Chicago cop gets 15 months in federal prison in multimillion-dollar sports gambling ring

CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in federal prison for his role as a top bookie in a multimillion-dollar sports gambling ring that allegedly included the now-pardoned brother of Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. In rejecting calls by Nicholas Stella’s attorney for a sentence of time served, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall said it was difficult to “estimate the damage to the public” that’s done when an officer thinks he is above the law. “It’s not just harmful to our sense of security within the city, but it’s harmful to all those good officers ...

Rural children are 3 times likelier to be treated for self-inflicted gunshot wounds than big-city youth, study shows

CHICAGO — Children and teens from rural areas are nearly 40% more likely to land in the emergency room for self-harm than their big-city counterparts, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. And when it comes to self-inflicted firearm injuries, the difference is even more pronounced. Rural youth in the study were three times more likely to be treated in the emergency room for self-inflicted gunshot wounds than their urban counterparts. “More attention needs to be given to youth mental health, including earlier diagnosis, and more resources need to be invested in rural ...

She went to jail after hallucinating a shooting at O'Hare Airport. Now she advocates for those with mental illness in the criminal justice system.

CHICAGO – When the hallucinations started, Olachi Tiffany Etoh says she could see stars raining into her hands. Then 24, college educated and working for a Fortune 500 company, she fled her office and began wandering streets on the city’s Northwest Side before winding up at O’Hare International Airport. Etoh had been battling mental health issues for years, somehow finding a way to function at a high level despite the relentless voices inside her head. This time, however, was different. While at O’Hare, she became completely untethered from reality and hallucinated that she was in the center o...

‘I feel like I’m half vaccinated’: Some who got Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are seeking booster shots as delta variant spreads, despite CDC guidance

CHICAGO – Earlier this year, Erkin Peksoz wanted a COVID-19 vaccine so badly that he drove 640 miles roundtrip from Chicago to Quincy to get a Johnson & Johnson shot. Peksoz was happy with that decision — until recently, when the more contagious delta variant of the virus emerged. Now, he’d like to get a shot of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, in hopes of increasing his protection. “Until delta, I was not worried at all,” said Peksoz, a consumer data consultant. “I feel like I’m half-vaccinated now.” In clinical trials before the delta variant began to spread, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was fo...

Chicago mayor offers $1 million in rewards for illegal gun tips: ‘I recognize that people are scared’

CHICAGO – Acknowledging that Chicago residents are “scared” because of high crime, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday the city is working on a $1 million reward program for people who report illegal guns. Lightfoot unveiled the plan at an unrelated news conference where she said the Chicago Police Department has taken more than 6,000 guns off the street this year. To address the problem, Lightfoot said, she will create a $1 million program through the police department’s tip line, though she said officials are still working through the details about when it’ll be active and how much the indivi...

Jussie Smollett to appear in court for hearing on his legal representation, but outside the public eye

CHICAGO – Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is expected back in Cook County court in person Wednesday for the first time in more than a year, but the hearing he is slated to attend will be conducted entirely away from public view. Judge James Linn is expected to hear testimony about whether one of Smollett’s would-be attorneys, Nenye Uche, has a conflict of interest that could disqualify him from representing the actor in his hot-button criminal case. The proceedings have been conducted with an unusual amount of secrecy. A slew of paperwork has been submitted directly to the judge and atto...

Chicago ride-share driver has seen some stuff and could tell you stories: ‘Your Driver Has Arrived’ by Nestor Gomez

Ever being redefined, the American Dream seems to have become more elusive and remote than ever. But then you talk to Nestor Gomez, and you realize that for many, it is alive and well. “I hope, and I really believe, that the American Dream is about more than just buying a house and having a lot of money.” Gomez is a storyteller, which is not the easiest way to earn a living, but it satisfies Gomez on many levels. It has enabled him to express himself at various storytelling events here and nationally, making him an important force of that scene, especially as the curator, producer and host of ...

In the post-pandemic office, on-site and virtual medical care may be the next big amenity

Primary care startup Eden Health plans to open clinics in seven Chicago offices by next year, in deals that indicate wellness is likely to remain a priority in office buildings well after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The New York-based company plans to open in four Chicago buildings owned by developer Sterling Bay, starting in 600 West Chicago and 111 N. Canal St. late this year, the companies said. The two buildings have a combined 7,500 employees, according to Sterling Bay. The companies said they are finalizing deals for two other ground-floor spaces: in the two-tower Prudential Plaza of...

