The Spin: Lightfoot says city ‘prepared’ for possible protests over Toledo video, Chauvin verdict | Biden aides eye Illinois for temporary migrant shelter | Pardoned by Trump, Casey Urlacher claims reelection victory as Mettawa mayor

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Lisa Donovan, Chicago Tribune
·9 min read
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot said over the weekend the city “will be prepared” for possible peaceful protests that could follow the eventual release of Chicago police body camera video that captured the deadly shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin who is charged with killing George Floyd.

Floyd’s killing last year has touched off a racial reckoning over police use of deadly force against Black and Latino residents in this country prompting demonstrations, unrest and calls for police reform.

Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiology expert from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, took the stand in the Chauvin trial today and underscored what another local physician and other prosecution witnesses have testified: Floyd died of low oxygen levels caused by the way he was held down by police.

The New York Times, meanwhile, reported over the weekend that the surge in young migrants at the United States’ southwestern border has put a strain on shelters across the country. President Joe Biden’s administration is now looking at temporary shelters including “a Navy boot camp in Illinois.”

Welcome to The Spin.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot: City ‘prepared’ if Chauvin verdict, release of Toledo video sparks protests

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was asked Saturday whether the city is preparing for possible protests or unrest after the release of police body camera footage of the March 29 police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Little Village. Lightfoot said the “the focus” of preparations had been on a verdict in the Chauvin trial.

“We have been starting preparations because of the Chauvin trial,” she said. “That’s really what our focus is.”

But in either case, Lightfoot said, she expects those who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights to follow in the “long tradition” of “peaceful protests.” The May 2020 police killing of Floyd sparked weeks of protests as well as unrest in communities across the nation, including Chicago.

“We will be prepared. We are prepared, we’ve been preparing for quite some time, but my hope is that people will embrace ... peaceful expressions, whatever their sentiment is regarding the Toledo case or the outcome of the Chauvin trial.”

The mayor made her comments at an event to tout Walgreens efforts in Chicago to vaccinate more than 10,000 residents with the help of churches, the Tribune’s Alice Yin reports.

Meantime, Northwestern University physician Dr. Jonathan Rich took the stand at the Chauvin trial today and testified, “I believe George Floyd’s death was absolutely preventable.” Asked how it could have been prevented, Rich said not restraining Floyd in the prone position would have been a start. “If that was not the case, I don’t think he would have died.”

Background: “Prosecutors say Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck as the 46-year-old Black man lay pinned to the pavement for 9½ minutes. Bystander video of Floyd crying ‘I can’t breathe!’ until he finally went limp sparked protests and scattered violence in Minneapolis and around the U.S.

“Chauvin’s attorney is expected to call his own medical experts to make the case that it was not the officer’s knee that killed Floyd. The defense has not said whether Chauvin will testify.”

Protesters clash with police in suburban Minneapolis where officer shot, killed motorist on Sunday, The Associated Press reports. The officer meant to grab her Taser, not her gun, police say.

Virginia officer accused of force in stop of Black Army officer fired, the AP reports here.

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City Hall: Aldermen move to condemn Illinois U.S. Rep. Mary Miller over ‘Hitler’ remark; Wall Street agency joins Lightfoot in criticizing bill Pritzker signed boosting Chicago firefighter pension benefits

From the Tribune’s John Byrne: Chicago aldermen on Monday moved to officially condemn a newly elected (Illinois) congresswoman who told an audience at a Washington, D.C., rally, “Hitler was right on one thing.”

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, a Republican who hails from Oakland in east central Illinois, made her remarks to a crowd a day before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The nonbinding resolution denounces Miller’s remarks as “a disgrace to the memories of those killed in the Holocaust and the millions of victims of World War II, an insult to the families of those who perished, and a discredit to the office of United States congresswoman and the great state of Illinois.”

Speaking in support of the City Council resolution on Monday, Far North Side Ald. Debra Silverstein, 50th, said the remarks were hugely offensive to the big Jewish population in her ward, where Holocaust survivors and residents who lost family members in Nazi concentration camps are part of the fabric of the neighborhoods. Silverstein, who is Jewish, noted that she herself lost great-aunts and great-uncles in the Holocaust. Full story here.

