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Latest Updates: Lightfoot and FOP President on ‘Today,' Good Samaritan Speaks Out

Here's the latest from across the city and suburbs

Chicago's mayor and the city's Fraternal Order of Police president both share their views on police reform and what they think is preventing progress in the city.

Here's the latest from across the city and suburbs:

Lightfoot, FOP President Appear on 'Today Show' to Talk About Police Reform

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara appeared on the "Today Show" Thursday, both discussing their views on police reform.

Lightfoot had previously said she believed reforms were happening too slowly in Chicago, but when asked about the biggest obstacles, she cited the city's police union contracts and lack of community engagement.

"Certainly, police union contracts are a major impediment," she said. "I think, also, we haven't been bold enough in really bringing the community into the process of selection and training. And not just for new recruits but also for veteran officers."

Meanwhile, Catanzara said the word "reform" gives him pause.

"I don't like the word reform," he said. "I don't. Tweaking is a much better word because it's little minutiae stuff. But you know, I know some people think it's a bigger dynamic than what it is. It's semantics sometimes. But I think the one common ground we can come to agreement on is that we need to be a little more human as police. A little more sympathetic."

He acknowledged the need for more community outreach from officers.

Lightfoot maintained her stance opposing defunding of the police department and said she doesn't want to dismantle policing in the city the same way Camden, New Jersey, has done and Minneapolis is exploring.

"I think there are things that we need to do to respond to the moment, but dismantling our police force when we have neighborhoods that are under siege by gang violence, when we have drug hotspots that are lucrative and that people are literally willing to take someone else's life, that's not the answer in this time - not in Chicago," she said.

Lightfoot noted that many calls to "defund police" aren't asking to eliminate policing.

"There are some who say that, but what I hear in my city is 'Mayor, we need to invest in mental health, affordable housing, jobs. We need to invest in social services. We need to end life expectancy gaps, the absence of good quality healthcare in our neighborhoods," she said. "And to that I say amen. I agree. And the way we do that is we continue to make the kind of investments that this administration has made from day one. But what we don't do is make public safety a commodity that's only available for the wealthy. What we don't do is cut police officers so we undercut all the diversity efforts that we've made to make sure that our police department reflects the diversity of our city. It's not an either-or proposition."

Lightfoot also addressed the Chicago Board of Education's recent vote to keep police officers in public schools in the city.

"What I believe is letting local school council members - those are an elected body here in the city of Chicago, they're made of up of parents and other local stakeholders who really understand and know the conditions on a school-by-school basis - to me, that's where the decision has to lie," she said. "It's not for me, as mayor, or a member of City Council or a school board to usurp the authority of those local school councils and try to place our vision over theirs. They're living it every single day. They are in those schools. Their children are in those schools. They have the best interests of that school at heart. They need to be the decision makers on this question."

Good Samaritan Who Helped Protect South Loop Business Speaks Out

A young woman who put herself in harms way to protect a South Loop liquor store owner during looting late last month is telling her remarkable story for the first time, saying that she felt compelled to stand up for the man while looters ravaged his business.

Ceondra Porter, also known as “Cici,” was leaving a peaceful protest on that fateful night when she encountered a group of looters attacking the store. Quickly stepping into harms way, she stood in front of the door, imploring people not to enter the store.  

“I didn’t feel like I put my life on the line,” she said. “I was just protecting another human being.”

She stood guard for two hours in front of the store.

“I said ‘this is my store. I work here,’” she said.

Eventually the looters moved on and Porter, just as quietly as she’d stepped in front of the business, left the scene without giving even her last name to the store owner.

For weeks, the family wondered if they’d ever meet Porter, to thank her for doing what she did. Then, on Father’s Day weekend, that union finally happened.

Porter is a nursing student, and is currently working her way through school. After her heroic actions, she says that one simple thought motivated her.

“I didn’t want to see anybody get hurt,” she said.

Read the full story here.

Chicago Teen Takes Sweet Approach to Raising Money to End Racial Injustice

Sloane Demetriou is spending her time in quarantine in the kitchen.

The Lincoln Park teen is whipping up a favorite family sweet treat and selling it online, but her cookie dough is more than dessert. It's raising money to fight racial injustice.

"Each week I do a new flavor, as well as the most popular flavor from the prior week," said 13-year-old Sloane. "I wanted to help a charity. That was my main focus. I wanted to donate money."

All of the proceeds are going to a Chicago nonprofit organization called Black Girls Break Bread. It was created four years ago and focuses on the social, emotional wellness of Black women and girls throughout the Chicago area. They say Sloane's donation and all of the help they've received throughout the coronavirus pandemic is incredible.

Chicago Board of Ed Votes to Continue Police Contract With CPS

The Chicago Board of Education voted Wednesday to continue the public school district's contract with the Chicago Police Department, keeping officers in schools despite protests calling for their removal.

The board rejected a proposal to remove CPD officers from Chicago Public Schools by a 4-3 vote.

At the same time, demonstrators were shutting down streets in Chicago's Loop calling for an end to school resource officers.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has opposed ending the $33 million dollar contract, which would mean a blanket removal of all officers from schools.

A measure to remove them from schools failed to advance in City Council earlier this month. A group of aldermen introduced the ordinance as protests against police brutality continue across Chicago and around the world following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

CPS has said Local School Councils can review whether or not the individual schools want to keep officers in the schools, and that 72 of 93 high schools had officers, opting to retain them for the current academic year.

Officers in schools have received at least 2,354 complaints of misconduct, the ordinance said, alleging the police presence "creates dangerous conditions for students "that have led to the criminalization, mass incarceration, harassment, death, and heinous use of force against Brown and predominantly Black students."

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