Chicago mayor apologized after botched raid, but her administration continues to defend police's actions in incident

CHICAGO — In the days after a TV station aired disturbing video of police barging into Anjanette Young’s home and handcuffing her while she was naked, Mayor Lori Lightfoot emailed Law Department staff urging them to show more empathy to victims. “Damage has been done, confidence shattered and the disclosures over the week have caused anger, confusion, and hurt. This goes way beyond any single case because important trust has been lost. People are hurting,” Lightfoot wrote in the Dec. 17 email obtained through an open records request. “The challenges have been exacerbated by the Law Department’...

Organ transplant patients remain vulnerable as country struggles to reach herd immunity. ‘It’s an act of patriotism to get the vaccine’

CHICAGO –Even though she is fully vaccinated, Barbara Creed can’t yet visit her grandchildren in Texas. Creed is among thousands for whom the vaccine is less effective because she has received an organ transplant. The 67-year-old Oak Park, Illinois, resident has watched the state reopen with some trepidation, as mask mandates for the unvaccinated are on an honor system and the delta variant of the virus circulates in Illinois. People such as Creed with compromised immune systems rely on others to be vaccinated for full protection against the virus. But the country’s march toward herd immunity ...

2020′s difficulties fade, but Chicago homicides and shootings stay stubbornly elevated

CHICAGO – Little by little, Terrance Henderson sees the gains his violence-prevention workers have made in persuading rival gangs to stop shooting each other in a swath of Chicago’s Far South Side. But it’s a struggle. The group’s efforts in Roseland and West Pullman, two communities that have seen some of the city’s biggest jumps in shootings and killings so far in 2021, don’t always outpace the conflicts that erupt and spiral out of control. Last year was billed as an outlier for violence in Chicago as tensions flared during the pandemic and civil unrest followed the police killing of George...

Former federal prosecutor defends his own brother in murder case, but behavior works against him

CHICAGO — This much is more or less undisputed: In March 2013, Sanchez Mixon was beaten on a Green Line platform in broad daylight. It was a grisly attack, Cook County prosecutors have said. They allege Anthony Jackson knocked Mixon to the ground and stomped his head repeatedly while onlookers begged him to stop. All of it was captured on CTA surveillance footage. Mixon was pronounced dead less than an hour later. Anthony Jackson has long claimed self-defense, saying Mixon threatened him physically and verbally, and on the first day of his murder trial in 2015, his brother stepped in to help r...

At least 4 dead, 4 wounded in shooting at gathering, Chicago cops say

CHICAGO – Eight people were shot Tuesday morning at a gathering in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, with four believed dead at the scene and two others in critical condition, according to Chicago police, citing preliminary information. Officers were called to the 6200 block of South Morgan Street just after 5:40 a.m. for a report of multiple people shot, according to a police spokeswoman. As many as four people were dead at the scene, with four others taken to hospitals, two in critical condition and two others in unknown condition, according to preliminary police informatio...

Chemical fire large enough to appear on weather radar prompts evacuation in Illinois town

CHICAGO — A chemical fire large enough to be picked up by weather radar consumed an industrial fluid manufacturing plant Monday morning near Rockford and forced the evacuation of nearby homes and businesses, officials said. The Rockton Fire Protection District was dispatched to Chemtool Inc. in Rockton about 7 a.m. after receiving an alert for smoke in the building, fire Chief Kirk Wilson said. All employees were swiftly evacuated from the plant and no injuries have been reported among employees, Wilson said. A firefighter suffered minor injuries, he added. The chief said there were 70 employe...

Chicago police sergeant alleges commander posted officers on his own block during last year’s unrest

CHICAGO — A Chicago police sergeant has filed a complaint with the city’s inspector general alleging that during the early, tense days of last year’s civil unrest, a commander assigned her and a team of officers to a post on the Bridgeport block where he lives. Sgt. Cassandra Williams, a 30-year department member and 18-year sergeant, told the Chicago Tribune that Jason Brown, then an acting commander, asked her on June 2, 2020, to take a team to his block after a neighbor saw someone who appeared to be videotaping or photographing his home, which they perceived as a safety threat. Months late...

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