<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2019 https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago https://www.nbcchicago.com en-usSun, 20 Jan 2019 09:31:05 -0600Sun, 20 Jan 2019 09:31:05 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Lake Effect Snow Descends as Wind Chills Could Drop Below Zero]]> Sun, 20 Jan 2019 09:00:07 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/snow+image+1-19.jpg

Lake effect snow and a subzero wind chill swept through northeast Illinois’ Lake Michigan shoreline Saturday evening, with 2 to 5 inches of snow predicted in the Chicago area by Sunday morning.

Partly sunny skies and chilly temperatures welcome the start of the week, as lake effect snow works its way into NW Indiana. Temperature highs are expected to top the mid-teens, while overnight lows will likely remain in single digits.

Wind Chills are likely to be at or below zero through the Sunday evening hours.

According to the National Weather Service, frostbite and hypothermia could be a danger for those not properly dressed after less than an hour of exposure, the weather service warned.

A winter weather advisory was set for Cook County between 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday, the weather service said. Drivers, if unable to stay home, were advised to slow down, use low beams and allow for extra travel time.

Wind gusts between 30 and 35 mph were expected into Sunday morning near Lake Michigan, resulting in snow drifting into open areas, the weather service said.

A lakeshore flood warning was in effect until 9 a.m. Sunday, with waves in Lake Michigan possibly reaching 10 feet, the weather service said. People were warned to stay away from piers, jetties and the bike path.

Chicago’s first winter storm of the year pushed through the area Friday night, causing more than 1,000 flight cancellations and totaling about 5 inches of snow at O’Hare and Midway airports.

The snow was responsible for a United Airlines flight skidding off a runway at O’Hare, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

By Saturday evening, O’Hare Airport reported 1,044 flight cancellations and Midway reported 86 cancellations, the Chicago Department of Aviation said.

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<![CDATA[Limo Driver Okay After Vehicle Plunges Into Fox River]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 20:59:38 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Limo+into+Fox+River+-+CV+purchased+by+WMAQ+-+00001911_35306159.jpg

A limo driver is okay after his vehicle careened into the Fox River in suburban Algonquin on Saturday, police said.

According to authorities, the limousine slid into the river along River Road on Saturday afternoon. The driver, who was the only occupant of the vehicle at the time of the incident, was able to get himself out of the water, and was assessed by paramedics.

He refused further treatment, police said.

Slippery road conditions along River Road are being blamed for the accident, according to police.

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Photo Credit: Captured News]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Chicagoland Animals Enjoy Snow Fun]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 20:57:39 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Nanook+April+Siegfried+1-19.jpg We asked for pictures of your pets and furry friends playing in the snow, and you delivered!

Photo Credit: April Siegfried]]>
<![CDATA[Inmate Who Was Accidentally Released From Jail Found]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 18:57:49 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Kankakee+Inmate+1-19.png

Police say that an inmate accidentally released from a jail in suburban Kankakee County has been located. 

According to police, 41-year-old Aneees Ahmed Usmani was found in Chicago's Lincolnwood neighborhood on Saturday evening. Deputy U.S. Marshalls and FBI agents located him 24 hours after he was released from the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee. 

Authorities say that Usmani was released in place of another inmate by mistake. Usmani was being held on drug-related charges, and got a ride to a Kankakee business after he was released. 

"We are continuing to investigate the incident to determine what mistakes were made and why," Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey said. "We are extremely appreciative to all of the local police agencies, the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, as well as the community-at-large, for assisting us in the search for Usmani." 

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Police say the inmate has no history of weapons offense, but had encouraged the public to be cautious if they spotted him. 

<![CDATA[Lake Effect Snow Set to Move Into Area Overnight]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 19:22:45 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/2855704b-2135-41a8-915c-abb940b225a2.jpeg

Snowflakes may have stopped falling in the Chicago-area this afternoon, but a hard-hitting blast of lake effect snow could impact the city and suburbs in the overnight hours.

 According to the latest forecasts available to NBC Chicago, portions of Northeast Illinois could see heavy snow beginning in the late evening hours and into Sunday morning. Moderate-to-heavy snow could fall at times, and it could impact visibility and travel conditions in the overnight hours.

High winds, gusting as high as 30 to 35 MPH, could also create the potential for blowing and drifting snow on roadways.

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Heading into Sunday morning, portions of Northwest Indiana, especially in Lake and Porter counties, will be hard hit by the snow, with anywhere from two to six inches of additional snow possible on top of what has already fallen in those counties.

A Winter Weather Advisory will take effect at 8 p.m. in the counties impacted by the extra snowfall, and the National Weather Service is advising motorists to reduce their speed and to allow themselves extra travel time as the snow hits the area.

Photo Credit: Smith Culberson]]>
<![CDATA[Latest Snow Totals Across the Chicago Area]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 16:02:36 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Kennet+Square+Snow+Ruler+Snow+Total+Snow+Generic.jpg

Across the Chicago area, residents woke up to measurable snow Saturday morning. And though some locations had far more than others, several hours of snowfall were still left. 

A Winter Storm Warning remained in effect for much of the Chicago area through the morning and afternoon hours.

Here's a look at some of the latest snowfall totals across the area as of Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service: 

Cook County

Chicago (Southeast) 4.7 inches 

Evanston 6.5 inches 

Lansing: 3.5 inches 

Midway Airport: 5.3 inches 

Morton Grove 5.0 inches

Mount Prospect 5.5 inches 

Oak Frest: 6.5 inches 

O'Hare Airport 5 inches 

Palatine 8.5 inches

Schaumburg 6.7 inches

DeKalb County

DeKalb 7.9 inches

DuPage County

Downers Grove 5.0 inches

DuPage 6 inches 

York Center: 4.1 inches 

Kane County

Batavia 5.2 inches

Elburn 6.9 inches 

Elgin 6.5 inches

Lake County

Buffalo Grove 7.9 inches

Gurnee 7.9 inches

Highland Park 8.8 inches

Lake Zurich 7.1 inches

Libertyville 8.5 inches

Lindenhurst: 7 inches 

Mundelein 7.5 inches

Volo 5.8 inches

Waukegan 9.1 inches 

McHenry County

Algonquin 8.0 inches

Bull Valley: 5.5 inches 

McHenry 8.0 inches

Wonder Lake: 7 inches 

Woodstock 5.7 inches

Will County

Joliet: 4.3 inches 

Mokena: 4.8 inches 

Peotone: 4 inches 

Plainfield 3.3 inches

Romeoville 4.1 inches

Photo Credit: Anna Brewer
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<![CDATA[More Than 1,100 Flights Canceled at Chicago Airports ]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:03:23 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-462670228.png

More than 1,100 Chicago flight cancellations have been reported due to a snowstorm as of Saturday afternoon.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, at least 1,040 flights have already been canceled at O’Hare International Airport, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Delays have risen throughout the day, clocking in at 59 minutes on average at this time. 

In addition, Midway International Airport reports at least 86 flight cancelations, but delays there are shorter than O'Hare. 

Parts of the Chicago area woke up to more than 8 inches of snow Saturday morning as a winter storm continued to barrel down on northern Illinois.

Travellers are advised to check on their flight status before heading to the airport.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cardinals Blast Bryant as 'Loser' After St. Louis Comments]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 15:26:18 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/krisbryant.jpg

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant turned some heads with his comments about St. Louis on Friday night at the annual Cubs Convention, but apparently the Cardinals aren’t laughing about the remarks.

During an interview with former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, Bryant said that St. Louis was “boring” and that it was a “rough” place to play in.

“Who would want to play in St. Louis? Boring. So boring,” he said. “I always get asked ‘where would you like to play? Where would you not like to play?’ St. Louis is on the list of places I don’t like to play. It is rough.”

The comments did not sit well with several Cardinals players, including long-time catcher Yadier Molina, who said only “stupid players and losers” make comments like the one Bryant did.

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“All-stars, elite players, and leaders of their teams do not speak bad about any city,” Molina’s Instagram post said. “There should be respect and you should play and compete with respect. Only stupid players and losers make comments like the ones made by Bryant and Dempster.”

Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna also weighed in, blasting the Cubs in a comment on Molina’s post.

“From outside, they speak and talk like a tiger, but at the end they’re gonna be like a little cat,” he said.

Just for the sake of transparency, the Cubs have finished ahead of the Cardinals in the standings in each of the last three seasons, and were the team responsible for eliminating the Cardinals from the playoffs in 2015.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Epstein Insists Cubs Have Improved in Offseason]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 21:24:17 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-612437348.jpg

It was a bit more of a subdued crowd than usual at Cubs Convention this weekend, as fans wait to see whether the team will have the flexibility needed to make moves after a disappointing ending to the 2018 season.

The Cubs, who won 95 games but lost a divisional tiebreaker to the Milwaukee Brewers and the National League Wild Card Game against the Colorado Rockies, have made scant few moves over the offseason, and Cubs President Theo Epstein has taken heat from fans that have wanted to see more changes made.

“I promise fans this is the hardest I’ve ever worked in an offseason,” he said. “The results in terms of adding players aren’t there, but I think we’ve done a lot of good work behind the scenes to get better and to put our best foot forward.”

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The Cubs have added infielder Daniel Descalso to their roster, and also opted to keep pitcher Cole Hamels by picking up his 2019 option. Outside of those moves however, the Cubs have been content to let their current players improve next season as a way to get better, but Epstein says he understands why some fans may not be on board with that strategy.

“I completely get it from a fan standpoint,” he said. “There are a lot of questions out there, and I actually appreciate that, just to have fans who are passionate about baseball and winning as we are. Even if the tone isn’t always what you want to hear, it’s coming from the right place. It reflects the fact that standards have been raised around here quite a bit.”

Those fan concerns have only been intensified by the fact that other clubs have made moves. The Cincinnati Reds acquired Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and are also reportedly interested in acquiring starting pitcher Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees.

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The St. Louis Cardinals have also been busy, signing reliever Andrew Miller and trading for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“We thought of it as the toughest division in baseball last year, and it’s clearly gotten stronger,” Epstein said. “Most divisions have one team you look forward to playing, and ours is going to be really challenging from top to bottom. Whoever wins this division will have accomplished something.”

Despite the Cubs’ seeming lack of moves, Epstein sought to reassure fans that the team has made progress in getting better, no matter what the transaction log says on MLB.com.  

“I understand the way things look like from the outside during the winter,” he said. “You can’t go out and win games in the winter. All we can do is adding players, and we haven’t added as many players as we normally have, but behind the scenes, there’s a lot we’ve done.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Honor Wade With Touching Video]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 19:31:33 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/uspresswire-heat-dwyane-wade.jpg

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade played in his final game at the United Center on Saturday night, and the Chicago Bulls honored him with a touching video. 

Wade, a Chicago-native, is retiring from the NBA at the conclusion of this season, and the team honored him by highlighting his charitable works in the city, as well as for the season that he spent with the team during the 2016-17 campaign: 

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Wade has had some great games against the Bulls, averaging 20.3 points per game in 49 appearances against Chicago. 

When asked where he ranked himself among the best players to hail from Chicago, Wade paid tribute to another legendary player. 

"When people have asked me who I think the best player who was born and raised in Chicago, I always go with Isiah Thomas," he said. 

Wade checked into Saturday's game against the Bulls as a reserve, and received a raucous ovation from the crowd at the arena. 

Photo Credit: CSNPhilly.com
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<![CDATA[Winter Weather Advisory Issued]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 19:23:03 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lisa+snow+pic.jpg

The Chicagoland area has already had to deal with plenty of snow this weekend, but more is on the way as the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory. 

A Winter Weather Advisory is scheduled to take effect in Lake and Cook counties in Illinois from 8 p.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday. Lake County in Indiana will also be impacted by the new advisory. 

Lake-effect snow, which will be heavy at times, is expected to blanket the area with an additional 2-to-5 inches of snow in Northeast Illinois, and could dump even more in Northwest Indiana on Sunday morning. 

