<![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-usTue, 16 Jul 2019 17:46:31 -0500Tue, 16 Jul 2019 17:46:31 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[How Florida Man Caught the Gator in the Humboldt Park Lagoon]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 12:36:57 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gator+caught+thumbnail.png

The alligator in Chicago's Humboldt Park Lagoon was caught early Tuesday after a week of eluding capture, but less than two days after the city brought in a gator expert from Florida.

So how did Frank Robb, who owns Crocodilian Specialist Services in St. Augustine, get the job done? Quickly and with a plan, he said.

"We kind of laid out a plan before I got here; it went exactly as we planned," Robb said at a news conference Tuesday morning. "We couldn't have hoped for anything more. It was a very blessed experience. Everybody was awesome."

Robb said those involved in the capture - which happened at around 1:30 a.m. - had taken about eight laps around the lagoon and the surrounding area on foot overnight before he spotted the creature in the water. The alligator, dubbed "Chance the Snapper," was about 25 feet from the shore on the north side of one of the lagoon's islands, Robb said.

After they initially spotted it, the gator went underwater for a minute and then "vocalized," which Robb said was "just kind of speaking a little bit of crocodilian," though he declined to demonstrate ("That's a trade secret buddy, I'm sorry").

Robb said he then snared the gator with a fishing rod that had a large hook attached to the line, what he likened to "foul hooking a fish, like throwing a grapple hook over something."

"You throw the hook across it and it just brings him in. It kind of just sits against his skin and brings him in," Robb said. "He popped back up and one cast and it was a done deal."

He then reeled the reptile in and grabbed it at the base of its tail with his hands.

"I wanted to make sure it was gonna work out so I kinda just grabbed hold of him and then we tied him up and taped him up," said Robb. He and Kelley Gandurski, the executive director of Chicago Animal Care and Control, said the entire process was humane and the alligator was not harmed at all.

"The hooks don't penetrate their skin," Robb said. "The second I put my hands on him the hook fell out."

Robb said the gator put up a "little bit" of a struggle but that he thought the creature was "tired too."

"There was so much attention here, like I said, he was exhausted too, I'm sure," Robb said, adding, "Wherever he came from or however he got here, he's a very healthy animal," estimating that it weighed about 30 to 40 pounds and measured around 5'3" long.

So what did Robb - who had been awake for about 36 hours straight by the time of Tuesday's news conference - do that those before him didn't?

"It was a matter of finding him and I told Kelley that all along," he said. "We needed quiet, we needed to have the place shut down for awhile and let the animal relax so he would give us the opportunity."

The city instituted new closures around the lagoon on Sunday to keep the public away, which Robb indicated was a critical part of the plan.

"When it comes to alligators specifically, they gotta be a bit of a team player. If they don't give you a little bit then you're not gonna ever catch one, and he finally gave us a little bit," Robb continued. After catching the creature so swiftly, someone in the crowd Tuesday called Robb the "gator whisperer" but he demurred.

"I'm not sure about that," he said. "Everybody's got different blessings. This is my blessing. It's what I've spent every day of my life doing for the past 24 years."

As for his first trip to Chicago, Robb had nothing but positive things to say about the experience.

"First gator I've caught out of Florida, so yeah, it was amazing," he said. "Great people, everybody from law enforcement to the park services, amazing. I've never met a nicer group of people in my entire life, honestly."

And as to how he was able to pull it off?

"People ask you how you catch an alligator," Robb said. "Just barely is the answer, because it's usually just barely."

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<![CDATA[Meet 'Chance the Snapper' Alligator Caught in Chicago Lagoon]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 11:59:27 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chance+the+snapper+alligator.png

"Chance the Snapper," the alligator at the center of a week-long hunt in Chicago's Humboldt Park Lagoon, made his first out-of-water appearance Tuesday after being caught overnight. And he made his debut in style, wearing a red bow tie.

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<![CDATA[Here's What's Next for Chicago's Captured Alligator]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 11:10:19 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gator+profile.png

Now that Chicago's on-the-loose alligator, colloquially referred to as "Chance the Snapper," has been safely caught, what's next for the much-discussed gator?

According to city officials, it's still being discussed.

"Rest assured it will be going to either a zoo or a sanctuary," Kelley Gandurski, executive director of Chicago Animal Care and Control, told reporters Tuesday after the animal's capture. "No harm will come to this gator. It's going to go to a very safe place. We're working out those details still."

Gandurski previously said the city wants the alligator moved to "an appropriate location," which doesn't include the Humboldt Park Lagoon on Chicago Park District land where the gator settled for the past few days. 
 
Officials also said that upon capture, the animal would be taken to the nearest zoo to be seen by a reptile veterinarian.

Gandurski stressed Tuesday that the alligator will go somewhere to get "the best chance at a good life."

For now he remains in the custody of Animal Care and Control.

The alligator was captured overnight by Frank Robb, an alligator expert who owns Crocodilian Specialist Services in Florida. Robb was recommended by local experts in Florida, and arrived in Chicago on Sunday for an examination of the area surrounding the lagoon.

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<![CDATA[Trump Trails Biden, Warren and Sanders in New NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll]]> Sun, 14 Jul 2019 17:37:56 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/BidenTrump.jpg

President Donald Trump trails the top Democratic contenders in hypothetical matchups, according to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll’s first ballot tests of the 2020 general election. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads the president by 9 points among registered voters, 51 percent to 42 percent — outside of the poll’s margin of error of plus-minus 3.5 percentage points, NBC News reports.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is ahead of Trump by 7 points, 50 percent to 43 percent.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., holds a 5-point advantage, 48 percent to 43 percent. And Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is ahead by just 1 point, 45 percent to 44 percent — a jump ball.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[See It: Bucktown Home With Wine Cellar, Fish Tank Listed]]> Mon, 15 Jul 2019 20:36:06 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/179*120/bucktown+home+1.jpg
A Bucktown home with a "dramatic two story glass atrium," pool, walk-in wine cellar and 300-gallon fish tank is on the market in Chicago for $3.5 million.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios]]>
<![CDATA[How to Keep Your Bill Low in Extreme Heat: ComEd]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 17:30:28 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ac+broken+thermostat+tight+shot.jpg

High temperatures can also lead to higher energy bills, according to ComEd, but there are some ways to save energy during dangerous heat. 

