Suspect in Illinois deputy shooting death arrested

A man suspected of fatally shooting a sheriff’s deputy and wounding a woman at a Rockford, Illinois hotel was taken into custody Thursday after an hourslong standoff. Prosecutors say Floyd Brown faces charges including first degree murder. (March 8)

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Gunman fled Ill. hotel after shooting officer

A man suspected of shooting an officer Thursday at a northern Illinois hotel before fleeing the scene has crashed his vehicle along an interstate about 170 miles (273.5 kilometers) away, according to police. (March 7)

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After Jussie Smollett, Politicians May Stop Tweeting For Free Woke Points (HBO)

When Empire actor Jussie Smollett said last month that he’d been the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime, a lot of politicians immediately tweeted out their support of the actor.

Particularly for Democrats, the story of Smollett being attacked by two white men who put a noose around his neck, called him racist and homophobic slurs, and hailed “MAGA country” was a perfect encapsulation of the Trump-influenced hatred they stood against, and an opportunity to reiterate their own values.

Over the past few years, politicians, both liberal and conservative, have used public outrage tweets as a low-effort way to play to their base.

But that strategy may no longer be viewed as a safe one.

Thursday morning, Smollett turned himself in to Chicago police, who say he orchestrated the whole thing, and filed a false police report. In Illinois, this is a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. Smollett’s lawyers maintain his innocence.

Donald Trump, who initially showed sympathy for Smollett, saying that the alleged attack was “horrible” and “doesn’t get worse”, has now gone on the offensive, tweeting that Smollett had insulted “tens of millions of people” with “racist and dangerous comments.”

But pivoting hasn’t been so easy for Democrats who had tweeted support for Smollett, and many have begun to walk back their statements. Right-wing commentators have had a field day bashing initial supporters such as Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris, who tweeted that the alleged attack was a “modern day lynching,” and Nancy Pelosi, who called it an “affront to our humanity” (Pelosi has since deleted her tweet).

Despite clear evidence that hate crimes are on the rise, conservative commentators often insist that reports of hate crimes are either exaggerated or false.

For them, this incident has been a lucky break.

Smollett has not been found guilty of anything, and it is entirely possible that he will be exonerated. But the doubt surrounding this case doesn’t only affect Democrats — it will likely have serious implications for politics in general.

In recent years, victims of hate crimes could often count on politicians to publicly support them. For the politician, it may have been a selfish PR move, but it did have the positive effect of helping to put those issues into the national conversation.

But after Jussie Smollett’s arrest, politicians will likely be much more reluctant to step forward and support movements for social justice.

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Police: Aurora attacker shouldn’t have owned gun

Police say the fired worker who killed five people at a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, was able to buy the gun he used because an initial background check didn’t catch that he had a prior felony conviction in Mississippi. (Feb. 16)

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Active shooter reported at Illinois industrial park

City officials report an active shooter situation at an industrial park in Aurora, Illinois. Local media reporting multiple people injured. (Feb. 15)

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Lawyer: Convicted officer beaten in prison

An attorney for the white Chicago police convicted in the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald says the officer was beaten by fellow inmates within hours of his transfer from an Illinois prison to a federal prison in Connecticut. (Feb. 14)

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AP Top Stories February 11 P

Here are the top stories for Monday, February 11th: White House refuses to rule out possibility of another government shutdown; Illinois AG wants new sentence for Jason Van Dyke; Denver teachers strike over pay; Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show underway.

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Prosecutors seek new sentence in Van Dyke case

Illinois’ attorney general says he’s asking the state Supreme Court to order a new sentence for the white Chicago police officer who fatally shot black teenager Laquan McDonald. (Feb. 11)

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Rising temps cause ice jams on Illinois river

(1 Feb 2019) The extreme cold that hit the Midwest this week may be over, but some people in low-lying areas of Illinois are concerned about possible flooding. Ice jams have formed on the Kankakee River an hour south of Chicago (Feb. 1)

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Wind chills plummet to 47 below in Chicago

(30 Jan 2019) Wind chills have dipped as low as 47 degrees below zero in Chicago. Schools, museums, courts and other facilities across Illinois closed because of the dangerous cold Wednesday. (Jan. 30)

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