Slippery road conditions are expected, and high winds blowing in off Lake Michigan could also cause poor visibility and snow drifting as well. 

A Lake Shore Flood Advisory has also been issued for the impacted counties, as higher-than-normal waves are expected on Lake Michigan as the snow system develops. 

The National Weather Service warns that "travel could be very difficult" during the system. 

A widespread snow system moved through the area late Friday and early Saturday, dumping up to eight inches of snow in some locations. 

Lake effect showers will keep the snow going overnight for counties closer to the lake, which would have a major impact on snow totals. 

We will continue to update our forecasts as the system develops. Check back for the latest information.

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<![CDATA[3 Dead, at Least 9 Injured in Shootings Across Chicago]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 18:03:14 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-6278902641.jpg

Three people were killed within a 90-minute span on Saturday morning, and at least nine others have been injured in gun violence so far this weekend in the city of Chicago.

Just after midnight on Saturday morning, officers responded to a call of shots fired in the 1800 block of West 87th Street, and when they arrived on the scene, they found a man lying in an alley with a gunshot wound to his head.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, and police are still investigating the shooting.

An hour later, a 19-year-old woman was shot to death in the 2100 block of South Rockwell, police said. The woman was sitting in a car at a red light when a person in a dark-colored sedan opened fire, striking her multiple times in the head.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, and the driver of the car, a 22-year-old man, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in stable condition with a gunshot wound to his left arm.

Police are still looking for suspects in the shooting.

Just a half an hour after that shooting, another person was killed in the 3900 block of West Roscoe. Witnesses say they heard an argument in the hallway of a building and then heard gunfire, prompting them to call police.

When authorities arrived, they discovered a woman in the hallway with a gunshot wound to her head. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and police are still searching for a suspect.

Just after 6 p.m. on Friday evening, a 30-year-old man was in the 6400 block of North Campbell when a person walked up to him with a gun and demanded his possessions, police said.

The victim then tried to grab the gun from the offender, who shot him several times in the leg before fleeing into an alley.

The victim was taken to St. Francis in stable condition, and police are still looking for the attempted robber.


  • A 28-year-old man was on the street in the 1500 block of South Drake at approximately 3:25 p.m. when a dark blue sedan pulled up and an occupant opened fire. The man was shot in the lower left leg and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition, police said.
  • A 48-year-old man was shot during an attempted robbery in the 100 block of North Parkside at approximately 5:30 p.m., police said. When the victim was approached by the gunman, he knocked the gun out of his hands, but it fired when it hit the ground. The victim was struck in the foot, and was taken to West Suburban Hospital in stable condition.


  • A total of four people were injured when someone opened fire during a fight in the 4400 block of West Madison. All four victims, a 44-year-old man, a 26-year-old woman, a 28-year-old woman, and a 35-year-old woman, were taken to Stroger Hospital, where they are all in stable condition, police said.
  • A 25-year-old man is in critical condition after he was shot in the 400 block of North Harding, police said. At approximately 2:35 a.m., the man was standing on a sidewalk when two men walked up to him and opened fire, striking him in the left shoulder and both legs. The man was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition.

Photo Credit: P_Wei/Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago-Bound United Plane Slides Off O’Hare’s Runway ]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:36:29 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/464651541-united-airlines-generic.jpg

Amidst hundreds of Chicago flight cancellations due to a snowstorm, a plane with about 129 passengers onboard flying in from Phoenix slid off O’Hare’s runway Saturday morning, according to CFD officials.

A Chicago-bound United Airlines plane flying in from Phoenix slid off O’Hare’s runway Saturday morning and into the grass area, CFD said.

About 129 passengers were onboard and though no injuries were reported, authorities said, all were deplaned onto busses.

"The Chicago Department of Aviation and our partners at the Chicago Fire Department responded immediately to an incident involving a plane that exited the runway at O'Hare International Airport," read a United Airlines statement. 

"Runway 4R/22L conditions have been operational with aircraft landing safely and without incident this morning, and had just received a conditions inspection at 11am (30 minutes prior to the incident)."

Passengers said the landing appeared to be normal, then suddenly things took a turn for the worse. 

"It was like any other landing, but then there was a bit of jerking, and all of the sudden we looked out the window and there was kind of a snowdrift that we had gone into," passenger Ashley Packer said. 

Parts of the Chicago area woke up to more than 8 inches of snow Saturday morning as a winter storm continued to barrel down on northern Illinois.

Travellers are advised to check on their flight status before heading to the airport.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Winter Storm Continues for Chicago Area]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 14:45:38 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lisa+snow+pic.jpg

Parts of the Chicago area were waking up to more than 8 inches of snow Saturday morning as a winter storm continued to barrel down on northern Illinois -- with snowfall still left to go in some areas.

A Winter Weather Advisory is scheduled to take effect in Lake and Cook counties from 8 p.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday.

A warning was previously in effect for Cook, Lake, DuPage, Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb and Kane, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy, Will and Kankakee counties in Illinois, as well as Lake and Porter counties in Indiana, until 12 p.m. CST Saturday. A warning in Newton, Jasper and Benton counties in Indiana continues until 3 p.m. CST Saturday.

LaPorte County in Indiana is under a Winter Storm Warning through 1 p.m. CST. 

"A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency," the National Weather Service said in a statement connected with the storm warning.

The National Weather Service warns that "travel could be very difficult" during the system. 

A widespread snow system was forecast to continue throughout the day Saturday, dumping potentially several inches of snow before coming to an end for some locations.

The steady snow should taper off during the afternoon hours Saturday for much of the metro area and in the evening for northwest Indiana. 

The real factor that continues to hover over snow total projections is an expected band of lake effect snow

Lake effect showers keep the snow going overnight for counties closer to the lake, which would have a major impact on snow totals. If the lake effect system develops on the Chicago side of Lake Michigan and shifts east into northwest Indiana, it could bring several inches of additional accumulation to those areas before coming to an end Sunday afternoon and evening. 

We will continue to update our forecasts as the system develops. Check back for the latest information.

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<![CDATA[Your Photos of the January Snowstorm Across Chicago]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 21:47:38 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/daniela+4.JPG Viewer photos show the scene as a snowstorm hit the Chicago area on Jan. 19. ]]> <![CDATA[Eight @ 8: Week In Review]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 13:47:36 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/eightat8thumb3.JPG Take a look at this weeks' 'Eight @ 8: Week In Review' and make sure to check back on a weekly basis as a new edition will be posted every Saturday morning.]]> <![CDATA[City of Chicago Bands Together to Deal With Snow]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 18:03:53 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/web_-_city_of_chicago_deals_with_snow.jpg

Just like it always does, the city of Chicago dealt with Saturday's snowstorm by coming together and working hard. NBC 5's Patrick Fazio has the story.

<![CDATA[Wade Suits Up in Chicago for Last Time in NBA Career]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:27:25 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-10555749762.jpg

Barring an unforeseen trade, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade will play in Chicago for the final time in his NBA career on Saturday night as his team takes on the Bulls at the United Center.

Wade, who will retire at the end of the current season, was born in Chicago in 1982, and got to play in the city for one season back in the 2016-17 campaign.

The Heat did not host a shootaround in Chicago on Saturday, but Bulls players did warm up prior to the contest, and they had nothing but good things to say about the famous guard.

“I think he’s going to get a great (ovation),” Robin Lopez said. “He deserves it. He deserves a loud, raucous ovation.”

Wade has been a Bulls killer in his career, averaging 20.3 points and 4.9 assists per game against Chicago. Saturday will be his 50th game against Chicago, and he will be hoping to guide his Heat team to a win over the scuffling Bulls squad.

Tip-off between the Bulls and Heat will take place at 7 p.m., and the game can be seen on WGN.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bryant, Schwarber 'Floss' at Cubs Convention]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:18:09 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/IMG_05012.JPG

The Chicago Cubs are hosting their annual fan convention this weekend, but judging by their dance skills, players like Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant should probably stick to baseball.

The players, who were participating in a kids-only press conference, were joined on stage by 11-year-old Riley Nolan and 9-year-old Lukas Scholz, who got the players to “floss” as part of the event:

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“It’s not as easy as it looks!” the Cubs tweeted.

The children are both receiving treatment at Advocate Children’s Hospital, and they were invited onto stage to spend time with both Bryant and Schwarber, as well as Javier Baez and David Bote.

Photo Credit: Advocate Children's Hospital
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<![CDATA[Crawford Participates in Drills at Blackhawks Practice]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 15:40:51 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1076347724.jpg

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made a surprise appearance at the team’s practice Saturday, doing drills on the ice for the first time since suffering a concussion earlier this season.

Crawford, who suffered the concussion after hitting his head on the goal post during a Dec. 16 game against the San Jose Sharks, was only on the ice for around 20 minutes according to reporters, but did take shots and chatted with teammates while participating in several on-ice drills.

Despite the seeming progress that Crawford is making in his recovery from his injury, head coach Jeremy Colliton cautioned reporters and fans not to get too optimistic too quickly.

“(It was) positive that he was out there, but I’m not sure that it means a ton,” he said. “Hopefully he continues to feel better.”

 Goaltender Cam Ward told the Chicago Sun-Times that Crawford “looks awesome,” but also sounded a cautious note when talking about the goaltender’s return.

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“He’s the only one that can really tell you how he really feels,” he said. “But I think it’s definitely positive and encouraging to see him around the guys and see him upbeat and in a good mood.”

The Blackhawks will next take the ice on Sunday morning when they play the Washington Capitals. Puck drop is slated for 11:30 a.m., and the game will air on NBC Chicago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Snow Makes for Tough Travel Across Chicago Area]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 08:02:10 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Stormchaser+Kelly+Dashcam+6A+Live+Aux+34+-+06052210_35303813.jpg

Footage from NBC 5's StormChaser5 shows the scene as a winter storm hits the Chicago area. 

<![CDATA[Timeline: What to Expect and When With Upcoming Winter Storm]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 14:17:32 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/web+weather+-+07494323_35293942.jpg The Chicago area is bracing for a winter storm that could dump several inches of snow across northern Illinois and northwest Indiana. Here's a breakdown of the forecast so far and how much snow could fall in the approaching system.]]> <![CDATA[Cold Temps Expected to Follow Heavy Snow in Area]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:52:39 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+cold+generic.jpg

While much of the area’s attention is on the heavy snowfall that is coming this weekend, a mass of cold air will move in behind the storm, bringing dangerously frigid temperatures to the area for the start of the new week.

The cold air will start to move into the area Saturday night and into Sunday morning, with a low temperature of 10 degrees currently forecasted for the Chicago-area. On Sunday, the mercury will barely move, getting up to a high in the high-teens before dropping back into the single digits in the overnight hours.

Wind chills are expected to drop below zero over the weekend as gusty winds remain in the area after snowfall ends.

Things will warm slightly on Monday as cold air hangs around, bringing temperatures into the low-to-mid 20’s, but the unseasonable cold will stick around into the week, as Wednesday and Thursday will see high temperatures in the low 20’s.

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Looking at the extended forecast, the area could see even colder temperatures next weekend, as temps in the mid-to-high teens are expected.

With cold weather in the forecast, Cook County has announced that it will open warming centers throughout the region to give residents a place to stay safe during the cold snap. A full list of those sites can be found on the county website, and on NBC Chicago.

In addition, the Illinois Department of Transportation will deploy extra salt trucks and plows throughout the weekend to clear snow from roadways and to help deal with icing on road surfaces, but the agency also encourages drivers to avoid unnecessary travel, and if you have to drive, slow down and increase your distance between vehicles.

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The department also offered these tips to deal with the cold:

-Fill up your gas tank and pack winter weather essentials such as a cellphone charger, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, washer fluid, and an ice scraper.

-Use extra caution in areas susceptible to ice, including ramps, bridges, curves, and shady areas.