According to the energy company, homeowners can follow some simple tips to keep costs down while ensuring a safe and cool home. 

Here's what they recommend:

Turn it off: Turn off all unnecessary lighting and devices.

Manage your thermostat: Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible and ensure humidity control if needed. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting thermostats to 78 degrees when you are home and need cooling. Install a programmable or smart thermostat to automatically adjust your home's temperature settings when you're away or sleeping. 

Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed: Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use. Simply closing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat gain from the sun in your home. 

Use ceiling fans to circulate air: For those without air conditioning, use ceiling fans or portable fans with the windows partially open to circulate fresh air into your home and create a breeze to help cool you off. For those with air conditioning, fans can be used to evenly distribute cool air and can make a room feel up to 4 degrees cooler. Remember though that fans cool people, not rooms. Therefore, fans should be turned off in vacant rooms. 

Use appliances wisely: Run appliances that produce heat (like clothes dryers, ovens and dishwashers) at night when it is cooler.

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<![CDATA[Financial Bombshell For Customers of Popular Car Dealership]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 15:55:28 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/4PVOTSEPARKERNISSAN_3445576_15046561_105.JPG

Months after a suburban car dealership lost its license and was shut down, NBC 5 Responds has uncovered documents that show Nissan of St. Charles owes millions of dollars to the IRS and the State of Illinois. 

The investigation began in April, when the state shuttered the dealership for failing to pay trade-in loans. Customers reported receiving auto loans for cars they had previously traded in. When those loans weren’t paid back, their credit was put at risk. 

NBC 5 Responds has learned the Internal Revenue Service slapped a multi-million dollar lien on Nissan of St. Charles on March 5. Government documents reveal the corporation owes more than $2.32 million in withheld taxes between March 2017 and June 2018, as well $52,000 to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

News of the investigation triggered a firestorm on social media. More than 400 people sounded off on NBC 5's Facebook page after our exclusive report about the dealership. Many former customers complained about their experience, while others expressed concern for loved ones who made purchases from the dealership and may not be aware of the consequences.

One former customer said it took extreme measures for her to be able to pay off her loans.

"I had to go to the dealership and refuse to leave for it to happen," Carrie Gatske shared with NBC5 on Facebook. "I actually documented almost all of my calls to the dealership until I went there and demanded that the payoff was handled that day. When everything was said and done it took almost a month of me hounding them to get my payoff handled."

Although it was difficult, Gatske said she was thankful she was able to handle her payoff prior to the dealership’s closing. But she is still impacted today. Her credit report shows that she has late payment notices because the payoff was not handled in a timely manner. 

Nissan North America sent a notice of termination to Nissan of St. Charles in late April, which revoked the dealership’s license. Nissan sent NBC 5 a statement, saying it regrets any inconveniences caused. 

“We have attempted to help customers financed through Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, but cannot offer further details because of pending litigation," the statement read. "Under the circumstances, Nissan believes customers with issues relating to this dealership’s closure are best directed to contact the Illinois Secretary of State licensing division which is responsible for enforcing laws governing dealership conduct."

Calls to the owner of Nissan of St. Charles went unanswered. 

The state has set up a hotline and email for any questions and concerns regarding Nissan of St. Charles. Customers can call (630) 693-0551 x248 or email rford1@ilsos.gov.

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<![CDATA[Kellyanne Conway Asks Reporter: 'What's Your Ethnicity?']]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 15:26:27 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/conAP_19197547253625.jpg

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday responded to questions about President Donald Trump's attacks on four congresswomen of color by asking a reporter about his heritage, NBC News reported.

Andrew Feinberg, a White House reporter for Breakfast Media, a website about politics and technology, asked Conway, "If the president was not telling these four congresswomen to return to their supposed countries of origin, to which countries was he referring?" 

Conway paused and then asked him, "What's your ethnicity?"

"Why is that relevant?" Feinberg replied.

"Because I'm asking a question. My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy," Conway shot back.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Alligator Catcher to Throw Out First Pitch at Cubs Game]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 15:03:46 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gator+guy+Frank+Robb1.png

Frank Robb's fame is rising in Chicago, and the Cubs are putting it on display.

Robb, who ultimately caught the alligator on the loose for days in the Humboldt Park Lagoon, will throw out the first pitch at the 7:05 p.m. Cubs game against the Reds Tuesday, the team confirmed. He owns Crocodilian Specialist Services in St. Augustine, Florida.

"People ask you how you catch an alligator," Robb said at a news conference Tuesday morning. "Just barely is the answer, because it's usually just barely."

The alligator was caught early Tuesday after a week of eluding capture, but less than two days after the city brought in Robb, a gator expert from Florida.

Robb said those involved in the capture - which happened at around 1:30 a.m. - had taken about eight laps around the lagoon and the surrounding area on foot overnight before he spotted the creature in the water.

The alligator, dubbed "Chance the Snapper," was about 25 feet from the shore on the north side of one of the lagoon's islands, Robb said.

After they initially spotted it, the gator went underwater for a minute and then "vocalized," which Robb said was "just kind of speaking a little bit of crocodilian," though he declined to demonstrate ("That's a trade secret buddy, I'm sorry").

Robb said he then snared the gator with a fishing rod that had a large hook attached to the line, what he likened to "foul hooking a fish, like throwing a grapple hook over something."

"You throw the hook across it and it just brings him in. It kind of just sits against his skin and brings him in," Robb said. "He popped back up and one cast and it was a done deal."

As for what's next for the alligator, city officials say the animal's next home is still being discussed. 

"Rest assured it will be going to either a zoo or a sanctuary," Kelley Gandurski, executive director of Chicago Animal Care and Control, told reporters Tuesday after the animal's capture. "No harm will come to this gator. It's going to go to a very safe place. We're working out those details still."

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<![CDATA[Excessive Heat Watch Issued for Part of Area This Week]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 16:57:00 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-82128103.jpg

Part of the Chicago area will be under an Excessive Heat Watch for multiple days this week as dangerous heat could bring heat index values as high as 108 degrees. 

The watch, issued for Cook County, takes effect Thursday afternoon and continues through Saturday evening, with heat indices potentially peaking between 100 and 108 degrees each day.

