The Spin: Lightfoot calls for new Chicago police foot-chase policy after teen killed | Pritzker signs bill opposed by Lightfoot boosting firefighter pensions | Preckwinkle to greet Vice President Kamala Harris at airport tomorrow

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Lisa Donovan, Chicago Tribune
·9 min read
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Tensions are high after Chicago police shot and killed a 13-year-old boy in the Little Village community last week, prompting Mayor Lori Lightfoot to call for an immediate change to the department’s foot-chase policy.

The mayor “also called for an investigation into how the boy came into possession of a gun, saying an adult gave a weapon to a child and must be held accountable,” my Tribune colleagues write. While authorities said the teen had a gun at the time of the encounter, the attorney for the family of the boy said relatives were surprised by that detail.

Vice President Kamala Harris will be in town tomorrow talking up Chicago’s equitable vaccine distribution, as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in the city and state. Details about the visit are trickling in, but given the fact she’s coming at the invitation of Lightfoot, it seems like they’ll be making some kind of appearance together. The mayor’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will be among the entourage to greet Harris at the airport. Gov. Pritzker’s team would only say he is “excited to welcome Vice President Harris to Illinois and looks forward to her visit.”

Today, the governor signed into law a bill expected to boost the pensions of some Chicago firefighters — a move opposed by Lightfoot who again today said the measure “would place an unnecessary financial burden on Chicago residents who can least afford it.”

It seems the differences between Lightfoot and Pritzker continue.

Monday’s bill signing comes days after Pritzker signed legislation expanding “the subjects over which the Chicago Teachers Union can bargain — and potentially strike — siding against Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the first of a series of key labor bills coming to his desk,” Crain’s Greg Hinz wrote on Friday. Earlier in the week, the governor turned up the heat on the mayor, questioning why she isn’t expanding vaccination eligibility to anyone 16 years and older on April 12 with the rest of the state — even after Lightfoot had said she was concerned about having the supply.

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Lightfoot, police superintendent call news conference as tensions rise over officer shooting, killing 13-year-old

The Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and Gregory Pratt write: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for a new foot-pursuit policy to be implemented by the Chicago Police Department before the start of summer after a cop shot and killed 13-year old Adam Toledo last week following a chase.

“On Monday, Lightfoot also called for an investigation into how the boy came into possession of a gun, saying an adult gave a weapon to a child and must be held accountable.”

Adam Toledo is one of the youngest people to be shot and killed by Chicago police in many years and questions loom about the deadly use of force: “CPD has said only that a gun was found near Toledo’s body,” the Sun-Times Fran Spielman and Frank Main write. “Neither police nor the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which is investigating the shooting, has said Toledo was holding the gun or aiming it at police when he was chased, shot and killed.”

It took days for police to publicly identify the teen, whom authorities said had no ID or mobile phone on him. Police also said a 21-year-old arrested at the time the teen was shot had given officers a phony name for Adam.

Today’s news conference was called to tamp down tensions ahead of the city’s eventual release of police video that captured the deadly shooting.

Important points: “A Chicago Tribune investigation in 2016 found that foot chases played a role in more than a third of the 235 police shooting cases in the city from 2010 through 2015 that ended with someone wounded or killed,” Gorner and Pratt remind. “In 2017, the Justice Department’s investigation into Chicago’s police practices noted that foot pursuits are ‘inherently dangerous and present substantial risks to officers and the public.’”

“In 2018, Lightfoot criticized the draft of a court-ordered consent decree the Chicago Police Department now finds itself under for saying a determination on whether a new policy was needed could wait until 2021,” Gorner and Pratt note. “Speaking Monday, Lightfoot said a foot-pursuit policy can’t be pushed off “for another day” though she didn’t address why she hadn’t prioritized the issue in the nearly two years since she became mayor.” Read more here.

“The Minneapolis police chief testified Monday that former Officer Derek Chauvin violated departmental policy in pinning his knee on George Floyd’s neck and keeping him down after Floyd had stopped resisting and was in distress,” The Associated Press reports. The top cop is among a line of law enforcement officers who have taken the witness stand at Chauvin’s murder trial. More here.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs firefighter pension bill Mayor Lori Lightfoot says could lead to higher property taxes

From the Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Gregory Pratt: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday signed a bill supporters say puts firefighter pensions in Chicago on par with suburban and downstate systems, while detractors led by Mayor Lori Lightfoot argue the changes will increase pension costs and could lead to property tax hikes.”