-If you are involved in a crash, remain inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle near a busy roadway can have fatal consequences.

-Give plows plenty of room and don’t pass unnecessarily.

For all the latest information on the wintry weather, you can track the storm with the NBC 5 Storm Team via our mobile app or NBCChicago.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Illinois Transit Agencies Prepare for Winter Storm]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 14:54:00 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/year_snowplow_chicago_snowroads.jpg

Agencies from across the area are preparing for severe weather as heavy snow and high winds will begin to impact the region this weekend.

The snowstorm, which could dump anywhere from four to eight inches of snow, or possibly more, across the area has already forced some cancellations as agencies prepare for the rough weather.

Amtrak canceled train service from Chicago to the East Coast on two different lines, as service on the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited lines will not be active on Saturday.

Other services could be impacted, but the rail agency says commuters and travellers should keep an eye on the service’s website for more details.

Locally, Metra and South Shore lines will both proceed as scheduled his weekend, the agencies announced, but said that delays are possible, and that commuters should be careful on train platforms and in parking lots as the storm rolls through.

“Crews will be working continuously to minimize the severe weather impact, but some train delays may be possible,” the agency said in a statement.

Metra says that any disruptions in service will be posted to the agency’s mobile app and sent out on social media pages.

For those taking to the roads this weekend, the Illinois State Police and Department of Transportation are both urging motorists to postpone unnecessary travel. The state police say that they assisted over 1,200 motorists during a snowstorm last weekend, and responded to nearly 400 traffic crashes during that time.

If you must travel, ISP and IDOT make the following recommendations:

-Move over and slow down for emergency vehicles and snowplows

-Dress warmly, and dress in layers.

-Ensure you keep plenty of gas in your tank in case you become stranded.

-Watch out for black ice, especially in intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and shady areas.

-Put together an emergency car kit that contains jumper cables, a flashlight, an ice scraper, blankets, gloves, food, water, and a first-aid kit.

<![CDATA[Hundreds of Flights Already Canceled at Chicago Airports]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:20:57 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Flights_Canceled_at_South_Florida_Airports_From_Weather.jpg

As a winter storm approaches the Chicago-area, both local airports are already canceling hundreds of flights.

At O’Hare International Airport, nearly 200 flights have already been canceled, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Delays are still minimal, clocking in at under 15 minutes on average, but a total of 199 flights have already been canceled ahead of the storm.

It’s a similar story at Midway International Airport, as 109 flights have already been grounded because of the impending storm.

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This weekend’s snowfall could dump between four and eight inches of snow on the city, and totals could go even higher as lake-effect snow is expected to impact the area as the weekend goes along.

Travellers are advised to check on their flight status before heading to the airport.

<![CDATA[Blagojevich Tweets About Husband After Van Dyke Sentence]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:52:30 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16222563741814.jpg

Just minutes after former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months in prison for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, former Illinois First Lady Patti Blagojevich made a pointed appeal for leniency to President Donald Trump.

Blagojevich, whose husband Rod Blagojevich is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for soliciting bribes while he was in office, took to Twitter to contrast his sentence with that of Van Dyke:

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“I am speechless,” she said. “An unarmed 17 year old is dead and the sentence is less than half of my husband’s sentence for discussions with his staff and attorneys about political fundraising.”

Blagojevich also tagged the president in the tweet.

Patti Blagojevich has been lobbying the president to grant her husband clemency or to pardon him after numerous appeals to reduce his sentence have failed. The president has indicated that he would consider commuting Blagojevich, having done so shortly after pardoning commentator Dinesh D’Souza in 2018.

Since then, Blagojevich has repeatedly appeared on Fox News in an effort to raise awareness for her husband’s case and to try to convince the president to act.

Photo Credit: Tae-Gyun Kim/AP
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<![CDATA[Mueller Disputes Buzzfeed Story on Cohen Testimony]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:49:46 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/1066356176-Michael-Cohen.jpg

Special counsel Robert Mueller's office issued a rare public statement Friday night that disputes a BuzzFeed News report that President Donald Trump had directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, NBC News reported.

BuzzFeed News on Thursday evening reported that Cohen told special counsel Robert Mueller the president personally instructed him to lie to Congressional investigators in order to minimize links between Trump and his Moscow building project, citing two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter. The report also alleged that Cohen was directed to give a false impression that the project had ended before it actually did.

NBC News has not independently confirmed this report.

On Friday evening, a full day after the story appeared, the special counsel's office issued a statement.

"BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate," the statement said.

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA['Victory' to 'Tragedy': Van Dyke Sentence Reaction Varies]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:48:46 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/VAN+DYKE+VERDICT+ADAMS+-+00092013_35301200.jpg

Mixed reaction poured in Friday after Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to six years and nine months in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

"I want to say to everyone, everyone in the city of Chicago and across this country, that if they had sentenced him to one minute, it is a victory,” said McDonald’s great uncle Marvin Hunter. “It is a victory because what has happened in this courtroom today has never happened in the history of this county, and it sets a precedent and it sends a strong message to unjust police officers that now you can and will go to jail if you're caught lying, if you're caught breaking the law."

However, Marvin also called for legislative change so police officers will be "convicted properly ... just like any other citizen in the state of Illinois and in this country." He said it was also a “sad day in America” because “this man has clearly committed murder.”

"We are being treated like second-class citizens here in the city of Chicago," he said, adding the sentence "reduced Laquan McDonald's life to a second-class citizen."

Van Dyke's defense, calling the case "emotionally draining," said they are "happy with the sentence." "We certainly wanted probation," said attorney Dan Herbert.

Herbert said Van Dyke "truly felt great" after learning his sentence.

"It was the first time I've seen the guy, honestly since this whole ordeal started, where he was happy," Herbert said. "He's certianly not happy about jail, he's certainly not happy about missing his family, he's happy about the prospect of life ahead of him."

Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon said the case was a “tragedy” from the beginning.

"We know that no sentence will bring back Laquan McDonald or undo the hurt to his family and friends,” McMahon said. “Just like no sentence will fix the concerns of the African-American community in this city, cities like Aurora, cities like Elgin and Rockford and across this country."

Activist William Calloway, who was instrumental in the revelation of the video of McDonald’s death, said he was “devastated” by the sentence.

“We're heartbroken, but we're not deterred, we're not giving up,” he said. “We don't agree with the judge's ruling at all. We feel that what Jason Van Dyke did when shooting Laquan 16 times, he deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

“He got 81 months,” he added. “That's a slap in the face to us and a slap on the wrist to him.

As Van Dyke’s family left the courthouse, demonstrators could be heard shouting “no justice, no peace.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson released a statement observing the end of the lengthy legal procedure—but saying little about the sentencing itself.

“Today’s sentencing marks the end of a court case, but our work to bring lasting reform to the Chicago Police Department continues,” Emanuel and Johnson said in a joint statement. “While a jury and judge have rendered their decisions, all of us who love Chicago and call this city home must continue to work together, listen to each other, and repair relationships that will make Chicago safer and stronger for generations to come.”

Other mayoral candidates were quick to issue statements as well--including former police Supt. Garry McCarthy. He said the diversity of American should make its citizens stronger, not pull them apart.

"We must stop the polarization that exists in this city if we are to move forward," said. "We must view each other as human beings, not by our skin color, race, national origin, gender, age, occupation, sexual orientation, language, religion, or political affiliation. We need to come together as a society."

Susana Mendoza also issued a statement.

"While a historic step forward was taken when a jury convicted Jason Van Dyke of the murder of Laquan McDonald, today’s lenient sentence did not fit the severity of the crime,” Mendoza said. “The fact is that our prisons are populated with individuals serving longer sentences for much lesser crimes. While many are justifiably disappointed with this sentence, this has nonetheless sent a message to police officers that if they break the law, there will be consequences. As mayor, I will work tirelessly to rebuild the broken trust between police and our communities to heal our city. Today is just a start. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Gery Chico said the loss of a child is the worst burden a parent can ever bear and wished peace on the McDonald family. He said the judge’s sentence was “far too light for this crime.”

“Now, we as leaders of this city, have a responsibility to ensure we lead Chicago to be a more just and fair city to all of our citizens,” Chico said. “It is up to us to usher in new criminal justice reforms, world class police training, community policing, and vastly expanded social services. As mayor, I will fight my heart out every single day to achieve these objectives, and I will bring an absolute commitment to implementing the U.S. Justice Department's consent decree.”

Amara Enyia said a “unique sympathy and bias” is evident when police are put through Chicago’s justice system.

“Jason Van Dyke murdered Laquan McDonald in cold blood and will face no more than 81 months in prison -- barely a slap on the wrist for a crime that took the life of a child,” Enyia said. “Today’s sentence makes it even more difficult to make the case that our city is truly invested in repairing relations with the community when our justice system seems to exhibit a perpetual disregard for the voices and opinions of those very communities.”

Mayoral candidate and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the justice system failed “all of our Black and Brown communities” as well as Laquan McDonald.

“Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who shot Laquan sixteen times to death, was sentenced to just 81 months in prison, with legal experts saying he will likely only serve three years. This sentence does not reflect the severity of the crime committed or the senseless loss of a young life,” Preckwinkle said. “The sentence comes just a day after the three officers accused of conspiracy in covering up Laquan’s murder were acquitted of all charges. With so many members of our Black and Brown communities criminalized and jailed for non-violent drug offenses, Van Dyke’s sentence today shows that our lives don’t matter.”

She said law enforcement needs to be held accountable or Chicago will not be able to “move forward.”

“The two sentences this week show the bias, lack of equity and police code of silence in our criminal justice system,” Preckwinkle said. “My heart goes out to Laquan’s family and the activists whose tireless efforts have helped to expose the injustice of our system.”

Bill Daley also noted the strained relationship between law enforcement and the public it serves.

“The jury clearly found Jason Van Dyke guilty of multiple crimes. The court has an obligation to sentence him in a way that is consistent with other defendants,” Daley said. “The appearance of a lenient sentence is a problem at a time when we desperately need to rebuild trust between people and police. We must learn from these situations and work together to repair the relationship between the police and the communities they serve.”

Lori Lightfoot said she was saddened and frustrated by the sentence.

"Judge Gaughan’s sentence of 81 months for the murder of Laquan McDonald is a supreme disappointment," Lightfoot said. "While the judge gave a long oration on technical legal points, he failed to explain and justify this low sentence. Unfortunately, the lack of explanation will only fuel the perception and reality that police officers who commit crimes on duty, even murder, will not be held to the same standards as other defendants. We must continue our city’s long history of peaceful protest—protest that brought this case to light in the first place—as we continue to fight for justice."

<![CDATA[Bears Add Coach Townsend to Pagano's Staff]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:23:46 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-454956674.jpg

New Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has his first assistant coach, as Deshea Townsend has been named as the team’s defensive backs coach.

Townsend spent the 2018 season as an assistant DB’s coach for the New York Giants, and replaces Ed Donatell, who left the Bears to become Vic Fangio’s defensive coordinator in Denver.

Townsend has coached at both the professional and collegiate level, working with the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans before arriving in New York with the Giants.

The Bears also announced that they have hired Ronell Williams as a defensive quality control coach. He spent the last two seasons as a defensive analyst at Temple.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[In Landmark Decision, Van Dyke Sentenced to Nearly 7 Years]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 19:15:32 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/Van+Dyke+Sentencing+Pool+530PM+-+17293916_35301111.jpg

Jason Van Dyke — wearing a yellow prison jumpsuit, his hair disheveled and beard grown out — sat stoic as a judge sentenced the former Chicago police officer to nearly seven years in prison for the shooting death of black teen Laquan McDonald. 

After eight hours of emotional testimony Friday, including from Van Dyke himself, Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke to 81 months in prison, with two years mandatory before being considered for probation.

"It is just so senseless that these acts occurred," Gaughan said. 