 

Air temperatures are forecast to rise into the upper-90s and drop only to around 80 degrees in the city Thursday and Friday nights, offering "little to no relief from the heat," according to the National Weather Service. 

"The cumulative effects of temperatures and heat index values this high could lead to heat related illnesses with prolonged exposure," the watch states. "Those without air conditioning, elderly, small children, and pets are especially susceptible. Plan ahead." 

Residents are being urged to find a cool place to shelter from the heat and to avoid outdoor activity during peak heating times of the day. 

Isolated storms are also possible each of those days. 

ComEd announced Tuesday that it is increasing crew staffing and opening its Emergency Operations Center to "respond quickly if power outages occur." 

Anyone who experiences an outage is urged to test "OUT" to 26633 ot call (800) 334-7661. Spanish-speaking customers can call (800) 955 8237. 

The city could see some relief Sunday, which looks to be partly sunny and not as hot with highs in the upper 80s. Still, humid conditions are expected with a chance of showers and storms.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Andersonville Residents Fight to 'Save the Trees' During Water Main Replacement]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 14:34:44 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/andersonville+trees.jpg

Some residents in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood are fighting to save their trees.

Between 12 and 15 mature trees in the neighborhood may need to be removed to replace a more than 100-year-old water main. The project could impact trees on four streets: Summerdale, Berwyn, Farragut and Balmoral avenues. 

"I love them. I love when I walk the neighborhood and look up at all the gorgeous trees," said Abbey Evans, who has lived in Andersonville for two years.

Over the past few months residents have actively worked to stop the trees from coming down, saying the mature trees provide environmental benefits, as well as shade, cooling and beauty.

Ald. Harry Osterman said the project has been placed on hold as he works with the mayor's office on a solution to both save the trees and provide clean water.

"Some of these trees are 60 to 70 years old," Osterman said. "So losing some of them would be difficult. We do plant 100 trees a year in this neighborhood. These trees are part of the character of our community."

In a statement to NBC 5, the Department of Water Management said it "does everything possible to save trees when performing work on water infrastructure."

"We estimate the number of trees that may need to be removed on a project following the IEPA procedural and environmental rules that apply to underground utility separation that can include tree roots," spokeswoman Megan Vidis said. "The final determination on the number of trees to be removed can only be made during excavation." 

In the meantime, a petition to "save the trees" is circulating among residents.

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<![CDATA[Chicago Blackhawks Trade Artem Anisimov to Ottawa]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 14:32:20 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-668294586.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have made yet another trade in what has been a busy offseason, sending forward Artem Anisimov to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Zack Smith.

Smith, who was drafted by the Senators in the third round of the 2008 NHL Draft, has spent his entire NHL career with the organization, with 94 goals and 99 assists in 193 games. He is set to make $3.25 million in each of the next two seasons, becoming a free agent after the 2020-21 campaign.

Anisimov, acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2015 trade that sent Brandon Saad to Ohio, scored 15 goals and 22 assists in 78 games with the Blackhawks last season, and has scored 163 career NHL goals with the Rangers, Jackets, and Blackhawks.

His salary cap hit will check in at $4.55 million for each of the next two seasons, according to Cap Friendly.

The trade frees up approximately $1.3 million for the Blackhawks in each of the next two seasons, and is the culmination of months of trade rumors. Once Anismov was given a roster bonus in early July, his contract became easier to trade, and the Blackhawks were able to trade him without having to include any prospects, something that they’ve been unable to do in previous cap-savings maneuvers.

It’s unclear what role the Blackhawks will want Smith to play, but in all likelihood the forward will get an opportunity to earn penalty killing time, as he played 1:49 of short-handed time per game last season with the Senators. He will need to improve his face-off numbers slightly, as he won 49 percent of his draws a season ago, but he’s still likely a contender for a bottom six center role with the Blackhawks next season.

With the move, the Blackhawks have $3.3 million in cap space for next season, with 20 roster spots currently filled. That number does not include a new contract for forward Brendan Perlini, who is a restricted free agent, and also includes several defensemen who could be in competition for a final roster spot, including Slater Koekkoek and Carl Dahlstrom.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[See Chicago Alligator Up Close and Personal After Capture]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 12:06:00 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gator+media+thumb.jpg
After the capture of an alligator from the Humboldt Park Lagoon in Chicago, the man who caught the animal introduced him to a large crowd of reporters and residents eager to meet the gator living in the lagoon for the past several days. See the alligator, donning a red-and-black checkered bow tie, out of the water for the first time.]]>
<![CDATA[MS-13 Gang Accused in a Gruesome Murder Spree Around LA]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 13:48:01 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/219*120/gang-ms13-arrests-july-15-2019.jpg

Citing a gruesome series of killings in Los Angeles in which one victim was dismembered and whose heart was cut out, a federal grand jury has indicted 22 alleged members or associates of the notorious MS-13 gang on charges that include racketeering and murder.

Five of the seven killings outlined in a new superseding indictment involved the victims’ bodies being dumped in Angeles National Forest, according to court documents. 

The new 78-page grand jury indictment says 22 alleged members and associates of the MS-13 Fulton clique, based in the Los Angeles suburbs of the San Fernando Valley, engaged in common street gang business: narcotics sales, robberies, burglaries, and extortion schemes.

"It's an extensive organization with tentacles throughout the United States and Central America," said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. "But this is a major step in taking out some of the most violent members."

But the indictment also details how those charged used horrific violence to control members, protect territory and intimidate rivals.

The case is the culmination of a two-year-long investigation by the FBI, Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Nicola T. Hanna and other officials are expected to provide additional details at a news conference Tuesday morning.

Named in the indictment are German Arnulfo Cruz Hernandez; Angel Amadeo Guzman; Ever Joel Morales; Fernando Garcia Parada; Jose Baquiax Alvarez; Kevin Villalta Gomez; Kevin Arteaga; Edgard Velasquez; Walter Chavez Larin; Yefri Alexander Revelo; Wilfredo Vides; Gerardo Alvarado; Roberto Carlos Mendez Cruz; Bryan Alberto Ordones; Roberto Alejandro Corado Ortiz; Edwin Isaac Mendez; Josue Balmore Flores Castro; Luis Arturo Gonzalez; Edwin Martinez; Steven Emmanuel Linares; Marco Antonio Ramos; and Erick Eduardo Rosales Arias.

