Chicagoans Take Part In National Day Of Protest Against Police Brutality

Nearly 500 protesters took to Chicago streets this week as part of a national day of protest against police brutality and mass incarceration. 

“In the last 30 years there has been more black youth killed by the police than black folks that were lynched from the late 1800s to the early 1900s,” said event organizer Gregory Koger of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. “This is not isolated incidents. This is not bad apples. This is part of a system of repression.”

The national day of protest is part of a month of national resistance organized by the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. In its 19th year, the month of actions seeks to bring those “under the gun and those not under the gun” together to “expose the epidemic of police brutality,” according to the group’s website.

But the mother of Roshad McIntosh just want answers. Cynthia Lane was among several people who spoke at Wednesday's rally and recounted instances in which their family members were allegedly victimized by police. Lane's son was shot and killed on August 24 by a Chicago police officer, who has yet to be publicly identified. McIntosh's death sparked several protests, including one outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office back in September.

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Chicago Activists Target 'Rubberstamp' Aldermen, Unveil Website Tracking Voting History

While the focus is on the November midterm elections, Chicago residents will soon head to the ballot box again for February’s municipal elections. In order to help voters prep for that election, community activists launched a new website Thursday designed to make the votes of Chicago aldermen more transparent and clear.

“Voters need a real tool to understand who their alderman stand for and what they stand for,” said Amisha Patel, executive director of the Grassroots Collaborative, which helped put the website together.

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McKinney, Clout & The Freedom Of The Press: Where Would Illinois Be Headed Under Rauner's Reign? (UPDATED)

Former Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney’s resignation from the paper is fueling players in both the political and media worlds to speculate about not only the future of the Windy City’s oldest news publication, but also what it means for journalism in the state in a greater sense — and what a Rauner-ruled Illinois could look like.

After 19 years at the newspaper, McKinney issued his immediate resignation Wednesday, stating in an open letter that, essentially, he had no choice but to make the “difficult decision due to the disturbing developments I’ve experienced in the last two weeks that cannot be reconciled with this newspaper’s storied commitment to journalism.”

The “disturbing developments” stem from the newspaper’s response to the “multiple tactics” GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s campaign deployed in an attempt to stop the publication of a story co-written by McKinney, Carol Marin and Don Moseley. The article detailed allegations that Rauner threatened a former employee, ex-LeapSource CEO Christine Kirk, as well as her family when it became clear that she planned to sue Rauner and his then-investment firm GTCR. Despite threats from the Republican’s campaign stating they would “go over” the heads of those working on the story, according to McKinney, the piece ran.

And that’s when the Rauner camp reportedly pounced even more viciously, penning an “opposition-research hit piece–rife with errors–about” McKinney’s wife Ann Liston, a Democratic consultant. Although Sun-Times Publisher and Editor Jim Kirk responded to the Rauner camp’s allegations of a conflict of interest, saying the “’assault’ on my integrity ’border[ed] on defamation’ and represented ’a low point in the campaign,’” according to the political reporter, actions were allegedly taken days later to silence and demote him.

Enter Sun-Times Chairman Michael Ferro.

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Report Examines Big-Money Influence In IL Guv's Race, Congressional Primaries

With just under two weeks until election day, a new analysis of campaign finance data is highlighting the "outsized influence of big money" in Illinois races.

For its report on campaign finance, the public interest group Illinois PIRG Education Fund looked at the Illinois congressional primaries as well as the last fundraising quarter in the state's tightly-fought gubernatorial race between Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and GOP challenger Bruce Rauner.

"In both, we found that donors with bigger wallets have a bigger voice in our campaigns," Abe Scarr, director of the Illinois PIRG Education Fund, said at a Tuesday press conference at Daley Plaza.

"It's becoming increasingly and blindingly clear that small-donor voices are being drowned out by a small cadre of big donors," he added. "Recent decisions by the Supreme Court have allowed a flood of big money into our elections, most notably in the Citizens United decision.

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Republicans Crow As Questions Swirl Surrounding Sun-Times' Rauner Endorsement

The Illinois Republican Party and Rauner campaign sent out manic messages to the media and supporters this weekend crowing about the Chicago Sun-Times' endorsement of the Republican gubernatorial candidate as questions swirl about the motivation behind the decision. 

After sitting out of the endorsement game for the last three years, the newspaper switched gears and enthusiastically endorsed Bruce Rauner for governor, announcing their sole endorsement in the upcoming election. The endorsement states that the catalyst behind the about face is due to the race being "simply too important to the future of Illinois for us to stay silent."

"It may well be the most important election in our state’s modern history," reads the endorsement, which was posted online Saturday and published in the Sunday paper.

And although that may very well be true, there is much speculation that the endorsement had little to do with the high stakes of the race and much more to do with Rauner's relationship with the media company and Michael Ferro Jr., chairman of Wrapports LLC, the parent company of Sun-Times Media. Rauner previously owned 10 percent of Wrapports, selling his share to Ferro for $5 million shortly before announcing his gubernatorial run. 

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