The Justice Issue

Notes from the 4/15/21 issue

Awash in police violence

As we write this, the Chicago Police Department is working twelve-hour shifts and city resources are on standby in anticipation of potential protests against the ongoing police murders of Black and brown people. On Tuesday evening, after two weeks with few answers and slow-moving developments, COPA showed bodycam footage of CPD killing thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo to his family. The agency initially declined to make the video public, saying in a press release that they left the decision whether to do so up to the family, but it has announced it will release the footage on Thursday. Across state lines, the killing of Daunte Wright by a Minnesota police officer has already resulted in the resignation of both the officer who pulled the trigger and the police chief. Meanwhile, the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd last May, sending outrage rippling across cities like Chicago last summer, is underway. The Kenosha officer who shot Jacob Blake will not face discipline. Dante Servin, who killed Rekia Boyd, continues to collect a pension. Amid all this, officials admonish the public to remain calm.

 

RIP Earl DMX Simmons

DMX, the Yonkers, NY rapper who became one of hip-hop’s best-selling artists, died last week at fifty-one. His breakout 1998 hit “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and distinctive lyrical style helped fill the void in hip-hop left by Tupac and Biggie, changing the genre forever. DMX frequented Chicago’s West Side and produced a tribute video for his good friend Kato, from Little Village, as the second part to the music video “Where the Hood At?”. In 2001 he performed outside of George’s Music Room in North Lawndale, and a few years ago linked up with Fred Hampton Jr. He released seven albums, was nominated for two Grammys, and acted in film and television—all while grappling in his personal life with the brutality and repression the War on Drugs brought to his doorstep. After his death, social media overflowed with touching anecdotes from fans and friends who shared endearing moments with the rapper, such as when he demanded to mop a Waffle House floor so a worker could have a break, danced delightedly backstage at a Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam concert, or was starstruck when meeting his hip-hop idol, Rakim. Last July, DMX left the world a final gift in the form of a Verzuz battle with Snoop Dogg. In his last interview, on the podcast Drink Champs in February, he said, “If I was to drop dead right now, my last thought would be ‘I’ve lived a good life.’” He was a GOAT. 

 

What’s going on with the vaccines

On April 19 all Chicago residents sixteen and older will be eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine; the Moderna vaccine remains restricted to persons eighteen and older, as is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though use of the latter has been temporarily suspended by city and state agencies following CDC and FDA guidance, after a handful of recipients developed blood clots six to thirteen days after receiving the one-dose vaccine. Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Alison Arwady noted in an April 13 WBEZ interview that the chances of having an adverse reaction from the Johnson & Johnson shot are extremely rare (so far just six cases have been reported nationwide, out of some 6.8 million vaccines administered), but should anyone who has received the shot develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath, they should seek immediate medical attention. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced the state will redirect an additional 50,000 doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to Chicago, though availability is still expected to be limited in the weeks to come, as eligibility opens up.

 

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