according to the Sun-Times. The increase will be reflected on the second installment of bills arriving later in June. It's the second year in a row that there's been a double-digit increase after Mayor Emanuel and the City Council approved tax hikes in 2015. "The City of Chicago increased its levy by $109 million this year as part of a planned four-year property tax increase which began last year," the tax report issued by Cook County clerk David Orr said. "Additionally, the State Legislature approved a $272 million [Chicago Public Schools] levy increase to pay for teachers' pensions which took effect this year." Commercial property taxes will also rise, by 9.3 percent on average after about a 10 percent increase last year. [Sun-Times]
Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar López Rivera told WBEZ that he'll be seeing Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in the Chicago staging of the megahit Broadway musical at a special performance during the last week of August. After former president Barack Obama commuted the former Armed Forces of National Liberation leader's prison sentence in January, Miranda tweeted that he was "sobbing with gratitude" and that it would be his "honor to play" the night Rivera attends. But spokesmen for Hamilton and Miranda couldn't confirm the actor's return to Chicago or the late August date. [WBEZ]
Illinois house and senate Republicans are offering a new "compromise" that they hope will end the nearly two-year-old state budget impasse. The list of seven measures picks up where the failed "grand compromise" that senate Democrats and Republicans were working on left off, according to state senator Karen McConnaguhay. House Republican leader Jim Durkin says the offer should "be viewed as a blueprint for what Republicans would require of Democrats in order to be willing to approve a tax hike to help balance the state's budget," according to the Tribune. [Tribune]
Matthias Merges, the longtime Charlie Trotter's chef now of Yusho and A-10, among others, is the next celebrity chef to serve food at Wrigley Field, from June 19 to July 9. The ballpark began serving kegged cocktails from Merges's Logan Square cocktail bar Billy Sunday last year. New offerings include Japanese-spiced fried chicken, Korean hot dogs, and spicy Asian pork rinds. Stephanie Izard was the first chef in the Cubs rotation of chefs; still to come are Jeff Mauro, Rick Bayless, and Graham Elliot. [Eater Chicago]