Formed in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s, MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha, has a footprint in at least 10 states – including California, New York, Virginia, Maryland, and Texas – as well as several Central American countries, including El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala.

Fulton is one of at least 20 subsets, or cliques, of the gang operating around Los Angeles, and federal prosecutors said it modeled itself after a subset of the gang in El Salvador known as “503.” That group broke away, the indictment alleges, and became more violent after the El Salvadoran government tried to quell violence by arranging a secret truce with older MS-13 leaders.

Salvadoran MS-13 members who were recent arrivals to Los Angeles often identified with the 503 group and joined together with Fulton clique members to carry out the slayings detailed in the indictment, the court papers allege.

In Los Angeles beginning in 2017, MS-13 members who identified with the 503 group had been required to kill a gang rival or “someone perceived to be adverse to MS-13” in order to be initiated into the gang, the indictment says.

The indictment also suggests that Fulton group operated differently from other MS-13 cliques in Los Angeles.

"MS-13 in Los Angeles was distinct from MS-13 cliques in other parts of the country, because in Los Angeles, MS-13 had to pay extortionate rent payments to the Mexican Mafia, to which MS-13 swore fealty," the indictment states.

Among the seven murders at the center of the 12-count indictment was the killing of an individual identified by the initials "J.S.," who federal prosecutors said was choked and dismembered in March of 2017 for crossing out MS-13 graffiti.

One alleged gang member "carved out J.S.'s heart," and others "threw J.S.'s body parts into a canyon" in the Angeles Forest, the indictment says.

A month later another victim, identified as G.B., was struck on the back of the head with a pistol and then hacked to death with a machete, according to the court filing. His body was found close to the first dump site in the forest.

Federal prosecutors said some of the MS-13 gang members suspected G.B. was an informant. The indictment says that MS-13 had "zero tolerance" for members or associates who cooperate with law enforcement, and that once suspected a "green light" could be issued by the gang authorizing them to be killed on sight.

Another murder followed in June of 2017, when a man identified in the indictment as E.H. was killed with a machete and a knife.

Authorities said non-gang members were also targeted, including a 34-year-old homeless man who was shot to death in January of 2019 in a North Hollywood park claimed by the gang.

Court documents said some of those charged posted photographs and messages to Facebook and other social media that appeared linked to the violence. Images showed the alleged gang members posing with weapons and in gang attire, and some of the pictures were taken close to the murder scenes and body dump sites.

Multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News that in addition to the murders detailed in the indictment, investigators believe the number of killings connected to the gang could be much higher.

The charges in the new indictment include allegations of a racketeering conspiracy against some defendants, murder and violent crimes in aid of racketeering.

MS-13 was formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s by refugees who fled civil conflict in El Salvador, and it is organized in a loose structure of cells or "cliques," that control specific territory, according to a 2018 report by the Congressional Research Service.

The gang became international as members were deported from the United States to Central America, and since 2005 law enforcement officials have estimated its membership in the U.S. at around 10,000 members, contradicting suggestions that it has grown in the U.S. in recent years, the report said.

MS-13 was named a transnational gang in 2012 during the administration of President Barack Obama. The Treasury Department announced it was targeting the organization with sanctions at that time.



Photo Credit: NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Who Caught Chicago's On-the-Loose Alligator and How]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 12:00:48 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gator+guy+Frank+Robb.png

After days of searching for a 4-foot alligator on the loose in Chicago's Humboldt Park, it took Frank Robb, owner of Crocodilian Specialist Services in St. Augustine, Florida to seal the deal. Robb explains how he caught the alligator, locally referred to as "Chance the Snapper."

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<![CDATA[How Star PR Musicians Were Mentioned in Gov.'s Leaked Chats]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 12:45:40 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/martin-bunny-miranda.jpg

Over the weekend, 889 pages of a controversial group chat that included Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and staff members shook the government, which had already been rocked by allegations of corruption. The messages revealed sexist, racist, homophobic and violent comments about the governor's opponents and even members of his own party. 

The leaked chats also included references to Puerto Rican star performers like Ricky Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bad Bunny, who are now all firing back at the governor.

Here is how those celebrities got caught up the leaked chat scandal, through no fault of their own.

Ricky Martin:
The “Livin’ La Vida Loca” singer, one of the most beloved artists among Puerto Ricans, was mentioned by one of Rosselló’s top officials.

The administration's former chief financial officer, Christian Sobrino, leveled homophobic and machista slurs against the international superstar, who’s openly gay, married and is the father of three children.

Sobrino questioned and mocked the singer’s sexual orientation by saying Martin preferred to have sex with men over women because “women don’t live up to the expectations.”

The singer joined Puerto Ricans calling for Rosselló’s resignation on Saturday with a string of tweets.

“Your conduct is not a result of an error or inexperience, it has been a conscious and deliberate act, totally irresponsible and that attempts against human rights [...] Act with true generosity, courage and love for Puerto Rico and cede your post to another person with the wisdom and leadership to lead our fate as a country,” Martin said.

Bad Bunny:
Trap singer Bad Bunny, internationally known for songs like “Estamos Bien” and “La Romana,” was also mentioned in the chat.

Sobrino made a joke about Bad Bunny’s surprise visit back in January with Gov. Rosselló and Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Residente, co-founder of Calle 13. The former CFO used their visit to ridicule a feminist group, Colectiva Feminista, amid a gender violence crisis in the island that last year took the lives of 23 women. The group was outside the governor’s mansion and was never granted a meeting with Rosselló.

“Residente and Bad Bunny > Colectiva?” CFO Sobrino said in the chat.

Bad Bunny recently said both he and Residente were drunk in Old San Juan and decided to visit Rosselló at 2:00 a.m. The governor welcomed them both. The artists then shared a picture of the meeting on Instagram.

Benito Martínez, the artist’s real name, who was touring in Europe, announced Monday on Twitter that he’s on his way to Puerto Rico and has invited people to protest. The trap sensation is expected to join protesters in Old San Juan on Wednesday.

