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Mayor Brandon Johnson and interim Chicago Police Supt. Fred Waller

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, left, listens to Interim Police Superintendent Fred Waller, as they outline the city’s public safety plan May 25, 2023. Past allegations of domestic violence against Waller surfaced this week and a gender-based violence task force is seeking a meeting with the mayor.

Charles Rex Arbogast

The Rundown: Mayor Johnson will soon pick his police superintendent

Good afternoon! Today marks the 19th anniversary of the fateful day a Dave Matthews Band bus drove over the Chicago River. Here’s what else you need to know.

1. Mayor Brandon Johnson may soon announce the next leader of the Chicago Police Department

Mayor Brandon Johnson this week is expected to announce his pick for police superintendent, one of the most consequential decisions facing any mayor.

And all signs appear to be pointing toward Larry Snelling, chief of counterterrorism at the Chicago Police Department, my colleague Fran Spielman reports.

“Snelling … has been the safe choice — and the odds-on favorite — from the moment that the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability announced the names of the three finalists,” Spielman writes.

“That’s because police morale is at rock bottom, Johnson is determined to improve it, and Snelling has the best chance to reverse a mass exodus that has left the police department with 1,700 fewer officers than four years ago.”

The other finalists for police superintendent are Angel Novalez, the head of constitutional policing and reform at the Chicago Police Department, and Shon Barnes, the chief of police in Madison, Wis. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. A neighbor was charged in the fatal shooting of a 9-year-old girl who was playing outside

Nine-year-old Serabi Medina was enjoying ice cream with her dad Saturday night in front of their Portage Park apartment building when a gunshot rang out across the street, according to new details disclosed today by Cook County prosecutors.

The girl’s father immediately told her to take her scooter and go into the building, prosecutors say.

As Serabi stood in the vestibule, Michael Goodman crossed the street and headed straight toward her. The father shouted but Goodman ignored him, raising his arm and shooting Serabi in the head, prosecutors said.

Goodman has been charged with first-degree murder and was ordered held without bail.

Police initially reported that Serabi was 8 years old, but the Cook County medical examiner’s office later said she was 9. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. A gang war set in motion the daytime assassination of a Chicago rapper in a luxury shopping district, federal prosecutors say

The brazen killing of rapper FBG Duck, who was gunned down in 2020 as he shopped on Oak Street for his son’s birthday, was the result of a gang war fueled by the death of a female gang assassin, federal prosecutors say in a new court filing.

The assassin, Gakirah Barnes, was part of a faction of the Gangster Disciples when she was killed in 2014 by King Von, a local rapper and leader of a rival gang faction now known as O Block, prosecutors say.

King Von was shot to death in 2020 in Atlanta.

FBG Duck was affiliated with Barnes’s Gangster Disciples faction. A rival O Block member saw FBG Duck shopping in the Gold Coast and called his colleagues, who shot the rapper 16 times outside a Dolce & Gabbana fashion store, prosecutors say.

Six men have been charged in FBG Duck’s killing, and a trial is expected to begin in October. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. Metra took its board members on a $10,000 ride from Chicago to Joliet

High-level Metra officials boarded a train headed for Joliet in May for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting, a trip that cost at least $10,836, the Chicago Tribune reports.

A Metra spokesman said the trip was educational because it allowed board members to see areas where construction projects are planned or underway. And the meeting had already been scheduled to be held in Joliet, he said.

But Jackson Paller, a community lawyer at the Elmhurst-based organization Citizen Advocacy Center, questioned the price tag.

“If I was on that board, I would feel uneasy about spending $10,000 on one meeting where it doesn’t seem to me that the public benefit reaches that level,” he told the Tribune. [Chicago Tribune]

5. DJ Capser, the creator of the Cha-Cha Slide, dies at age 58

Remembrances are pouring in for DJ Casper, who died on Monday following a seven-year battle with cancer. [Chicago Sun-Times]

DJ Casper created the popular Cha-Cha Slide line dance in Chicago during the late ’90s as a step aerobics routine for his nephew, who worked as a personal trainer at Bally’s Total Fitness.

Chicago’s WGCI-FM radio station picked up the track in 2000 followed by Universal Records, and it eventually became an international sensation.

“Line dancing attracts me because when you go out to a party, you can actually do it by yourself,” DJ Capser told WBEZ’s Curious City in 2017.

“You don’t need a partner. You can get up and have fun if you feel like it. You don’t have to feel out of place because you have no one to dance with.” [Curious City]

Here’s what else is happening

  • President Joe Biden is designating a new national monument near the Grand Canyon, a move that permanently bans new uranium mining claims in the area. [NPR]
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis replaced his campaign manager as he seeks to reboot his presidential bid. [AP]
  • Voters in Ohio are considering a proposed constitutional change that could affect abortion rights in the state. [AP]
  • Magic: The Gathering cards are giving baseball cards a run for their money. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

The next couple days are looking great for the beach. But how well do you know Chicago’s lakefront?

My colleague John Silver created a quiz that tests whether you can identify the city’s beaches by only looking at a photo.

Sounds simple. Do you think you can ace it?

Fortunately no photos exist of me passing out at Kathy Osterman Beach and hardcore snoring in public. Sorry, fellow beachgoers! [Chicago Sun-Times]

Tell me something good ...

The new school year is quickly approaching. When I was in high school, right about now was when I’d start cracking open that required summer reading I’d been putting off for months.

But I’d like to know: What was one of your favorite books in high school?

Juliet Sorensen writes:

Jane Eyre wins the prize for perseverance in the face of adversity — even as she’s bullied, cast out and ostracized, her independent spirit never bows. I’ve read it at least six times since Mr. Bird assigned it to our English class, and never fail to be awed by the novel’s life lessons and stirring prose.”

Seán Thomas Kane writes:

“For me it’s a tie between The Count of Monte Cristo for all the adventure or reading Ovid’s hilarious Ars Amorita (The Art of Love) in the original language in my sophomore year Latin class. The choice of Ovid by our Latin teacher made the monsignor who was our school chaplain blush. Well done, him!”

And JT Malloy writes:

“A book that I still remember reading and I think about often was The Things They Carried. It was (even more so, now that I am 38 and have two boys of my own) crazy to me reading about these kids who were slightly older than I was being sent to die in Vietnam, and how they were just that — kids. Really put into perspective what things mattered to me, and even inspired an essay I still remember writing for my AP English class.”

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

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