The resolution will be taken up by the full City Council at a meeting later this month.

Chicago alderman looks to block pet stores in the city from selling puppy mill dogs, Byrne writes in this story.

City Hall-related news: “An Italian American organization is calling on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration to restore a statue of Christopher Columbus to a Near Southwest Side park because of a decades-old agreement with the Chicago Park District,” The Tribune’s Byrne reports in another story. Read it here.

“Wall Street agency joins Lightfoot in bashing bill Pritzker signed boosting pension benefits for Chicago firefighters,” the Sun-Times Fran Spielman reports.

With permanent shelters for migrant children at capacity, Biden administration looking for temporary locations around the country, including Illinois Navy boot camp: report

The New York Times reported over the weekend that the Biden administration is coming under growing pressure to care for as many as 35,000 unaccompanied minors who are part of a wave of people crossing into the U.S. at the southwestern border.

“With the permanent shelters out of space, the administration is increasingly turning to temporary spaces that are more like hurricane shelters, with cots rather than beds and few of the more school-like services that the health department offers at its licensed facilities.”

“Mr. Biden’s aides are scouting additional locations, including a convention center in Long Beach, Calif., and a Navy boot camp in Illinois,” the Times reports in this story.

A White House spokesman referred inquiries to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the shelters. The federal agency has not responded to a request for comment. A spokesman for the boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes — likely what the New York Times was referencing — didn’t immediately return a call.

After Trump pardon Casey Urlacher, brother of former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, claims victory in north suburban mayor’s race

“Mettawa Mayor Casey Urlacher, waging a write-in campaign to keep his job, claimed victory over challenger Jess Ray Friday with 151 votes to Ray’s 105 as write-in tallies were posted on the Lake County clerk’s website.

“When votes were counted on election night Tuesday Ray, a former mayor and Urlacher’s predecessor, had 104 votes. No votes were shown for any write-in candidates at the time.”

Urlacher said: “These residents really rallied for me. It was a team effort. There were a lot of people working behind the scenes. I’m honored to be elected for another four years. I plan on doing a great job for them.”

Urlacher, brother of former Bears star Brian Urlacher, had opted out of running for reelection as he was drawn into a federal sports gambling case. After then-President Donald Trump pardoned him in January, he launched a write-in bid.

2022 Election: First-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who is making a bid for a second term next year, raised $1.8 million in the first three months of the year, her campaign team said today. The Hoffman Estates Democrat ended the first quarter with $3.7 million cash on hand. The campaign team touted that more than 9,000 Illinoisans contributed to her campaign, with 97% of all individual contributions under $100.

Chicago Public Library announces new, digitized collection of Mayor Harold Washington’s written speeches

The Chicago Public Library is expanding its Harold Washington Archives collection with a digitized collection of his written speeches. Few audio recording are left of the city’s first Black mayor, in office from 1983-87, who died during his second term. He would have turned 99 on Thursday.

“They provide insight into the daily goings on in Chicago during the so-called Council Wars era, but also found broader, national audiences as Washington traveled the country rallying Democrats to vote in the 1984 presidential election,” the library notes in a statement.

Information on Washington’s life can be found on the public library’s website along with the permanent exhibit dedicated to his life on the 9th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center in the Loop. To find out about more digital CPL events, please visit chipublib.org/events.

Mayor Lightfoot will be one of three mayors across the globe this week to talk with global health leaders about coming to the aid of residents most vulnerable to COVID-19, including equitable vaccine distribution. Lightfoot will be at the virtual table Thursday with Montevideo’s Carolina Cosse, Cape Town’s Dan Plato, along with World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg who is now WHO Global Health Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries and José Luis Castro, president and CEO of Vital Strategies.

It’s part of a speaker series tied to the Partnership for Healthy Cities, whose mission is to prevent noncommunicable diseases but has most recently focused on COVID-19 response. More here. Bloomberg Philanthropies, the WHO and Vital Strategies are all supporters of the “healthy cities” effort.

Thanks for reading The Spin, the Tribune’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons. Have a tip? Email host Lisa Donovan at ldonovan@chicagotribune.com .

Twitter @byldonovan