“I’m going to the island and I’d love if you join me and the people already in the streets. These people (the government) think we’re scared and we’ll demonstrate them that they’re wrong,” he tweeted.

The artist, born and raised in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, said on Sunday that he believes in forgiveness “but one thing is to forgive and another one to let them step on us.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda:
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actor and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of Broadway’s hit musical “Hamilton,” was indirectly mentioned in the chat early January when his show was rescheduled and relocated from the Theater of the University of Puerto Rico to the Centro de Bellas Artes in Santurce, a borough in San Juan. The "Hamilton" show in Puerto Rico was an effort to promote art and help the island in its recovery after Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

In the chat, former CFO Sobrino shared a news article announcing the cancellation of the show at the theater of the university, to which the governor replied with an angel emoji. Carlos Bermúdez, the governor’s former media consultant, then said “Operation RR,” appearing to insinuate the governor was behind the decision.

Lin-Manuel’s father Luis Miranda told NBC that “it’s sad [...] these were a bunch of teenagers claiming credit for something that, quite frankly, they had nothing to do with.”

Luis Miranda said the producers of "Hamilton" in Puerto Rico decided to change the venue due to security reasons, primarily because the University's workers union was planning to protest because of the economic crisis that's hitting the public college. Furthermore, there’s a law that doesn’t permit the police to intervene in the campus, and that was enough cause for concern.

“Although we couldn’t stay there (at the University of Puerto Rico), to have been able to invest $1 million for the university to have a theater of top category [...] we’re proud of everything that we’ve done for the university, which has been the cornerstone of Puerto Rico’s development for many generations and it must be for generations to come, too,” he said.

Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted on Monday that “#HamiltonPR was a triumph. We did what we set out to do: raised 15 million for arts on the island, gave the tourism economy a boost—AND we rebuilt the UPR theater. While the governor and his buddies tried to claim some credit for it in their sad little chat.”

“And the bigger picture is this: the Hamilton falsehoods in these documents are a minor subplot in a far larger, very disturbing portrait of how this Administration operates,” Miranda said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Legal Bills Add Up for Speaker Madigan]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 09:42:21 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MADIGAN+STAFFER+-+00002801_30850342.jpg

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's principal political committee has spend a whopping $1.2 million in legal bills since fall 2017, according to state campaign finance reports.

The majority of those costs was paid to Chicago law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP. The most recent quarterly financial report, filed on July 15, showed Madigan's political committee paid that firm $140,564 for "legal fees."

In total, Friends of Madigan paid $284,260 in legal fees between April 1, 2019, through June 30, 2019.

Madigan, long seen as the most powerful political figure in the state, is embroiled in a federal civil lawsuit brought following the 2016 election in which he was challenged for his House seat by political newcomer Jason Gonzales. The lawsuit alleges that Madigan's political operation recruited two fake candidates and put them on the ballot in order to dilute the Hispanic vote.

A recent court filing by attorneys for Madigan states, "... even if Plaintiff’s allegations were true Defendants’ purported conduct would be protected by the First Amendment."

Madigan easily defeated Gonzales in the race for the statehouse seat in the March 2016 Democratic primary. Five months later, Gonzales filed his lawsuit.

The payments to Hinshaw & Culbertson began in July 2017, according to public records.

As well as being the long-serving speaker of the House, Madigan chairs the Illinois Democratic Party and is the 13th Ward Democratic committeeman.

His political operation is also under scrutiny following the February aldermanic elections when another political neophyte challenged incumbent 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn.

David Krupa, 19, alleged in a separate federal lawsuit that Madigan's political team used intimidation and harassment to try and get him kicked off the ballot. Krupa remained on the ballot and was easily defeated.

A spokesman for Madigan did not respond to request for comment.

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<![CDATA[Read Full Text of House Resolution Condemning Trump's 'Racist Comments']]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 13:01:13 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Pelosi-AP_19175749761932.jpg

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on a formal resolution condemning President Donald Trump's weekend tweets aimed at four congresswomen of color that have been widely condemned as racist and "xenophobic," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday.

Pelosi, who has said Trump's campaign slogan truly means he wants to "make America white again," wrote in a letter to colleagues that "the House cannot allow the President’s characterization of immigrants to our country to stand."  

The resolution "strongly condemns" Trump's "racist comments" and says they "have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."

The resolution is sponsored by New Jersey Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski, who was born in Poland and joined by others born outside the U.S.

Read the full text of the Resolution below:

RESOLUTION
Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.

Whereas the Founders conceived America as a haven of refuge for people fleeing from religious and political persecution, and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison all emphasized that the Nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families;

Whereas the Declaration of Independence defined America as a covenant based on equality, the unalienable Rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and government by the consent of the people;

Whereas Benjamin Franklin said at the Constitutional convention, ‘‘When foreigners after looking about for some other Country in which they can obtain more happiness, give a preference to ours, it is a proof of attachment which ought to excite our confidence and affection’’;

Whereas President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, ‘‘Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists’’;

Whereas immigration of people from all over the Earth has defined every stage of American history and propelled our social, economic, political, scientific, cultural, artistic and technological progress as a people, and all Americans, except for the descendants of Native people and enslaved African-Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants;

Whereas the commitment to immigration and asylum has been not a partisan cause but a powerful national value that has infused the work of many Presidents;

Whereas American patriotism is defined not by race or ethnicity but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion, and democracy and by service to our communities and struggle for the common good;

Whereas President John F. Kennedy, whose family came to the United States from Ireland, stated in his 1958 book ‘‘A Nation of Immigrants’’ that ‘‘The contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national life. We see it in religion, in politics, in business, in the arts, in education, even in athletics and entertainment. There is no part of our nation that has not been touched by our immigrant background. Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.’’;

Whereas President Ronald Reagan in his last speech as President conveyed ‘‘An observation about a country which I love’’; Whereas as President Reagan observed, the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors, and it is the Statue of Liberty and its values that give us our great and special place in the world;

Whereas other countries may seek to compete with us, but in one vital area, as ‘‘a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world, no country on Earth comes close’’;

Whereas it is the great life force of ‘‘each generation of new Americans that guarantees that America’s triumph shall continue unsurpassed’’ through the 21st century and beyond and is part of the ‘‘magical, intoxicating power of America’’;

Whereas this is ‘‘one of the most important sources of America’s greatness: we lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people -- our strength -- from every country and every corner of the world, and by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation’’;

Whereas ‘‘thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge’’, always leading the world to the next frontier;

Whereas this openness is vital to our future as a Nation, and ‘‘if we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost’’; and

Whereas President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) believes that immigrants and their descend3 ants have made America stronger, and that those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations;

(2) is committed to keeping America open to those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression, and those who are willing to work hard to live the American Dream, no matter their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin; and

(3) strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should ‘‘go back’’ to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as ‘‘invaders,’’ and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.



Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gator in Humboldt Park Lagoon Caught After Weeklong Search]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 12:36:18 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gator+captured+thumb.png

The alligator in Chicago's Humboldt Park Lagoon was captured overnight into Tuesday morning after a weeklong search mission that drew national attention. 

Chicago officials and wildlife experts caught the alligator in the overnight hours, police said early Tuesday, one full week after it was first spotted swimming in the lagoon.

The gator was first seen the morning of July 9. Photographer Rencie Horst-Ruiz told NBC 5 she was at the lagoon around 6:30 a.m. when she saw the alligator and snapped photos. She reported the creature appeared about 4 or 5 feet long.

Illinois Conservation Police and Animal Care and Control responded to the scene hours later to investigate. 

Animal Control then brought in a reptile specialist dubbed "Gator Bob" who took over the effort to place live humane traps that night. The creature continued to evade capture for days, at which point city officials decided to take a new approach. 

The east side of the lagoon was fenced off from the public entirely on Sunday night and an expert from Florida was brought in to try his hand at the hunt. 

The CACC hired Frank Robb, an alligator expert who owns Crocodilian Specialist Services in Florida. Robb was recommended by local experts in Florida, and arrived in Chicago Sunday for an examination of the area surrounding the lagoon.

No traps remained in the water as of Monday evening, according to Chicago Animal Care and Control Executive Director Kelley Gandurski, who said Robb was instead focused on tracking the animal, which was last officially spotted early Thursday morning.

Officials warned that crowds gathering at the lagoon may have "altered" the animal's behavior.

"He was hiding," Grandurski said, noting the closures were put in place to capture the animal and not out of concern for the public. 

So what happens next, now that the creature has been captured? 

"We want to ensure it can be moved to a permanent home in an appropriate location – not a lagoon in a Chicago park," Gandurski had previously said.

Officials said that upon capture, the animal would be taken to the nearest zoo to be seen by a reptile veterinarian. Further information on where the animal's new permanent home would be remained unclear.

Officials believe the alligator was being kept as a pet before it was taken to the lagoon. 

Grandurski said such an incident is rare in the Chicago and the city "hopes to keep it that way." She urged anyone with exotic pets to call animal control instead of releasing such an animal into the wild. 

"Dumping it into a lagoon is the last thing you should do," she said. 



Photo Credit: Chicago Animal Care and Control]]>
<![CDATA[What'll Happen to the Humboldt Park Gator After It's Caught?]]> Mon, 15 Jul 2019 20:17:37 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gatorwatchChappell_3434115_14990141_17286.JPG

Chicago officials and wildlife experts have spent nearly a week working to safely capture an alligator "hiding" in Chicago's Humboldt Park Lagoon, but what will happen after the reptile is finally caught? 

"We want to ensure it can be moved to a permanent home in an appropriate location – not a lagoon in a Chicago park," said Kelley Gandurski, executive director for Chicago Animal Care and Control. 

Officials had previously said that upon capture, the animal will be taken to the nearest zoo to be seen by a reptile veterinarian. Further information on where the animal's new premanent home would be remained unclear.

According to Grandurski, the hunt for the alligator is an "hour to hour situation," but should the alligator evade capture, experts believe it could survive a Chicago winter.

"I have been told that even in freezing conditions if he finds a warm brush to go under or some kind of a barrier he can survive the winter," Grandurski said. 

As part of a new strategy to catch the alligator that’s been on the lam for almost seven days, the city has instituted new closures around the water and called in a gator expert from Florida to bring the reptilian saga to an end.

The eastern half of the Humboldt Park Lagoon was be closed to the public beginning Sunday night, and will remain closed until the alligator is captured, CACC said.

The western half of Humboldt Park will remain open, including the swimming area and the field house, officials said. 

The new strategy comes as the CACC hired Frank Robb, an alligator expert who owns Crocodilian Specialist Services in Florida. Robb was recommended by local experts in Florida, and arrived in Chicago on Sunday for an examination of the area surrounding the lagoon.

"Mr. Robb is a native Floridian," Grandurski said. "He has grown up around alligators and crocodiles." 

No traps remained in the water as of Monday evening, Grandurski said, with Robb instead focused on tracking the animal, which was last officially spotted early Thursday morning. 

"He is using different methods of tracking the alligator than what [Gator Bob] used," Grandurski said, refering to a volunteer alligator trapper who had been brought in to help captured the creature last week. 

Officials warned that crowds gathering at the lagoon may have "altered" the animal's behavior. 

"He was hiding," Grandurski said, noting the closures were put in place to capture the animal and not because of concern for the public. 

Officials believe the alligator was being kept as a pet before it was taken to the lagoon. 

Grandurski said such an incident is rare in the Chicago and the city "hopes to keep it that way." She urged anyone with exotic pets to call animal control instead of releasing such an animal into the wild. 

"Dumping it into a lagoon is the last thing you should do," she said. 

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<![CDATA[Tarik Cohen Reveals Brother Paralyzed in Shooting]]> Mon, 15 Jul 2019 21:32:57 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WEBCohenonbrother_3434980_14991378_2100.JPG

Chicago Bears star Tarik Cohen will be arriving at training camp next week with a new purpose.

The running back revealed that his younger sibling was shot in North Carolina in early June and is “probably paralyzed from the waist” down.

Cohen had up until now not spoken of the tragedy that struck his family during the offseason, but when he saw a young camper in a wheelchair at a youth football camp in Greensboro over the weekend, he connected and decided to share his story.

“I just saw my brother in him,” Cohen said Monday at his youth football ProCamp at Elk Grove High School. “And I just saw how much fun he was having and it just made me think of my brother.”