It was a sentencing hearing that captured the attention of the nation, putting an exclamation point on what has been a years-long saga for Chicago.

Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in a trial last year, faced anywhere from probation to more than 96 years in prison as both sides spent hours arguing their positions Friday.

In his final plea before his sentence, Van Dyke stood before Gaughan calling the shooting "the worst day of my life." 

"No one wants to take someone's life, even in defense of their own," he said. 

Gaughan, in his decision, ruled that the case fell under the "one act, one crime" doctrine, choosing to only sentence Van Dyke for second-degree murder and not the 16 counts of aggravated battery. 

Van Dyke stared only at the judge as his fate was broadcast to the nation. Just moments after learning his fate, he was whisked out of the packed courtroom. 

His defense team had requested the judge only sentence Van Dyke for second-degree murder, seeking the minimum sentence of probation.

The prosecution argued the "one crime, one act" doctrine would require the judge to sentence Van Dyke on the more serious criminal act, which they believed was aggravated battery. 

Van Dyke was convicted on Oct. 5 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the fatal shooting of McDonald. The long-awaited verdict came almost exactly four years after Van Dyke shot 17-year-old McDonald 16 times on the city's Southwest Side.

Dashcam video showing the shooting shook the city and the nation, sparking massive protests and calls for justice.

The Friday hearing saw witnesses who previously filed complaints against Van Dyke testifying that he allegedly made racist remarks to them and used excessive force.

McDonald's great uncle took the stand to read a victim-impact statement to the judge.

"I am unable to speak with my own voice .... because [Jason Van Dyke] decided to become judge, jury and the executioner," the statement read. 

In Van Dyke's defense were fellow officers and family members, including his wife and daughter. 

Seventeen-year-old Kaylee Van Dyke testified that she has been bullied and teased at school as her father's case took on national attention.

"If I do sleep, it’s because I cry myself to sleep wondering why my dad was targeted," she said. "There is not a day that goes by that I am not proud of him. He does not deserve to sit behind bars for protecting the city of Chicago. Bring my dad home please." 

His wife Tiffany Van Dyke begged the judge for mercy on her husband, saying her "life has been a nightmare."

"My biggest fear is that somebody would kill him [in jail], for something that he did as a police officer," she said. "There was no malice, no hatred that night. It was simply a man doing his job."

Through tears, Tiffany Van Dyke said her husband "has paid the ultimate price. His life is over. Please, please. He has paid the price already. ... My heart and soul are broken."

As the hearing came to an end, special prosecutor Joseph McMahon said the case "from the beginning has been a tragedy."

"We know that no sentence will bring back Laquan McDonald or undo the hurt to his family and friends, just like no sentence will fix the concerns of the African-American community in this city, cities like Aurora, cities like Elgin and Rockford and across this country," he said.

Community activists, many of whom called for Van Dyke to be sentenced to 96 years, said they were "heartbroken" and "devastated" by the 81-month sentence.

"We don't agree with the judge's ruling at all," said activist William Calloway, who had fought to get the video of McDonald's shooting released. "We feel that what Jason Van Dyke did when shooting Laquan 16 times, he deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars."

Still, McDonald's family called for calm in the city following the decision.

"I want to say to everyone, everyone in the city of Chicago and across this country, that if they had sentenced him to one minute, it is a victory," Hunter said. "It is a victory because what has happened in this courtroom today has never happened in the history of this country, and it sets a precedent and it sends a strong message to unjust police officers that now you can and will go to jail if you're caught lying, if you're caught breaking the law."

Van Dyke's defense, calling the case "emotionally draining," said they are "happy with the sentence."

"We certainly wanted probation," said attorney Dan Herbert. 

Herbert said Van Dyke "truly felt great" after learning his sentence.

"It was the first time I've seen the guy, honestly since this whole ordeal started, where he was happy," Herbert said. "He's certainly not happy about jail; he's certainly not happy about missing his family. He's happy about the prospect of life ahead of him." 

<![CDATA[Van Dyke Sentenced to 81 Months in Laquan McDonald Shooting]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 19:33:53 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/van+dyke+sentencing+-+09121822_35293677.jpg

BREAKING: A judge has sentenced Jason Van Dyke to 81 months for his conviction in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. Judge Vincent Gaughan's sentence translates to a sentence of nearly seven years in jail. He says Van Dyke must serve a minimum of two years in prison, before considering probation.

A sentencing hearing for Jason Van Dyke began Friday, more than three months after the former Chicago officer was convicted in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in a trial last year, faces anywhere from probation to more than 96 years in prison as both sides state their positions in a court filing this week.

His defense team has argued the case falls under a "one crime, one act" doctrine, which states that he can only be sentenced for one charge since they each fall under the same criminal act.

They requested the judge only sentence Van Dyke for second-degree murder, which could pave a way for the minimum sentence of probation.

The prosecution has argued the "one crime, one act" doctrine would require the judge to sentence Van Dyke on the more serious criminal act, which they say is aggravated battery. This charge does not have probation as an option.

In their court filing, defense attorneys requested that if the judge sentences Van Dyke for second-degree murder, he give the ex-officer probation. Should the judge sentence Van Dyke on charges of aggravated battery, the defense asked for the "minimum statutory term of imprisonment required," which would mean six years.

Prosecutors are seeking a six-year sentence for each of the 16 counts of aggravated battery Van Dyke was convicted of in October. That marks a total of 96 years.

However, the prosecution noted that in court Van Dyke's defense presented evidence that only two of the 16 shots fired were fatal. Should the judge decide to sentence Van Dyke on only those charges, they have asked for six years for each "triggering offense" and an additional six years for the remaining 14 counts. That would make for a minimum sentence of 18 years.

Van Dyke is set to be sentenced by Judge Vincent Gaughan Friday following a years-long saga in the case.

Van Dyke was convicted on Oct. 5 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the fatal shooting of McDonald. The long-awaited verdict came almost exactly four years after Van Dyke shot 17-year-old McDonald 16 times on the city's Southwest Side.

Dashcam video showing the shooting shook the city and the nation, sparking massive protests and calls for justice.

Follow along live from the courtroom above and below.

5:29 p.m.: Immediately following the judge's sentence and recess, Van Dyke was led out of the courtroom.

5:28 p.m.: Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been sentenced 81 months to for his conviction of second-degree murder in the killing of Laquan McDonald. Judge Gaughan's sentence translates to a sentence of nearly seven years in jail. He says Van Dyke must serve a minimum of two years in prison, before considering probation.

5:26 p.m.: Judge Gaughan says: "Is it more serious that Laquan McDonald be shot by a firearm, or be murdered by a firearm?" Therefore he says he will sentence Van Dyke on second-degree murder.

5:26 p.m.: Actually, says Judge Gaughan, the sentencing guidelines for both convictions overlap, and he cites several previous Illinois cases in which both convictions were considered.

5:23 p.m.: Judge Gaughan notes that second-degree murder recently had its sentencing guidelines increased, to allow for more years in jail. "You have to analyze the individual case," he says.

5:21 p.m.: He points out that the jury in this case had to first decide that Jason Van Dyke was guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of first degree murder. Then they could consider mitigating circumstances that would later reduce the conviction to second-degree murder.

5:20 p.m.: Judge Gaughan begins his decision, talking about which count he will be considering, in his sentencing of Jason Van Dyke.

5:19 p.m.: "There is no constitutional right to disrupt the court," Judge Gaughan says. "This is going national on TV. We're going to let them see how outstanding the individual citizens of this city are."

5:18 p.m.: Court is back in session now. Once again, Judge Gaughan is panning the audience with the television camera, to record everyone there, in case of any kind of disruption.

5:18 p.m.: Meanwhile, people in the overflow continue to monitor weather reports to see what they'll be facing, once they leave the Cook County Criminal Courts building after the sentencing.

5:16 p.m.: It is expected that -- once Judge Vincent Gaughan reconvenes his courtroom -- he will first announce which of the two convictions (second-degree murder versus aggravated battery) he has decided to rule on, and then he will pronounce his sentence.

5:10 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke told the court that he prays daily for the soul of Laquan McDonald. The audio transmission during Van Dyke's closing statement was a bit muffled, but that appeared to be the only mention of McDonald's name, in Van Dyke's prepared remarks to the judge.

5:09 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke continues to read his written statement: "No one wants to take someone's life, even in defense of their own." Then Van Dyke sits down, and the judge calls a "short recess."

5:09 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke, in his statement to the court, describes the McDonald shooting as the "worst day of [his] life." He is reading his statement directly from a piece of paper, not looking up.

5:08 p.m.: O'Brien concludes by appealing to the judge, once again, for a minimum sentence. Now the judge offers Van Dyke the opportunity to make a statement, and he agrees.

5:07 p.m.: "Prison is a terrible place for anybody to go," Darren O'Brien says. "But it's doubly or triply or quadruplely terrible for a police officer."

5:06 p.m.: "The imprisonment of the defendant would entail excessive hardship," on Jason Van Dyke's family, O'Brien argues, and he asks the court to consider all ttestimony about Van Dyke's character, from friends and family, as well as the commendations Van Dyke received in his career.

5:05 p.m.: "Those [mitigating] factors scream out for probation in this case," attorney O'Brien tells Judge Vincent Gaughan.

5:04 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's attorney Darren O'Brien argues that the officer was "responding to a call for help," on the night of Laquan McDonald's shooting -- an example, he says, of a police officer running towards danger instead of away -- which he maintains is a mitigating factor.

5:02 p.m.: Attorney Darren O'Brien argues that "Mr. Van Dyke was not the aggressor," in the shooting of Laquan McDonald. "Mr. Van Dyke did not start" the confrontation with McDonald that night.

5:00 p.m.: Now Darren O'Brien, one of Jason Van Dyke's attorneys, is arguing that their client should be sentenced on his conviction of second-degree murder (which includes the possibility of a sentence of probation only).

4:58 p.m.: "The shooting of Laquan McDonald sixteen times," prosecutor Joseph McMahon says -- "that's what we're asking you to sentence him on." Remember that Jason Van Dyke's conviction on aggravated battery requires a sentence of jail time, unlike the conviction on second-degree murder.

4:57 p.m.: Giving former CPD officer Jason Van Dyke probation, only, "would send the wrong message to this community," prosecutor Joseph McMahon tells Judge Vincent Gaughan, in his closing arguments asking for years of prison time for the former officer.

4:56 p.m.: Prosecutor Vincent McMahon notes that people are sent to jail every day, and former police officer Jason Van Dyke "should be, and must be, held to the same standard" as all other defendants. "Probation is absolutely not appropriate," he adds.

4:55 p.m.: McMahon acknowledges that "it is difficult to sit and listen to the ... pain that the Van Dyke family is going through." But their struggles "are caused by the actions of their husband, their father, their son," McMahon says.

4:54 p.m.: McMahon brings up the testimony of four of the witnesses who spoke, earlier today, about their encounters with Jason Van Dyke in past years -- all of which started with routine traffic stops. Three out of four ended in physical attacks and "young men being taken to jail." 

4:53 p.m.: "His conduct has been devastating to the CPD as well," McMahon tells the court. Van Dyke's conduct was so egregious, he says, that it will affect the entire Chicago Police Department.

4:53 p.m.: "Jason Van Dyke's conduct has been devastating" to Laquan McDonald's family, prosecutor McMahon tells the court. "But his devastation goes well beyond" the victim's family. "Jason Van Dyke's conduct has been devastating to the entire community," in Chicago and across the country.

4:51 p.m.: Now court begins to hear closing arguments concerning the sentencing phase, beginning with lead prosecutor Joseph McMahon. "From the beginning, this case has been devastating," McMahon begins. The one common element, he says, is Jason Van Dyke.

4:49 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's 12-year-old daughter, in a letter which defense attorneys are reading to the judge in court: "My dad is my everything .... I need my dad in my life."

