Half of Chicago fully vaccinated
As of July 20 fifty percent of Chicagoans are vaccinated, according to South Side Weekly‘s tracker on Twitter @ChiVaxBot. While we’re hopeful that Illinois and the rest of the country are overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic as more people are gradually getting the shots, the coronavirus variant known as Delta is still a concern for areas that have low rates of vaccination. Health officials are keeping an eye on a resurgence in the neighboring state of Missouri and thirteen counties in southern Illinois were recently given a warning level. Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the surge in Illinois is small and those who are vaccinated shouldn’t worry.
Hundreds of carjackings are stressing out many drivers in the South and West Sides and the county courts. A seventy-three-year-old vet, Keith Cooper, lost his life in Hyde Park when he was picking up his medications at a CVS on July 14. As two young men attempted to hijack his car, they struggled to turn it on, and in the process struck Cooper in the head and chest, his daughter Keinika Carlton wrote on Facebook. Services are being held for Cooper. The suspects, seventeen and eighteen years old, are being held without bail. News reports suggest that many car thefts don’t result in physical injury or death, but are nevertheless forceful or threatening and traumatizing. A BGA analysis found that over half of those arrested for carjacking in 2020 were teenagers, and there is a lack of effective programs to engage the minors charged.
CPD grossly unprepared for protests
Maggie Hickey, the independent monitor appointed to determine whether the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is complying with a 2019 court-ordered consent decree, released her office’s report on CPD’s response to last year’s protests against racism and police violence. The report was scathing: it detailed numerous incidents of brutality by police and found the department was totally unprepared for protests—but also concluded that even if it had anticipated the protests, CPD did not have “policies, reporting practices, training, equipment, data analysis, community engagement, or inter-agency coordination required to respond effectively.” In a response to the monitor’s findings, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul urged CPD to comply with the consent decree and added his office is “concerned… about emerging reports suggesting that CPD employed its 2020 Summer Operations Center (SOC) to surveil community groups on social media and collect intelligence about political demonstrations,” citing the Weekly’s reporting earlier this month that found the SOC—whose mandate was gun-violence prevention—monitored dozens of demonstrations last year.