Cohen has been spending a lot of time with his family since the incident, he said.

“I feel like I was injured also,” Cohen said. “Someone I’ve been around my whole life. I feel like we’re one. He’s not a different person, we’re the same person. So if anything affects him, it affects me. That’s my little brother. I’ve done the best to protect him his whole life. So then when this happened, it was like a culture shock to me.”

Though heartbreaking, Cohen said the incident only adds “fuel to the fire” for him as approaches the upcoming season.

“I want to just, like I know it’s not possible, but just feel like I want to walk for him,” Cohen said. “I want to do things, experience things in my life and let him see those things so that he can feel like as if he’s done it also.”

“He’s my purpose,” Cohen added. “They’ve always been my purpose. My brothers and my mom.”

The Raleigh Police Department could not immediately be reached for comment on the shooting. 

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<![CDATA[One Giant Leap: The First Moon Landing in Photos]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 06:48:39 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP6907200866.jpg
Apollo 11 landed on the moon nearly a half-century ago on July 20, 1969. Six hours after landing, on July 21, U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to step onto the lunar surface. Armstrong and the other astronauts aboard Apollo 11 received a hero's welcome upon their return to Earth.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Memorial Service Planned for Ross Perot in Dallas ]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 17:41:46 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/h-ross-perot-obit-image.jpg

Billionaire, politician and iconic Texan, H. Ross Perot, was laid to rest in a private ceremony Tuesday ahead of a public memorial service.

Perot died Tuesday, July 9, at the age of 89.

A memorial celebrating his life was held at Highland Park United Methodist Church and was attended by Gov. Greg Abbott and Representatives Roger Roger Williams, Kay Granger, and Dr. Michael Burgess.

Speakers included Perot's son, Ross Perot, Jr., longtime friend Ken Langone, the co-founder of Home Deport and Brigadier General Peter Dawkins.

Prior to Tuesday's service, Perot was laid to rest at Sparkman-Hillcrest Cemetery in a private service attended by family. The graveside services was preceeded by an F-16 missing man flyover conducted by the U.S. Air Force who wanted to honor Perot for his commitment to the military and veterans.

History will likely remember Perot for his political career and business acumen. But those who knew him personally -- and those touched in some way by his philanthropy -- said his true legacy will be the contributions he made to the Dallas community.

"Ross Perot and his generosity have made a major impact," said Melissa Morton, a registered nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas.

The hospital has been a longtime benefactor of the Perot family. Their Center for Women and Infants is named in honor of his wife, Margot Perot.

Since 1983, they've delivered more than 120,000 healthy babies there -- a testament, Morton says, to the Perot family's contributions.

"Those funds helped us create the first building in the Dallas area that was designed especially to care for women and infants," said Morton. "Our NICU is the best in the city. And we're able to provide the best, most compassionate care to families."

As a tribute to him, the hospital gave each mother staying in the center a bouquet of roses Tuesday -- one yellow rose representing his wife, and five red roses representing his children -- as well as a note, expressing how his support impacts every family that comes through there.

The self-made billionaire founded Electronic Data Systems Corporation and Perot Systems Corporation. He was also well-known for two runs as an Independent presidential candidate and for championing health care for military veterans.

Read more on Perot's life, here and see more in the stories below.



Photo Credit: Perot Family, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA['Today We Can't Breathe': Garner's Mom Vows to Keep Fighting]]> Tue, 16 Jul 2019 12:29:10 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gwen+carr+tuesday.jpg

The U.S. Department of Justice will not file charges against the NYPD officer accused of using a deadly chokehold on Eric Garner, whose final words, "I can't breathe," became a rallying cry for the national Black Lives Matter movement, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday. 

U.S. Attorney General William Barr made the final decision, a senior official said, adopting the recommendation of prosecutors in Brooklyn. Lawyers in the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, however, had a different view of the case and believed charges could have been pursued, according to two officials.

"Everyone agrees the incident should not have ended with Garner's death," the senior official said, but added that relevant law requires proof that the officer acted "willfully," which requires an analysis of the cop's state of mind. 

Under Supreme Court cases, that means it has to be more than a mistake or a momentary lapse of judgement -- and after watching Garner's dying video "countless times," the senior official says, "We concluded that the evidence was not convincing that the officer acted willfully." 

“We prosecute people for what they do on purpose. We would have to prove that in that struggle, a dynamic situation, that the officer decided he was then going to apply that hold, that it was wasn’t just a mistake,” the official said.

In formally announcing the decision later Tuesday, federal prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to determine the officer acted in violation of the federal criminal civil rights act and declared the longstanding investigation closed.

The decision, which came nearly five years to the day that Garner died on a Staten Island street corner after being stopped for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, left his family reeling.

"Today we can't breathe because they have let us down," Gwen Carr, Eric Garner's mother, said at a press conference after the decision was made public. "We have been on the forefront. We have followed it up. We had to go. We had to fight. This is not a easy fight but we kept on pushing." 

"And make no mistake about we're going to still push," she added. "You could push back but we're pushing forward because this is not the end."

Garner's daughter, Emerald Snipes Garner, said, "The federal government does not want to prosecute Pantaleo for killing Eric Garner! If you're not standing for firing Pantaleo you are standing for nothing!"

It was on July 17, 2014 that NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is white, was seen in widely watched cellphone video putting Garner, an unarmed, black 43-year-old father, in an apparent chokehold move banned by the department. 

The video showed Garner gasping for air, repeatedly saying "I can't breathe." The medical examiner's office ruled the cop's move contributed to Garner's death by asphyxiation, but citing Garner's health -- obesity, high blood pressure and other issues -- as a contributing factor. Ultimately, his death was ruled a homicide. A Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo on any state criminal charges four months after Garner's death, but then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a federal civil rights investigation the same day, promising it would be "independent, thorough, fair and expeditious."

The senior official said federal investigators weighed multiple factors in determining there wasn't enough evidence Pantaleo acted willfully in Garner's death, including that cops tried other techniques to try to subdue him. 

"It’s constant motion involving several bodies, adjusting to each other’s movements," the senior official said. "We couldn’t establish that the officer had the clarity of mind necessary to prove willfulness, as the law allows."