4:48 p.m.: The defense is reading a letter to the court, from Jason Van Dyke's 12-year-old daughter. "People come up to me and say my dad is a murderer. ... I have trouble sleeping at night because my dad may have to go away for a long time." "I love my dad more than words can say."

4:46 p.m.: Court is now back in session. Judge Gaughan says he'll hear final arguments on the penalty portion; then Jason Van Dyke will have the opportunity to speak. Then the judge says he'll take a "very brief" recess and come back with his sentencing decision.

4:38 p.m.: In the meantime, the discussion among the spectators and press, watching the trial from the "overflow" courtroom, is split into two distinct subjects: Van Dyke's impending sentencing, and the Chicago area's impending snowstorm.

4:40 p.m.: Speculation among the reporters in the overflow room is that -- when court re-convenes -- Judge Vincent Gaughan will hear closing arguments, and then -- after that -- give Jason Van Dyke an opportunity to speak on his own behalf. That is not confirmed, however.

4:26 p.m.: Court is now in recess, after the defense said it had no more mitigating witnesses. It is unclear, however, if that means that Jason Van Dyke will or will not address the court on his own behalf, once court is back in session.

4:23 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke to the McDonald family: "We pray every day for this family...For my family and your family and for all of Chicago to have peace."

Tiffany Van Dyke looks directly at Judge Vincent Gaughan and says her husband "has paid the ultimate price... His life is over... Please, please. He has paid the price already... My heart and soul are broken. He has paid the ultimate price.

"I just beg for the least amount of time -- if not probation -- for my husband," Tiffany Van Dyke tells the judge, as her husband sits at the defendant's table with his head bowed.

4:21 p.m.: "I fear I will never see him again," Tiffany Van Dyke says about her husband going to prison - he will miss graduations and weddings. "I go to bed every day praying that he is safe, and praying that he will come home."

4:20 p.m.: If Jason Van Dyke is sent to prison, his wife Tiffany says through tears, "my biggest fear is that somebody would kill him, for something that he did as a police officer. There was no malice, no hatred that night. It was simply a man doing his job."

4:19 p.m.: Beyond his family, his marriage, and his children, Tiffany Van Dyke says her husband's proudest moment was the day he became a police officer. "He knew he wanted to serve and protect," she testifies in court. "Unfortunately, that will never happen again."

4:18 p.m.: "I was afraid, every day coming in to this courthouse, that somebody was going to shoot and kill my husband," Tiffany Van Dyke tells the court of her daily treks to Cook County Criminal Court during her husband's trial for the murder of Laquan McDonald.

She says her two children are in court today "because it will be the last time they see there father," if he is sent to prison, and "they want to be there for him, 100 percent."

4:16 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke describes coming into court every day, during her husband's trial last fall. "Calling him all these vile things, over and over again, repeatedly," she says, was "very shocking to me. It broke my heart."

4:15 p.m.: "The last name 'Van Dyke' is not a name that goes well within the city of Chicago," Tiffany Van Dyke tells the judge, in her husband's sentencing hearing. Van Dyke's wife says at one point she was hired for a job but was then immediately pulled off, "because of my last name."

4:13 p.m.: "We both agreed the only thing that mattered was to keep our home, to make sure our children had a roof over their head," Tiffany Van Dyke tells the court. "I live day for day, dollar for dollar, just like everybody else. I fight for everything I have."

Jason Van Dyke's wife Tiffany says one of her daughters loved dance and dance classes, but "unfortunately that comes with a big price tag," so she no longer dances.

4:11 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke tells the court about her family's finances: "It's tragic. It is not easy by any means." She says her husband worked 2-3 jobs in order to support the family, and now she -- as the main breadwinner -- has had to close her business, in fear for her safety.

4:09 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's wife says her daughters have been bullied in school, and her oldest daughter has had notes written to her saying "16 shots." She worries that her younger daughter may be cornered and beaten. "They have paid the price," she tells the court.

Tiffany Van Dyke says the family cannot move their daughters to private schools, because they do not have the money.

4:08 p.m.: "Both of my daughters are very heartbroken ... he was the first person to hold them when they were born." Crying, Tiffany Van Dyke says "he is their absolute everything."

4:08 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke says she spends a minimum of $400 to $500 on phone calls, in order to be able to talk to her husband and have her children talk to her husband.

4:07 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke on life today: "I think of Jason. He's my first thought. .... You just go day, through day," hoping to speak to her husband for one phonecall a day. She says her children also speak to Van Dyke on the phone.

4:06 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke: "He's a great father and a wonderful husband. He was also a dedicated officer to the Chicago Police Department. They have lost a great officer."

"My life has been a nightmare ... I cannot sleep without my husband in bed next to me ..... My heart is broken."

4:05 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke, Jason Van Dyke's wife, says she has recently secured a job that brings her health coverage, since her family lost their health insurance following Van Dyke's arrest.

"My husband is my everything," Tiffany Van Dyke says. "He is my other half. He's my heart." 

4:04 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke says she and Jason Van Dyke met when they worked together -- "then came marriage, children." They've been married for 17 years.

4:03 p.m.: McMahon abruptly stops questioning FOP President Graham, and the defense moves to its next witness: Tiffany Van Dyke, Jason Van Dyke's wife.

4:01 p.m.: Prosecutor Joseph McMahon is now cross-examining FOP President Kevin Graham: "Before the killing of Laquan McDonald, there were problems within the community as it related to the CPD, correct?" Graham agrees.

McMahon: "When Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan McDonald, that act significantly further-eroded the fragile trust between the community and the CPD, correct?" Graham: "No, that's not correct."

4:00 p.m.: Kevin Graham, FOP President, on Van Dyke: "I've seen him at FOP, by himself, pray. I know that it bothers him that a life was taken. I know that if justice is served, he will not get a long sentence."

3:58 p.m.: "How are we supposed to defend ourselves" in the wake of the Van Dyke conviction, FOP President Kevin Graham says other officers have asked him. He says other officers are now "far more careful" on the street "because they don't want to be in [Van Dyke's] shoes."

3:57 p.m.: "I haven't heard one person say a bad word about him," FOP President Kevin Graham says of convicted former police officer Jason Van Dyke. During Van Dyke's employment at FOP, he made sure people who visited there were well taken care of, Graham says.

3:56 p.m.: Officer Graham says he has gotten to know Jason Van Dyke over the past three years. "I think I'm a fairly good judge of character," says Graham. Van Dyke "is a quality individual who cares about society, and cares about the other people he works with."

3:54 p.m.: Next witness for the defense is Kevin Graham, Chicago Police officer and current president of the Chicago section of the Fraternal Order of Police.

3:52 p.m.: Owen Van Dyke reads from his written statement about his son, in his effort to help mitigate the sentence of Jason Van Dyke. "Police officers run towards trouble," he tells the court. No cross examination.

3:52 p.m.: Owen Van Dyke, speaking about his son Jason: "I stand by my son as my father stood behind me."

3:50 p.m.: Owen Van Dyke reads from a letter he has written for the court, about his son. "Jason's not the person described by prosecutors," and he describes several achievements of Van Dyke's through his childhood and school years.

3:50 p.m.: The defense's next witness -- for potential mitigation of the sentence -- is Owen Van Dyke -- Jason Van Dyke's father.

3:49 p.m.: "Jason will never be a police officer again, or will never be able to be able to hold a gun. .... His life and reputation is gone in the blink of an eye. I would the court to consider all that he has lost, already, and what his family has gone through," Van Dyke's sister says.

3:45 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's sister describes the threats and bullying which she says Van Dyke's daughters have endured at school, include threats of being shot.

3:42 p.m.: "Jason is a rule-follower, never got into trouble," his sister testifies in court. He was punctual and followed rules and procedures "like clockwork." "There's [now] a huge difference in Jason since this case became public," she says. "He's become withdrawn."

Jason Van Dyke's sister says that when he came back home after being in jail briefly after he was found guilty, "he went into a deep depression," and did not come out of his room for several days.

3:40 p.m.: Van Dyke took his girls to father-daughter dances, his sister says. He taught his oldest daughter how to dance. "He's always there for his girls. He's always there to give him advice."

3:39 p.m.: Van Dyke's sister says, "for me, Jason was a role model when he became a parent. ... When something [difficult] would happen, he would just take a deep breath" and handle every situation "calmly and rationally." "Family is is number one" priority, his sister says.

3:38 p.m.: She says she and Van Dyke were close growing up. "When this happened, everything changed. He's not the same person." She cites a boy who grew up down the street from them, who had Down Syndrome, and points out that Van Dyke had a good friendship with him.

3:37 p.m.: The defense tells Judge Gaughan that they have four more "mitigating" witnesses, beginning with Heidi Cauffenger, who is Jason Van Dyke's sister.

3:35 p.m.: On cross-examination, Thompson says he thinks of Van Dyke not as a brother-in-law, but as a brother. No other questions from either the defense or the prosecution.

3:34 p.m.: "The way [Van Dyke] has been ridiculed in the media, as a racist cop, as a killer. ... He's been portrayed that way, but he demanded respect and he also gave respect. That's how he was.

"I ask the court to consider everything that [Van Dyke] has already lost," Thompson tells the judge, and says he hopes for probation so that Van Dyke can be home with his family, "where he deserves to be."

3:33 p.m.: Brother-in-law Keith Thompson on Van Dyke's family: "His girls are like my daughters; I treat them like my own." Thompson says Van Dyke asked that Thompson help take care of his daughters while he is incarcerated.

3:32 p.m.: Thompson on Van Dyke: "A gentle giant. He's the one who can calm down a situation and talks everybody down."

3:30 p.m.: The defense's next "mitigating" witness is Keith Thompson, who is Jason Van Dyke's brother-in-law. Their wives are sisters, and he has known Van Dyke for more than 13 years.

"We began as great friends; we have a lot in common, our girls are best friends," Thompson says of his and Van Dyke's families. "He's a great father; he's a standup man; he provides; he protects, he does whatever he can; he's a great father," Thompson says of Van Dyke.

3:29 p.m.: Back on re-direct examination, former FOP President Dean Angelo says Van Dyke came to him for a job after a "mom-and-pop" store withdrew a job offer after protests. "I'll sit there [in the FOP offices] and scrub toilets," Angelo says Van Dyke said.

3:27 p.m.: Angelo acknowledges that Van Dyke had numerous complaints filed against him, but -- he repeats several times -- "none sustained."

3:26 p.m.: "Did you make up a job [for Van Dyke] just so he could get paid?" the prosecution asks Dean Angelo. He adds that Van Dyke couldn't even deliver beer, for fear that he'd be recognized. Therefore he spent most of his time inside the FOP office.

3:25 p.m.: In the overflow room, some audience members occasionally talk back to the video feed, in clear disagreement with the position that former FOP President Dean Angelo is taking, which is sympathetic to Van Dyke's point of view on the night of the McDonald shooting.

3:23 p.m.: On cross-examination, Angelo acknowledges that he has a different vantage point on what occurred, than what the video shows. "He's the only one who knows what he saw," Angelo says.

3:22 p.m.: Angelo: "I ask my friends: If this same situation occurs and there's two shots fired, are we here? They say no." It's the emotional component, combined with the fact that Van Dyke fired 16 shots -- not 2 -- that brings this case to trial, Angelo maintains.

3:20 p.m.: Angelo says his family and Van Dyke's family have now become "quite close." He adds that the Van Dykes' financial situation is precarious, and that Tiffany Van Dyke's job was threatened because of fallout from the McDonald shooting. "She closed up shop," Angelo says.

Angelo on Van Dyke: "He's raised two good kids; he's got a very supportive wife and father." "It was a 'perfect storm' that night and I know that this wasn't something that he set out to do."

3:18 p.m.: Angelo on Van Dyke: "He's a hard worker; he's a good dad." Angelo says Van Dyke even volunteered to quit his job at FOP after Angelo and the union was criticized for hiring him.

