Your NPR news source
CPD

Hundreds of police officers joined Chicago City Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Superintendent Eddie Johnson at the Aon Grand Ballroom on Navy Pier for the Chicago Police Departments graduation Ceremony for the Recruit Class of 18-7 and 18-8 on July 9, 2019. Manuel Martinez/WBEZ

Manuel Martinez

The Rundown: Chicago police created a new gang database

Hey there! It’s Hunter. I’m back and can’t stop thinking about how a Florida woman filed a 15-page class action lawsuit because it takes longer than expected to microwave mac and cheese. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. The Chicago Police Department created a new gang database. Will it be any better than the old one?

The launch of a new gang database was quietly delayed last month as officials from a new police oversight board raised concerns over whether the Chicago Police Department is essentially repeating mistakes from an earlier, controversial system, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

“People have been significantly harmed by this database,” said Anthony Driver, president of the interim Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability.

The civilian-led commission, one of the more substantial police reforms approved by the City Council in recent memory, is now conducting a review of the new database.

The news comes three years after City Hall’s top watchdog found the original gang database was a “disorganized mess of often unverified and outdated information,” reports my colleague Emmanuel Camarillo.

The top lawyer for the police department said the new system includes a higher standard for entering a person’s name into the database. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. A fight is brewing for control of the City Council that could show just how far to the left Chicago swings

A showdown appears to be emerging between self-proclaimed progressives and moderates who are aiming to make significant plays in some of the dozens of City Council seats up for grabs.

And whoever wins this fight could sway policies regardless of who is elected mayor.

A business-backed group is raising “well into seven figures” to support candidates who are “pragmatists rather than ideologues,” reports Crain’s Chicago Business. The currently unnamed group was created by Mike Ruemmler, who managed former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 campaign.

At the same time, the progressive United Working Families political group is aiming to expand its influence on the council, backing 18 candidates so far.

Among the areas where we may see this election battle playing out are the 5th, 6th, 33rd, 46th, 48th and 50th wards. [Crain’s]

3. The most dangerous bike lane in Chicago highlights flaws in how City Hall addresses cycling

Fifty crashes — three of them fatal — have been reported at a bike lane along Milwaukee Avenue since 2020, making it the most dangerous bike lane in the city and a symbol for how seriously city officials take sustainable transportation, reports Block Club Chicago.

“Milwaukee Avenue is the crown jewel of whatever Chicago’s cycling plan really is,” Mike Keating, a personal injury attorney who represents injured cyclists, told Block Club.

“Whatever Chicago chooses to do with Milwaukee Avenue reflects how serious the city really is about having bicycles be a critical part of the overall modern transportation scheme.”

A key problem for Chicago is … there’s no centralized plan for bike lanes, resulting in a patchwork approach that is “often dependent upon the vagaries of City Hall and the veto power of 50 aldermen,” Block Club reports. [Block Club Chicago]

4. Economists are more optimistic the U.S. can avoid a recession

I mean, personally I’m hoping they’re right after months of reading headlines about how we’re barreling toward an economic downturn following a pandemic and historic levels of inflation. Good times.

But the recession hasn’t arrived, companies are still hiring and key parts of the economy remain resilient, reports The Washington Post.

The international group Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development last week said a global recession could be avoided next year. And Goldman Sachs’s chief economist said there’s a 35% chance the U.S. economy will tank, far below other forecasts.

“The thinking is that growth will slow but remain positive; the labor market could avoid massive layoffs; wage growth could simmer down; and inflation could be on a path to more normal levels,” the Post reports. [WaPo]

5. San Francisco edges the nation closer to a RoboCop future

Officials in San Francisco this week are weighing whether to give law enforcement robots the OK to use deadly force, reports NPR. And, as you could have probably guessed, the idea has generated a heated debate.

“Once you’ve authorized this kind of use, it can be very hard to walk that back,” said Paul Scharre, who helped create the U.S. policy for autonomous weapons used in war.

This controversial idea comes amid broader and long-simmering questions about the use of military-grade equipment by cities. And in the background is an even more complicated question about how artificial intelligence should be used in society.

Supporters of giving robots the right to kill people say it helps keep cops safe. But critics say robots could kill or injure an innocent person. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Illinois’ bid to become an early Democratic primary state will likely be rejected this week. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Sixteen hockey players from St. Ignatius sued the truck driver who crashed into their team’s bus earlier this month. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Dozens of languages spoken in Chicago homes reflect the city’s wide-ranging diversity. [WBEZ]
  • Chicago’s overnight parking ban goes into effect Thursday. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Oh, and one more thing …

Today’s the day, my friends. I’ve waited all year for this bad boy to drop, and it’s finally here: the top 10 books of 2022, as determined by The New York Times.

Seriously, I read this list every year it comes out so I know what books to request for the holidays.

This year’s roundup includes a dystopian future where memories can be used as social media currency, a retelling of David Copperfield set in Appalachia and a nonfiction book about how animals sense the world. [NYT]

Tell me something good ...

What movies do you watch this time of year no matter how old you get, and why do you love them?

Frank Romano writes:

“I was 5 years old when I saw It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time. I watched it with my dad. He had a scotch and I had a bottle of Coke. It was on Christmas Eve and I got to stay up a little bit later. For the rest of his life, at some point during the week before Christmas, we would gather and watch it together. I went from Coke, to root beer, to beer, to single malt.

“A few years ago, my son, my father and I watched It’s a Wonderful Life together for the first time. My son was little and fell asleep during it. There was the three of us (Frank #3, Frank #4 and Frank #5) on my couch watching this movie that my dad loved.

“My dad passed away last year. My son and I sat on the couch last year and watched it together. I could sense my dad was with us.”

Feel free to email me, and your response might appear in the newsletter this week.

The Latest