Pantaleo, meanwhile, remains a New York City police officer. He awaits a judge's verdict in his NYPD disciplinary trial, which wrapped up last month. Ultimately, though, it'll be up to NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill to determine whether to fire Pantaleo or allow him to keep his job on the force.

The NYPD addressed the DOJ decision with a simple tweet, saying its disciplinary case was ongoing and "a determination has NOT yet been made. Today's announcement by the US Department of Justice does not affect this process." 

A city spokesperson said that decision is expected by the end of August. 

The Police Benevolent Association, meanwhile, lauded the federal decision Tuesday and said that if the NYPD disciplinary case is decided "on the facts, free of improper political influence," that Pantaleo would be fully exonerated.

"Although Mr. Garner’s death was an undeniable tragedy, Police Officer Pantaleo did not cause it," PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. "Scapegoating a good and honorable officer, who was doing his job in the manner he was taught, will not heal the wounds this case has caused for our entire city."

But New York City is not the same city it was five years ago, Mayor de Blasio said in a scathing statement blasting the DOJ decision. 

"We are a different city, and we must act like a different city. Years ago, we put our faith in the federal government to act. We won't make that mistake again," the mayor said. "Moving forward, we will not wait for the federal government to commence our own disciplinary proceedings. This further reform will make sure no family ever waits years for the answers they deserve."

In any future cases where an unarmed civilian dies in a case involving a police officer, the NYPD or the Civilian Complaint Review Board will begin disciplinary processes immediately, unless the victim's family requests that the police commissioner let the criminal case proceed first or a judge compels the city otherwise. 

"The city will call for congressional action or executive rulemaking that compels the Justice Department to notify families within one year of whether it intends to proceed with a case of death of an unarmed civilian involving a police officer, and immediately notify the family if the DOJ subsequently closes or reopens the investigation," the new policy reads. "If new facts arise after the one-year deadline, the federal government should be able to re-open the investigation and move forward with litigation within the statute of limitations."

The U.S. Justice Department had faced a deadline Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of Garner's death, to decide whether to file civil rights charges against Pantaleo or others involved in the fatal arrest on a Staten Island sidewalk. The statute of limitations on most federal charges is five years.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Cubs Trade Montgomery to Kansas City Royals]]> Mon, 15 Jul 2019 23:02:34 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-818893614.jpg

Mike Montgomery, the Chicago Cubs pitcher who was on the mound when the Cubs clinched their World Series victory in 2016, is being traded to the Kansas City Royals for catcher Martin Maldonado, the Cubs announced Monday. 

The 32-year old catcher had been pulled from the Royals’ game earlier Monday evening and there had been rumblings of a potential trade involving the Cubs' left-handed pitcher. 

Maldonado is hitting .227 with six homers, 17 RBI and a .647 OPS for the Royals this season. He is in the final year of his contract.

Montgomery has struggled so far this season with a 5.67 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in 20 games for the Cubs. Still, the team noted he "recorded a supremely important out in franchise history, closing out Game 7 of the 2016 World Series with a groundball to third base to record the save and help cap the Cubs' first World Championship in 108 years." 

In a separate roster move, the Cubs will place catcher Willson Contreras on the 10-day injured list with a foot injury.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lightfoot Writes Open Letter to Trump on ICE Raids]]> Mon, 15 Jul 2019 11:18:36 -0500 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1139521702.png

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrote an open letter to President Donald Trump, published in The Washington Post on Sunday, in which she urged him to "rethink the harmful policies" his administration "is promoting both at the border and within the homeland."

Lightfoot's letter was published the same day immigration raids began in several cities across the country, Chicago included, expected to target 2,000 immigrants, a senior U.S. official told NBC News.

"On Friday, I ordered my city’s police department not to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on any activities within the city of Chicago and not to allow ICE agents access to our police databases," Lightfoot's letter began. She added that Chicago's law department had also issued new protocols advising personnel at city-owned facilities not too cooperate with ICE, and that the city had increased funding for a legal defense fund to assist undocumented residents.

"I took these steps in response to a set of policies from your administration that don’t make us safer or stronger as a nation," Lightfoot wrote. She called for Trump work towards reforming the "broken" immigration system, saying she was "horrified by the treatment and death of children in detention."

One of ten cities that sources said was targeted for the ICE raids beginning Sunday, Chicago is home to 180,000 undocumented people, Lightfoot said.

"Every day, when I talk to immigrants, asylum seekers and advocates, what I hear is fear, confusion and anxiety," she wrote. "Fear of families being separated, confusion about the scope of their rights and anxiety that the next knock on the door, the next traffic stop could irreparably upset the lives they have built for themselves in our city."

"The threats and realities of stepped-up enforcement have not had the deterrent effect you intended, because the people you are targeting are not actually the problem," she continued. "They came to the United States in search of a better life, free from violence, crushing poverty and oppressive governments that restrict their basic rights. They work in our local businesses, they build and repair our streets, buildings and other infrastructure. They are our neighbors, they are our family members, they are part of our community. They contribute to our economy in meaningful ways."

Immigration officers had not confirmed any arrests as of Monday morning, though some in largely Hispanic communities said their neighborhoods were quiet much of the weekend, with more residents staying inside amid the threat of deportations.

Some immigration advocacy groups and activists demonstrated a show of support, with thousands taking to the streets Sunday to protest the raids. Volunteers also canvassed neighborhoods with legal advice, telling undocumented immigrants to not open their doors or let agents into their home without a warrant, to remain silent, to not sign anything they don't understand and to ask law enforcement officials which agency they are from.

Lightfoot had previously said on Wednesday that the city had cut ICE off from access to any Chicago police databases and would not cooperate with the department in any raids.

"Chicago is and will always be a welcoming city that will never tolerate ICE tearing our families apart in our communities. The threat of raids has forced our residents to hide in the shadows, live in constant fear and not go to school or show up for work," Lightfoot said when asked about the raids at a news conference.

"Any such efforts by ICE in our city will be met with fierce resistance from Chicagoans who have been organizing tirelessly in their communities, and with an unshakable resolve to stand with, and never against, our immigrant neighbors," Lightfoot wrote Sunday. "I urge you again, Mr. President, to find your conscience before you do further damage to the lives of these children and families, and to the standing and respect our country has enjoyed in the world."



Photo Credit: Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images]]>