3:16 p.m.: Angelo says he eventually developed a friendship with Jason Van Dyke, when he was jobless and needed insurance for his family. The FOP (and Angelo) tried to get him employment at a loading dock, but were turned down.

Eventually Angelo hired him at FOP, where he worked until the Laquan McDonald trial ended last October. "He's not the monster that people have made him out to be in the media. He is a big gentle kid," says Angelo.

3:14 p.m.: Angelo says he learned of the Laquan McDonald shooting through the regular channels of communication that the FOP learns of all shootings: An officer met with Angelo at his offices the next morning to brief him on the incident.

3:13 p.m.: Angelo was FOP president during the time that the Laquan McDonald shooting occurred. He first met Jason Van Dyke the day he bonded out, after being charged in the McDonald shooting.

3:10 p.m.: Dean Angelo, Sr. is a retired Chicago police officer. He was president of the FOP for three years.

3:09 p.m.: Defense calls their next witness, Dean Angelo.

3:09 p.m.: Prosecution is now cross-examining retired Officer Watt: "Was [Van Dyke] trained to shoot young men on the ground who were just twitching?!?" "Are you trained to shoot until the life is over? Or until the threat is over?"

3:08 p.m.: Retired officer Kenneth Watt says Van Dyke did what he was trained to do: "People get the police that they see, and God help the City of Chicago."

3:04 p.m.: Next up, defense calls retired officer Kenneth Watt.

2:59 p.m.: Van Dyke's watch commander Leo Crotty takes the stand.

2:56 p.m.: "Now that he is gone, I feel I am left with nothing," Van Dyke's daughter says.

"There is not a day that goes by that I am not proud of him...he does not deserve to sit behind bars for protecting the city of Chicago," she says. "Bring my dad home please."

2:54 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's daughter testifies that she has been bullied, teased and picked on because of her father's case.

Van Dyke's daughter said on the day of the verdict convicting her father her "heart ripped out of my chest." She talks about how he missed her 17th birthday

2:45 p.m.: Audio and video of current witness called by Van Dyke defense not allowed in court feed. This witness is Van Dyke's daughter. 

2:40 p.m.: Technician Robert Warzocha with the Chicago Police Department testifies that he was with Van Dyke and a female officer the night of the traffic stop involving Jeremy Mayers.

2:38 p.m.: Van Dyke sentencing hearing resumes after recess

1:44 p.m.: After Rev. Hunter steps down, Judge Gaughan recesses until 2:30pm.

1:43 p.m.: "Why should this person ...who became judge, jury and executioner, .... and who has never asked for forgiveness, be free, when my life is gone forever?" Rev. Hunter's letter (in the words of Laquan McDonald) concludes.

1:43 p.m.: "He has not just destroyed my life .... He has destroyed the life of his wife and children," the letter says of former officer Van Dyke. "Please think about me, and my life, when you sentence this man to prison."

1:41 p.m.: Rev. Hunter continues reading a victim-impact statement, written in the words of Laquan McDonald: "Even though I am dead, my murder .... should not just be minimized to [Jason Van Dyke's] conviction."

1:39 p.m.: "Jason Van Dyke, with his cold, callous disregard for the life of a young black man, robbed of this." ... "In the matter of six seconds, [Van Dyke] took sixteen shots."

1:38 p.m.: Rev. Hunter's letter says Laquan McDonald's last paycheck went to purchase the suit that McDonald's body was clothed in, at his burial. The letter also says he died, just weeks before his family was due to be reunited in one house.

1:38 p.m.: Rev. Hunter says he prepared the statement as if it had been written by Laquan McDonald (though Hunter wrote the statement). "I'm a 17-year-old murder. I'm a victim of murder in the second degree," the letter begins.

"I am unable to speak with my own voice .... because [Jason Van Dyke] decided to become judge, jury and the executioner." 

1:37 p.m.: Marvin Hunter is the next witness for the prosecution. He is a pastor, and also the great uncle of Laquan McDonald, and he is appearing to make a victim-impact statement to the court, on behalf of the McDonald family.

1:32 p.m.: Ultimately, Judge Gaughan dismisses Luces, who says, "I'm done?!? I'm really done?!?" Then the state prepares to call its next witness in the "aggravating" portion of the sentencing hearing of former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

1:30 p.m.: Because Luces has been unable to identify former Van Dyke in the courtoom, the judge says someone must "put him there," at the scene of the encounter with Luces, or else there is no basis for the testimony.

1:26 p.m.: "I have a hard time seeing. It's been a lot of time. It was back in 2013. I was beaten up very badly," with head injuries, Luces tells the court.

1:25 p.m.: Luces approaches Van Dyke's table and scans the entire courtroom. One spectator apparently puts his hand up, and Judge Gaughan has him taken out of the court. Meanwhile, Luces says he cannot identify anyone in the courtroom as Officer Van Dyke.

1:24 p.m.: When asked to identify Van Dyke in the courtroom, however, Luces tells the court that he cannot see well from a distance, and does not point to Van Dyke at the defense table. Because of this, the judge asks Luces to stand up; walk over, and check the complete courtroom.

1:22 p.m.: Luces tells the court that officers approached his car, and told him to get out. "I tried to explain to them that I was deaf," Luces says, but says they manhandled him as they tried to pull him out. Luces says one was African American, and Van Dyke was the other.

1:19 p.m.: The court is using two slgn language interpreters -- one to interpret the attorney questions, and one to interpret Luces' answers. Luces tells the court that he was pulled over by the police almost immediately after he got in his car.

1:17 p.m.: Actually, Prusak is an additional sign language interpreter. The witness's name is Alberto Luces, who filed a complaint against Officer Jason Van Dyke in March of 2013.

1:14 p.m.: The plan is to hear from at least one more witness for the Van Dyke prosecution for the "aggravating" portion of this sentencing hearing; then break for lunch. The court is calling for a sign-language interpreter for the next witness, June Prusak.

1:11 p.m.: Court is back in session.

12:57 p.m.: Judge Gaughan declares a 10-minute break in proceedings.

12:56 p.m.: Edwin Nance continues on the stand, as a witness for the prosecution, talking about how internal police investigators did not find fault with Jason Van Dyke, despite the fact that Nance won a civil rights lawsuit as a result of his encounter with the officer.

12:54 p.m.: The courtroom feed is now back up, and Nance is still on the stand in the Van Dyke sentencing hearing.

12:52 p.m.: Word here is that the courtroom video feed is down not just here in the overflow courtroom, but everywhere that the Van Dyke sentencing hearing is being broadcast. It cut out as a witness for the prosecution was being cross-examined about an encounter with Van Dyke.

12:41 p.m.: As defense attorney is questoning Nance, the courtroom video feed freezes up.

12:40 p.m.: Nance brings up a traumatic incident when he was in the U.S. Army, in 1988, when he escaped being beaten by some other men.

12:38 p.m.: On cross examination, Dan Herbert, former officer Van Dyke's defense attorney, questions Nance's use of medication, both in court today, and in the past, prior to his encounter with Jason Van Dyke.

12:35 p.m.: Nance also filed a claim with IAD, which, he says, took no action. "[Van Dyke] went to work the same d--m next day, like it didn't happen!" Nance tells the court.

12:34 p.m.: Nance says he filed a civil rights lawsuit against Van Dyke and other members of the Chicago Police Department for the events of July 9, 2007, which resulted in a jury verdict in Nance's favor. (Nance continues to cry in court as the attorney questions him.)

12:33 p.m.: Nance says he used to be a high school referee in basketball and football. "I can't referee no more. I was a good official. It hurts when I move my arms over my shoulders. I'm in constant pain, every day," because of the way, he says, that Officer Van Dyke manhandled him.

12:32 p.m.: "I can't sleep at night," Nance tells the court through tears. "I got anxiety and PTSD." He tells Van Dyke prosecutors "I've got ADD; I can't even focus." He sees both psychiatrists and psychologists, and takes hydrocodone, anxiety pills, antidepressants, ADD medications, etc.

12:30 p.m.: Nance voice breaks as he describes the extended surgeries and repairs he has had since the 2007 incident with Officer Van Dyke. He says he has experienced psychological pain as well, from the July 9 traffic stop.

12:28 p.m.: In fact, Nance says, he had to have two surgeries as a result of the injuries he says he suffered when Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke threw him, handcuffed, into his squad car. He'd never had shoulder problems before this incident, Nance tells the court.

12:27 p.m.: Nance says former officer Van Dyke told him that night after his traffic stop in 2007, "Get the f--- out of here; don't say nothing else," or he'd send Nance to jail. Nance says the pain, from Van Dyke's throwing him into a squad car, continued.

12:23 p.m.: Then, Nance tells the courtroom in the Van Dyke sentencing hearing, in his encounter with Van Dyke, Van Dyke eventually removed his handcuffs; gave him a ticket for not having a front license plate, and told Nance to walk home.

12:23 p.m.: Nance says he told Van Dyke that he shouldn't hurt him. "Then [Van Dyke] pulled me out of the car by the left arm" and then said "shut the f---up, or you're going to jail," when Nance asked him about his cousin and his car.

12:18 p.m.: Nance says that Van Dyke then dragged him, backwards, in handcuffs, to the officers' police car, where "he threw me [face-down] in between the back of the front seat .. and put me on the floor in the back seat." Nance says he was in pain in his arms. 

After he was put, handcuffed, in the police car, Nance tells the court, through tears "I couldn't move nothing." He says officer Jason Van Dyke responded, "shut up."

12:16 p.m.: According to Nance, officer Jason Van Dyke threw him on the car, back first, and said "don't move, motherf---er, don't move" and then got Nance's cousin out of the car.

12:14 p.m.: Nance says that Van Dyke told him that night in 2007 to "open the f---in' door" and "open this motherf---in' door right now" -- that those were the first words Van Dyke greeted him with.

"My cousin unlocked the doors," Nance says, "and [Van Dyke] opened the door and pulled me out of the car." Nance says Van Dyke then grabbed his left arm and put him face-first on the car, handcuffed him, and uttered more obscenities at him.

12:13 p.m.: Nance appears to cry as he he identifies one of the officers, Jason Van Dyke, who he says approached him that night in July of 2007.

12:12 p.m.: Nance says he and his cousin were headed back to his home when a police car signaled from behind at an intersection, and, he says, he pulled over beyond the intersection. He says two officers approached his car.

12:09 p.m.: State witness Edwin Nance, 49, testifies about the night of July 9, 2007, when he says he was driving his mother's car along with one passenger, his cousin.

12:07 p.m.: An extended delay as the state calls another witness in the "aggravating/mitigating" portion of former CPD officer Jason Van Dyke's sentencing hearing regarding his conviction in the shooting of Laquan McDonald.

12:02 p.m.: "You don't have a high opinion of police officers, correct?" Defense attorney Dan Herbert asks witness Eric Breachett. Breachett responds that he's a "young black man in America," and is cautious of situations involving police officers.

"Even though you're innocent or guilty, with CPD you don't know what the outcome will be," Breachett tells Van Dyke's defense attorney, Dan Herbert. He also says Van Dyke and his partner verbally abused him when they pulled him over during a traffic stop.

12 p.m.: Defense attorney Dan Herbert challenges Eric Breachett's testimony and brings up the fact that Breachett implied that Van Dyke "belongs in prison" because he said in court that Van Dyke was in the "right clothes."

11:58 a.m.: Breachett says he later filed a complaint against the officers (including Van Dyke) -- one of several he has filed against CPD for various incidents.

11:57 a.m.: Eric Breachett tells the courtroom that he refused to admit that he had loud music on in his car, but the police told him that they "would take [him] to jail anyway." Breachett says he told police that he was asthmatic, and, in fact, was having an asthmatic episode.

11:55 a.m.: Breachett says Van Dyke and another officer put him in handcuffs and tried to search his car. He says they mistaked his car for one that was actually ahead of his, which was making loud noise.