“The measure, approved in the Illinois Senate during the legislature’s January lame-duck session, does away with what its sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Robert Martwick of Chicago, called ‘one of the oddest quirks of pension law.’ ” More about that here.

“Lightfoot and business groups urged Pritzker to veto the bill, arguing that the cost to taxpayers would be too high,” Petrella and Pratt write, noting that the mayor sent a letter to members of City Council April 1 urging them to oppose the bill, saying it would double pension costs by $18-$30 million annually. She tweeted today that the measure would “place an unnecessary financial burden on Chicago residents who can least afford it.”

ALSO — FOIA for beginners: A state law guarantees access to public records, but it isn’t always that easy, the Tribune’s Courtney Kueppers reports. A look at how it works — and the frustrations.

A $25 million Illinois program is paying off student loans to encourage homeownership, and that’s drawing buyers to the state, the Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat reports.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweets that Chicago would welcome MLB All-Star Game

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is rolling out the welcome mat to Major League Baseball, tweeting that Chicago would be happy to host the “All-Star Game following the league’s decision to move the July 13 event out of Atlanta because of Georgia’s new law that has raised concerns about voting access,” the Tribune’s Jenny Whidden reports.

“Pritzker applauded MLB’s decision and pointed to legislation he signed Friday, which made secure ballot drop boxes and curbside voting permanent in Illinois,” Whidden writes.

House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch made a pitch for Wrigley Field on Twitter.

Whidden notes that “Tribune columnist Paul Sullivan wrote over the weekend that several teams have let MLB know of their interest in having the game, including the Cubs.” Read his piece here.

“The Cubs and Wrigley Field carry their own political baggage given the racist tweets of Ricketts family patriarch Joe Ricketts,” Whidden wrote. “Todd Ricketts, one of the siblings that owns the team, was a leading fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Another sibling, Laura Ricketts, is an outspoken progressive Democrat, and she and her brother Tom have supported protests against social injustice.”

Also: Mass vaccination centers open at Wrigley Field, Chicago State University, the Tribune’s Clare Proctor reports.

South Side Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell to join growing line of Democrats seeking Illinois secretary of state post

South Side Ald. Pat Dowell will officially join the line of Democrats either running or eyeing a bid for Illinois secretary of state, an office rich with patronage jobs and one of the few state agencies the public interacts with regularly, whether it’s to obtain a driver’s license, renew tags on license plates or register a business.

Earlier this year, Dowell told The Spin “I’m serious about my interest” in running for the statewide office, but was working with an exploratory committee to flesh out fundraising and other campaign goals.

She’s scheduled to make a formal announcement Wednesday.

Dowell told The Spin in early March that if she did run for secretary of state she’d build on Jesse White’s 22 years in the job by keeping on top of technology upgrades, particularly in the business licensing department, while studying whether annual renewal for license plate stickers is necessary or another schedule makes more sense.

White, 86, who has been in the post since 1999, making him the state’s longest serving secretary of state, announced he would not seek another term, the Tribune’s Rick Pearson reports here.

Dowell, 63, represents the 3rd Ward, which stretches from Chicago’s South Loop through Bronzeville and Back of the Yards, since 2007. She currently chairs the pivotal City Council Budget Committee which is grappling with the city’s strained finances.

She also was a city planner and deputy commissioner of neighborhood planning under former Mayors Harold Washington, Eugene Sawyer and Richard M. Daley.

Dowell joins a growing list of Democrats who’ve announced they’re contenders including former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, state Sen. Michael E. Hastings of Frankfort. Meantime, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia has all but thrown her hat in the ring while Chicago Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th, who considers White a mentor, has been mulling a bid.

Giannoulias outpaces rivals with seven-figure campaign haul thus far, the Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton reports.

Tuesday’s suburban elections feature controversial figures, strange party names and Flossmoor’s first woman as mayor

My Tribune colleagues report: “Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes in municipal elections, choosing mayors and village presidents in multiple Chicago suburbs.”

“Among the races to watch are Flossmoor, which will elect a woman as mayor for the first time in its 100-year history, and north suburban Mettawa, where, Casey Urlacher, the brother of former Chicago Bears star Brian Urlacher, is running for reelection as a write-in candidate months after then-President Donald Trump pardoned him in January of federal sports gambling charges.” Dig into all the details here.

Officials expect weather to contribute to strong turnout for Tuesday’s 345 Lake County municipal election contests, Steve Sadin writes for the Lake County News-Sun.

Be sure to follow our website for the latest election news and get the latest results here.

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