Category Archives: Uncategorized

Calloway calls for fired IPRA whistleblower to lead that agency

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William Calloway meets with Lorenzo Davis to talk about police discipline–and lack thereof–in late January 2016. Photo by Brandon Smith.
Editor’s note: the following is a lightly-edited press release given to me by William Calloway, who worked with me on the FOIA that resulted in the Laquan McDonald video. Calloway and others are advocating for Lorenzo Davis to head the Independent Police Review Authority.

Community Activists, Leaders, Supporters Demand Immediate Appointment of Former Investigator Lorenzo Davis to Head IPRA

Following the release of the Laquan McDonald & Cedrick Chatman videos, the public distrust when it comes to African-Americans and police relations is at an all time high. Activists believe this is in large part because of little-to-no disciplinary action taken against officers for misconduct. “The Independent Police Review Authority,” responsible for police misconduct investigations,”has let the community down,” says community activist William Calloway. Since its establishment in 2008, there has been over 409 police shootings with only 2 of them being founded “unjustified.”
Lorenzo Davis, a former IPRA investigator, was fired last summer by then-IPRA Chief Administrator Scott Ando, for not changing his investigative findings in the fatal officer-involved-shooting of Cedrick Chatman. After watching the Chatman video when it was released, community members and activists agree the shooting was NOT justified and have questioned why Davis was fired. Activists believe there should be community selection of IPRA’s chief, and that any mayoral appointment will be compromised.
Calloway, who was partly responsible for the release of the McDonald video, and protested for the release of Cedrick Chatman video, has spoken directly to former IPRA investigator Lorenzo Davis. Davis has said he will take into strong consideration being appointed as IPRA Chief Administration once the offer is proposed.

A newly assembled organization called the Community Accountability Council has started to work toward holding elected officials accountable for the acts of political, social, & economic injustices that are plaguing the African American Community. As its first specific demand, it calls for black elected officials to voice their support for appointing Lorenzo Davis as head of IPRA.

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MONDAY FEBRUARY 8, 2016 @ 6PM STARTING ON THE CORNER OF 87TH & COTTAGE GROVE activist, protesters, and supporters will march onto the office of 8th ward Alderman Michelle Harris, demanding her public support for the appointment of Lorenzo Davis, and protest to hold her accountable for her 100% voting record with the mayor. This will be the beginning of an initiative that will be seen over the next weeks to call for the Black Caucus to support the appointment of Lorenzo Davis as Chief of IPRA.
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William Calloway (773)-301-4682
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Newsroom security beefing up…

From a Times article featuring The Guardian’s editor testifying before a British Parliament committee:

Since the revelations, newspapers, particularly those that have dealt with Mr. Snowden’s material, have also had to adjust to a harsh new reporting environment, security experts and journalists said, as governments and others seek secret material held by reporters.

“The old model was kind of like your house,” said Marc Frons, the chief information officer of The New York Times. “You locked your front door and windows, but not your desk drawer, even if it had your passport inside. In the new model, you have locks on everything.”

The Guardian, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal declined to comment about internal security arrangements.

But Mr. Rusbridger told Parliament that the newspaper “went to more precautions over this material than any other story we have ever handled.”

I don’t fear 30

For years, I’ve sensed a weakness in how I remember my age. I have no memory “device” to help; I haven’t bothered to figure out the math to calculate it, on-the-fly, from my birth date depending on today’s date; and most importantly, it changes every year. The age I memorized last year is now wrong. I had this thought recently: “I could very easily add or subtract a year without even knowing it. I wonder if the age I tell people is right.” But I never cared to check.

For months this summer, when someone asked how old I was, I told them “28.” Because I was under the impression I was 28. Then last week, I saw that a web site thought I was 27. Uh oh, I thought. So into whatever age calculator Google brings up first, I punched my birth date. 27, it said. My nonchalance has made me a liar, though on a matter of little consequence.

I’ve stopped asking people—people who are obviously American, anyway—where they’re from, because their answer gives me little information. Some hippies live in Atlanta and some neocons live in Portland. I feel like it’s the same with age. By 25, you may have lived a lifetime. Others, through repetition and comfort, live 20 years in the span of 40.

Surely on my last birthday, people congratulated me on my correct age. Somewhere between then and now, I shifted forward a year. Wishful thinking, maybe? I don’t fear 30.

Today’s funny conversation

“What do you do outside of work, Brandon?”
“Oh, I’m a journalist.”
“But you’re not a journalist anymore, right?”
“Well, I write for the Tribune.”
“Oh shit, I guess you are a journalist.”

Heard! – A kitchen conversation

A true story, with fairly accurate quotes. Setting: an anonymous Chicago restaurant (not mine) on a slow Sunday evening.

Server to line cook: “Hey man, that big bowl o’ dicks isn’t gonna make itself.”
Line cook: “I’ll get right on that big bowl o’ dicks.”
[Manager overhears conversation from office, telephones the kitchen line]
Manager to Sous Chef: “How much longer on that big bowl o’ dicks?”
Sous Chef, calling out to kitchen: “How much longer on that big bowl o’ dicks?!”
Line cook: “We’re dragging on the big bowl ‘o dicks!!”
Prep cook: “All day, big bowl ‘o dicks!”

Tonight’s dessert creation

Had some friends over tonight. Whipped up a picture-worthy end to the meal. Check it out: avocado ice cream, fresh coconut “sashimi,” malort whipped cream, Kix (TM), and freshly ground Sichuan pepper, served with a shooter of coconut water I had drained minutes before.

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Ate at Green Zebra tonight.

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A meal of spectacular mushy peas by colleagues at Pleasant House Bakery; sour “feral” orange; and bran-flecked sourdough from Peerless Bread And Jam. Combo and cameraphone photo by yours truly.

The Green Zebra meal was pretty great. It wasn’t all perfect, but now that I’m in the industry, I think I’m going to stop calling out chefs publicly on any less-than-stellar products. If I were a chef, I’d rather someone give me suggestions one-on-one. So that’s what I’ll do for now.

The name of my Twitter feed has changed to reflect my change in philosophy. Instead of posing as a facetious resto snob, I’ll be a journalist hack who sometimes talks about food. Find me at twitter.com/muckrakery.

For the record, my favorite dishes at Green Zebra were the barley “risotto,” the mushroom pate, and a sour cherry dessert. And an orange cream soda.

Oh yes — I work in the restaurant industry. I can definitively say that now. Before, sure, I worked at the late City Provisions. (May it rest in peace.) But I wasn’t really planning for an “industry career.”

Now I can say I’m in it. Like, in it all the way. I work in the kitchen and dining room at Pleasant House Bakery—your friendly neighborhood savory pie and British food emporium. And mid-week I train as an expediter at Ruxbin Kitchen.

I need to continue the journalism life. By now, after five years, it’s in my blood. But while some ink-bloods I know mope waiting for the editors to come a-calling, I’ve found something I love. And I’m gonna fucking do it.

Postscript: Isn’t it silly to have such a golden domain name and not milk it for what it’s worth? I think I’m gonna dump a lot of ideas here in the near future. I’ve been acting like a businessman, keeping my cards near my chest. But who cares if someone takes ’em. I’ve come to think it’s all about the implementation.

Which means if I’ve given you ideas in the recent past and you’ve sat on them, you’d best get a move on.