11:54 a.m.: Breachett tells the courtroom, in the sentencing hearing of former officer Jason Van Dyke, that he admitted rolling through a stop sign, when stopped in 2009. Breachett identifies Van Dyke in the courtroom, saying "he's definitely in the right attire" (a prison jumpsuit).

11:52 a.m.: Breachett says he was driving a 2002 Monte Carlo with his girlfriend, traveling east on 79th Street, headed to Rainbow Beach on Lake Michigan, in the early evening, when he was stopped by police, including former officer Jason Van Dyke.

11:50 a.m.: Prosecution calls another witness: Eric Breachett, an employee with Ford Motor Company, about an event in 2099, when Breachett was 19 years old.

11:49 a.m.: Jeremy Mayers: "Every time I see [Van Dyke] and what happened to [Laquan McDonald] I am traumatized. ... It could've been prevented."

11:45 a.m.: Dan Herbert, former CPD officer Jason Van Dyke's defense attorney, continues to cross-examine Jeremy Mayers, who says Van Dyke choked him and twisted his arm after a traffic stop in 2010: "You made a complaint against all three police officers ... correct?"

"I know it was him. I know his face clear as day," Mayer responds to attorney Herbert, who implies that Mayers might not have known which officer allegedly choked him in 2010.

11:40 a.m.: Van Dyke's attorneys cross-examine Mayers about that night in 2010: "You were impaired that night, correct?" asks Dan Herbert, Van Dyke's lead counsel. 

"You were drinking with your friends, correct? ... You blew .08, correct?" Herbert asks.

11:35 a.m.: Mayers says he provided a statement in his complaint, in which he also reported that Van Dyke had twisted his arm, during the encounter in 2010, when he was removing handcuffs from Mayers.

Mayers says he was convicted of DUI, in the 2010 case where Van Dyke and others pulled him over. He also says of the encounter with Officer Van Dyke "I can't even look at the man right now... he didn't have no remorse or nothing."

11:32 a.m.: Prosecution witness Jeremy Mayers, in talking about an encounter he had with former CPD officer Jason Van Dyke after a traffic stop, tells the courtroom that he filed a complaint after Van Dyke allegedly choked him in a squad car.

11:31 a.m.: Mayers tells the court that he tested at "exactly the legal limit," so he was booked by police. He says he asked to speak to a police officer, "cause I wanted to file a complaint," about officer Van Dyke allegedly choking him in the car.

11:30 a.m.: Mayers says he still didn't spit out the cough drop. "He choked me ....5-10 seconds, something like that," then released him and took Mayers into the station. In the station the police wanted Mayers to take a breathalyzer test, Mayers tells the court, and he finally took it.

Mayers says the police "forced" him to take a breath test but does not allege any physical force to take the test.

11:28 a.m.: Mayers says Van Dyke and the other officer (female) took him to 70th and Cottage Grove (the police station there). At the station, Mayers says he had a cough drop in his mouth, and Van Dyke told him to remove it, "and I told him no."

After Mayers refused, "[Van Dyke] turned around and started choking me," to try to get the cough drop out. "He was choking me enough... that he stopped my breath a little bit, yes he did." Mayers says Van Dyke choked him with one hand.

11:26 a.m.: Mayers says he was alone when he was pulled over by police, and told he hadn't used the proper turn signal. Mayers says "it went from I didn't use a turn signal, to my plate light was out, to my [car] was too loud." He says he was asked to step out of the car. 

"I think they smelled alcohol on my breath...I did a field-sobriety." Then, he says, Van Dyke searched his car. Mayers says he got arrested, after telling Van Dyke that he had relatives in the CPD. Van Dyke handcuffed Mayers, he says, and put him in the police squad car.

11:24 a.m.: The prosecution calls another witness in the "aggravation" portion of today's sentencing hearing of former officer Jason Van Dyke: Jeremy Mayers, age 42. He talks about an incident on March 19, 2011 in which he encountered Van Dyke during a traffic stop.

Mayers tells the courtroom that he was stopped while driving down Cottage Grove near 64th Street, in a 1974 Cadillac. (The judge allows Mayers to have some water, after Mayers admits he is a little nervous.)

11:22 a.m.: A bit of applause from the spectators in the overflow courtroom, after Joy's testimony.

11:21 a.m.: Joy continues to be cross-examined by Van Dyke's attorney. "You never told the investigator (from the CPD office of professional standards) that Jason Van Dyke put a gun to your head."

Van Dyke's attorney insist that Joy never told OPS investigators 1) that Van Dyke uttered racial slurs and 2) that he held a gun to Joy's head. "Why didn't you put those in there -- the two most salacious allegations that you made."

"Maybe because the interviewer acted like she wasn't interested in what I was saying in the first place," Joy responds.

11:20 a.m.: Van Dyke's defense attorney "There is nothing in that statement .... any allegation .... about a racial slur." "In my opinion," Joy counters, the obscenities covered that.

11:18 a.m.: Joy says he filled out a complaint and signed it, reporting the obscenities and racial slurs that, he says, former Jason Van Dyke called him when he pulled Joy over in August of 2005. However, Van Dyke's defense team, in cross-examination, challenges that.

11:16 a.m.: Joy says the location of his pull-over was in a pretty rough area. "That's Chicago," he says. Joy says Van Dyke called him "a black a-- n-----" that night.

11:15 a.m.: Van Dyke's attorneys ask Joy about the "several squad cars" that, he says, surrounded him that night in 2005. "It didn't look like they were pulling you over for a traffic violation, right?" "They thought you were involved in something serious, right?"

11:14 a.m.: Joy admits that he did not have the proper tags on his vehicle, when he was pulled over in 2005 by former police officer Jason Van Dyke and other officers. However, his traffic citation was later dismissed.

11:13 a.m.: Van Dyke attorneys try to challenge Joy's memory of the night that he encountered Jason Van Dyke on Aug. 10, 2005, when, he says, Van Dyke uttered obscenities and racial slurs to him during a traffic stop. Van Dyke's attorneys try to get Joy to say that his memory would have been better in 2005, concerning his encounter with Van Dyke, than it would be today.

11:11 a.m.: Joy tells Van Dyke defense attorneys that he was contacted approximately 40 days ago, to come into court today to testify about "aggravating" factors in Jason Van Dyke's sentencing. "When I first filed my grievance" about his encounter with Van Dyke, "it was abruptly dismissed."

11:11 a.m.: Joy is now under cross-examination by Van Dyke's defense attorneys.

11:10 a.m.: "He never gave me any reasons for detaining me," Joy says about former officer Jason Van Dyke, who allegedly stopped his car outside a gas station. "I have anxiety to the degree that any time a police officer gets behind me ... I become nervous to the point that I just shut down."

11:10 a.m.: Joy says Van Dyke was "infuriated" and "out his mind" when he confronted Joy outside a gas station. Joy said he complied with everything Van Dyke asked him to do, and says he asked Van Dyke if he could contact his attorney.

11:09 a.m.: Joy says the night he was pulled over by Chicago police, officer Van Dyke spoke to him with obscenities and racial slurs, and "he had his gun drawn on me." "He put the gun to my temple," Joy tells the court.

11:06 a.m.: Prosecution witness Joy says he pulled his car out from gas station at Cermak and Ogden in Chicago one night when he was "abruptly pulled over by several squad cars." Joy said he placed his hands on the steering wheel of his car (when he was pulled over) and then was approached by several officers, including Jason Van Dyke. "He approached my car with his gun drawn," Joy testifies, and identifies Jason Van Dyke in the courtroom.

11:05 a.m.: Prosecutors call to the stand Vidale Joy to the stand. He describes himself as a "published author and poet."

11:04 a.m.: Judge Gaughan mentions that any witness who will be testifying, in this phase of the sentencing hearing, are out of the courtroom.

11:03 a.m.: Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon begins to present his case for "aggravating" factors that would add to Jason Van Dyke's sentence.

11:01 a.m.: Jason Van Dyke is being led to the defense desk in the courtroom, and is now seated there. Judge Vincent Gaughan is now considering the "aggravation" phase of sentencing.

11 a.m.: Court is back in session now.

10:52 a.m.: What's not yet entirely clear, however, is what "aggravating" factors might be presented by the prosecution, in any attempt to keep Jason Van Dyke's sentencing more severe.

10:50 a.m.: Most reporters in the Van Dyke court's "overflow room" expect the former officer's wife -- and possibly even one or more of his children -- to testify today in court, in an effort to get Van Dyke's overall sentence reduced. Their appeals would be considered "mitigating" factors.

10:46 a.m.: It is expected that former police officer Jason Van Dyke's family members may testify as part of this aggravation/mitigation portion of today's hearing. What's not known is whether Judge Vincent Gaughan may opt to turn off the courtroom feed, during that portion of the hearing.

10:45 a.m.: It's believe that -- after this current recess -- Judge Vincent Gaughan will reconvene court to here the "aggravation/mitigation" portion of today's sentencing hearing -- that is, what factors might argue for a more severe sentence, versus what factors might lessen the sentence.

10:37 a.m.: Court is now in recess. Meanwhile, in the overflow room, the debate goes on about how to most accurately describe the color of Jason Van Dyke's prison jumpsuit. Yellow, orange, burnt orange, and peach have all been suggested as the most appropriate descriptions for news reports.

10:36 a.m.: Van Dyke's defense agrees with special prosecutor that penalty must be proportionate to the determination of second-degree murder. Since first-degree murder sentencing would be about half the sentence for all 16 convictions of aggravated battery, the sentence needs to be adjusted.

10:34 a.m.: One of former police officer Jason Van Dyke's defense counsels, Darren O'Brien, is arguing to Judge Joseph McMahon that if the judge decides to consider aggravated battery, he should limit that consideration to just a few of the 16 shots fired into Laquan McDonald.

"That is why [Van Dyke} must be sentenced to only one count" of aggravated battery, says defense attorney Darren O'Brien.

10:31 a.m.: Van Dyke attorney Darren O'Brien also says the 16 shots, by definition, "merge into" the second-degree murder conviction, and that court precedent in Illinois says you can't charge someone "in a way that eliminates second degree murder." He says that "annuls" the murder charge.

10:27 a.m.: Now one of Van Dyke's defense attorneys is speaking to the judge.

10:26 a.m.: However, McMahon argues, there is ample reason for the judge to impose a concurrent (not consecutive) sentence on second-degree murder, in addition to the sentence on aggravated battery.

10:26 a.m.: Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon says "there is sufficient evidence for you to impose sentence on both second degree murder and the aggravated battery with the firearm."

10:24 a.m.: "Had the jury returned a verdict of first-degree murder," the minimum sentence would have been less than half the 96 years that could be levied on the 16 counts of aggravated battery, the prosecutor points out.

10:24 a.m.: As expected, the special prosecutor says that the minimum sentence for Jason Van Dyke should be 18 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections -- six years for each of two fatal shots, plus another six years for the other 14 shots.

10:22 a.m.: That's why Jason Van Dyke could receive as many as 96 years in prison, if given the maximum sentence for each of the 16 shots he fired into Laquan McDonald. Most experts do not expect that to be the final sentence, however.

10:20 a.m.: "[For] each count of aggravated battery with a firearm, ... the sentences must run consecutive," the prosecutor tells the judge in the sentencing of Jason Van Dyke. In other words, they must be served one after another -- not all at the same time.

10:19 a.m.: Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon tells Judge Vincent Gaughan that the prosecution has consistently argued that Jason Van Dyke's firing of 16 shots -- which lead to his aggravated battery conviction -- is the more serious conviction and must be the priority for sentencing.

10:16 a.m.: "At first blush to someone who does not .. work in the system," second degree murder may seem like the more serious offense. But, in fact, aggravated battery is considered more serious in Illinois, says the Van Dyke prosecutor.

10:13 a.m: "Three areas to look at when determining the sentence in this case," the prosecutor tells Judge Gaughan. First, the indictment, which reflects 16 separate counts of aggravated battery....

"...16 separate and distinct acts committed by the defendant," in the killing of Laquan McDonald, committed by former officer Jason Van Dyke, with each and every of the 16 wounds causing harm.

10:13 a.m.: Judge Gaughan is addressing the crowd, telling the audience that he is taking video of the entire audience in case of a disruption -- so that he can have a video record of who is there.

10:12 a.m.: Court is now back in session.

10 a.m.: Today's proceedings -- once they are back underway -- will comprise of three parts: Witness testimony; then an argument over which of Van Dyke's two convictions (second-degree murder versus aggravated battery) should be considered as the priority, then, third, arguments over aggravation and mitigation factors. "Aggravation" factors would push towards a more severe sentence; "mitigation" factors would possibly allow a lighter sentence.

9:55 a.m.: Van Dyke appeared briefly in court this morning, before the current recess. He wore a yellow jumpsuit -- though some reporters in the overflow insist it is orange instead. He also now has a beard.

9:53 a.m.: Many "overflow" spectators and reporters are expressing some surprise that this morning's recess -- taken as the judge hears arguments as to whether some witnesses should be allowed to testify without cameras -- is taking so long.

9:50 a.m.: Spectators in the overflow room include a variety of reporters and spectators, and even some small children.

9:49 a.m.: As the court recess continues in this morning's Van Dyke sentencing, even the "overflow room" -- where spectators and reporters watch the proceedings on a large screen -- is filling up, with approximately 60 people now waiting for court to reconvene.

9:38 a.m.: Technically, former police officer Jason Van Dyke faces a broad set of extremes in today's sentencing: More than 96 years in prison at one extreme; and straight probation -- with no jail time at all -- at the other. Because Van Dyke's defense maintains that the case falls under a "one crime, one act" doctrine, they argue that he can only be sentenced for one charge, since they each fall under the same criminal act.

9:32 a.m.: Court remains in recess as Judge Vincent Gaughan decides whether some witnesses (testifying in Jason Van Dyke's sentencing phase, after his conviction in the killing of Laquan McDonald) can speak without their testimony being broadcast on the audio or video courtroom feed.

9:24 a.m.: Judge Gaughan may well hear this morning from Jason Van Dyke's wife, Tiffany. In a court document filed this past Monday, Tiffany Van Dyke -- as well as the couple's children -- wrote letters, appealing for leniency in Van Dyke's sentencing.

“My family has suffered more than I can even put into words,” Tiffany Van Dyke wrote to the judge in the document filed Monday. “My daughters had their father ripped away from them to possibly ever be able to hold each other again. My children do not sleep or eat right."

Tiffany Van Dyke added in her letter to the judge: “Please find it in your heart to consider the punishment already endured by him that will continue for the rest of his life." 

In her letter filed Monday, Jason Van Dyke's wife also told Judge Gaughan: “There was no malice, ill intent, or hatred on that fateful night when my husband was faced with the split second decision. He believed he was making the right choice that night.”

9:21 a.m.: The prosecution has argued the "one crime, one act" doctrine would require the judge to sentence Van Dyke on the more serious criminal act, which they say is aggravated battery. This charge does not have probation as an option, where the conviction of second-degree murder does.

9:20 a.m.: After hearing from witnesses, Judge Gaughan says he plans to hear arguments over which of Van Dyke's two convictions -- one for second degree murder and one for aggravated battery -- is the more consequential conviction, meriting priority in today's sentencing.

9:15 a.m: After announcing the schedule for the day, Judge Vincent Gaughan has called a brief recess to discuss whether some witnesses should appear on camera. He says some have expressed objections to that.

9:13 a.m.: Judge Gaughan says he will hear various witnesses, but some have filed objections to being broadcast via audio or video. Then he will hear legal arguments.

9:11 a.m.: Court is now in session for the Jason Van Dyke hearing.

<![CDATA[1 Rescued, 1 Missing After Falling Into Lake Michigan]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 19:02:44 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/police+siren+lights4.jpg

One person was rescued and another is still missing after they fell into Lake Michigan while walking on a pier in suburban Waukegan on Friday.

According to the Waukegan Fire Department, two people were on the pier around 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon when one of the individuals fell into the water. The other person then jumped into the lake in a rescue attempt, and another person called 911 to alert authorities to the situation.

When fire department divers arrived on the scene, one of the victims had managed to get out of the water. That person was given medical attention and was taken to a local hospital.

Divers then went into the water to try to find the other person, but after an hour and a half they were forced to suspend the search due to high waves and limited visibility, as a snow storm begins to move into the area.

The search is still continuing with a boat and sonar, but worsening weather conditions could impact the search operation, the fire department said.

There has been no update on the condition of the person pulled from the water, or on the identities of either victim.

<![CDATA[Allegations of Anti-Semitism Cloud 2019 Women's March ]]> Sat, 19 Jan 2019 14:25:07 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-908570094.jpg

Amid accusations of anti-Semitism surrounding the leaders of the Women’s March on Washington, many Jewish women will be deciding one thing this weekend: to march or not to march?

Joan James, of Lincoln City, Oregon, was very supportive until the allegations of anti-Semitism began to surface.

"The Women’s March is supposed to be an inclusive movement that supports diversity of color and ideas," said James, who is Jewish. "If your leaders are making statements that are less than supportive of a group of people, it tears the movement from the inside."

James is still conflicted on whether or not she will participate this weekend, when thousands of women are expected to take the streets for the third year in a row. The march, sparked by the election of President Donald Trump, was organized by women worried about his agenda and offended by comments he made. Many participants wore distinctive "pink pussy hats" as a symbolic way to show resistance.

Now some women are aggravated the anti-Semitic allegations are causing a divide within the women’s movement.

The accusations of anti-Semitism were crystalized in an article written in the Tablet in December. The magazine reported that in an initial planning meeting, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez, two of the Women's March Inc. leaders, said that Jewish people had “a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people." Mallory and other leaders deny the statement.

In addition, Perez, Mallory, and Linda Sarsour's association with Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan, who has a history of making anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ comments, led to more criticism. The New York Times reported that Mallory and Perez said, “they work in communities where Mr. Farrakhan is respected for his role in rehabilitating incarcerated men. They attended the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in 2015, which Mr. Farrakhan planned.” 

In an appearance on ABC's "The View," Mallory said, "What I will say to you is that I don't agree with many of Minister Farrakhan's statements." In a later interview with a radio station called Breakfast Club, she condemned anti-Semitism. However, she and the other leaders did not denounce Farrakhan's rhetoric.

Some advocates are conflicted about whether the allegations are serious enough to keep them from participating.

In response, Women’s March Inc. released a press statement which reads, “It’s become clear, amidst this media storm, that our values and our message have — too often— been lost. That loss caused a lot of harm, and a lot pain. We should have been faster and clearer in helping people understand our values and our commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. We regret that. Every member of our movement matters to us — including our incredible Jewish and LGBTQ members. We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused, but we see you, we love you, and we are fighting with you.”

While some advocates are frustrated with the controversay over the anti-Semitic allegations, they also recognize the impact of the Women’s March.

Aliza Lifshitz, a Jewish Barnard College student and activist, posted on her Facebook page, “If you’re vocally critical of the women’s march but you do nothing to publicly call out or resist the current administration’s policies, it is very safe to assume that you’re using your concerns about anti-Semitism to tear down a movement you didn’t agree with in the first place.”

"People should acknowledge what they are missing out on when they abandon the women’s march," she said in an interview with NBC.

Lifshitz believes the march has played a significant role in organizing the women’s resistance movement, and that the march itself is symbolic of the desire for change. However, she also said she respects anyone who feels uncomfortable marching because of the controversy.

The allegations have resulted in stark differences between competing marches and women abandoning the march altogether over confusion about what each organization stands for.

Women’s March Inc. brought three Jewish women onto their steering committee. Abby Stein, the first openly transgender woman raised in a Hasidic community, is one of the women.

“The leaders of the Women’s March are not anti-Semitic," she said. "Louis Farrakhan has no impact on the goals of the Women's March. In fact, the Women’s March is the antithesis to everything he preaches."

Stein said when she was given the opportunity to join the steering committee, she saw it as a way to make sure Jewish women feel included and as a platform to defend the LGBTQ community.

"The question was not how I could join the Women’s March, but how could I not?" she said. "I can accomplish so much when it comes to eradicating anti-Semitism by working with them."

Stein told NBC the Women’s March in 2017 focused on resistance, the march in 2018 guided people to the polls, and this year’s march is about a policy agenda.

“One of the strongest impacts the steering committee has is assisting with the women’s agenda which is a policy agenda that Congress could basically copy and paste and turn it into a bill,” she said.

The Women's March Inc. has released a policy agenda encompassing many different topics, including ending violence against women, advocating for reproductive rights, and fighting for racial injustice.

Despite efforts to show the march is inclusive and not anti-Semitic, the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, among others, are no longer sponsoring the Women’s March Inc. event.

“I think it is unfortunate they are no longer supporting the event," said Rabbi Robin Podolsky of Los Angeles, who wrote an article in the Jewish Journal called “Why I Will Walk With the Women’s March.” "We have to ask ourselves who benefits if our movement fractures and it is not us. At this point, I still feel really firm that it is the grassroots women who have to define the march and not a couple of personalities at the top."

“As a Jewish woman, I think it is important that we reclaim this march and that we stand for this as much as any woman. I see us walking in the same direction, where each of us is heard and empowered," she said.

Many women’s marches planned around the world on Saturday are not associated with Women’s March Inc.

Women’s March Alliance, for example, is a separate organization that plans the march in New York City.

Katherine Siemionko, the alliance's founder and president, told NBC, “We are hoping to roll out a new name brand and face this upcoming March to make it clear that we have no association with Women’s March Inc.”

Siemionko is aware many Jews are contemplating whether or not to march.

"We are working to make sure everyone feels welcome and we are doing a lot of outreach across the board," she said. "We have also been speaking at synagogues and making sure to confirm our commitment to the Jewish communities we have worked with in the past."

During a phone call in October, Siemionko asked Sarsour why Women's March Inc. was planning to hold a competing event in New York City on Saturday. She said Sarsour had told her the separate rally was needed to provide a space for women of color.

Siemionko told NBC many women of color are involved in her organization. She said the volunteer trainings this week averaged 60 percent people of color and the alliance's board has 3 women of color out of 5 members. Siemionko told NBC she thought Sarsour had given her a "lame excuse."

Women's March Inc. did not make Sarsour available for an interview.

With all of the controversy, some people are choosing to stay away from any women’s march this year.

Arielle Kaplan, a 24-year-old Jewish woman from New York City, said, “I think it is great that people are going and that Jewish women are trying to make marches that are inclusive for Jews, but I am not going because I don't want people to mistake me for supporting Women’s March Inc. by going to a women’s march that is unaffiliated.”

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bryant Gives Blunt Answer on 'Harper to Cubs' Rumors]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:34:26 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/184*120/GettyImages-693936694.jpg

Chicago Cubs fans hoping for a Bryce Harper contract with the team found their hopes further dashed on Friday by one of Harper’s best friends.

Kris Bryant, who grew up in Las Vegas with Harper and hangs out with the superstar free agent on a frequent basis, echoed comments made earlier in the week by Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

“He’s not signing here,” Bryant said.

Bryant also said that he believes the Cubs have a “killer team,” but his comments on Harper will likely sadden many Cubs fans.

Numerous reports have surfaced throughout the offseason that the Cubs will not have the money to pursue high-priced free agents, and they have not done so this year, only signing infielder Daniel Descalso.

Earlier in the week, Maddon told media that a Harper signing in Chicago is “not going to happen,” but until the outfielder puts pen to paper, Cubs fans will likely continue clinging to hope.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>