“In an African-American community, it’s a slap in the face for them to honor someone who was a slave owner” – AUGUST 16, 2017

Chicago pastor James Dukes has asked Mayor Rahm Emanuel to remove the names of George Washington and Andrew Jackson from parks on the south side of town.

Dukes, the pastor at Liberation Christian Centersaid, “When I see that, I see a person who fought for the liberties, and I see people that fought for the justice and freedom of white America, because at that moment, we were still chattel slavery, and was three-fifths of humans. Some people out here ask me, say ‘Well, you know, he taught his slaves to read.’ That’s almost sad; the equivalent of someone who kidnaps you, that you gave them something to eat. In an African-American community, it’s a slap in the face and it’s a disgrace for them to honor someone who was a slave owner.”

The pastor also wants Andrew Jackson’s name to be removed from Jackson park because he owned slaves and even suggests it be renamed after Rev. Jesse Jackson or singer Michael Jackson.

After the violent clash in Charlottesville, Virginia Trump held a press conference and told the media, “They were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

The left heard Trump loud and clear and are now on a crusade to delete all remnants of racial tension from American history.


“Great Society” programs of FDR, LBJ collapsing under mountain of debt

Jerome Corsi | – JULY 7, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With Illinois making last-ditch efforts to hold off an imminent statewide bankruptcy, we may be witnessing the beginning of the end for Democratic Party socialist rule at the state and local level, as well as collapse of the FDR-LBJ “Great Society” social welfare state.

Late Thursday night, the Illinois Democrat-controlled House overrode by a 71-42 vote Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto to pass a massive tax hike that includes a $5 billion income tax increase for the residents of the state.

Rauner had begged the General Assembly to sustain his vetoes of a $36 billion spending plan financed with a $5 billion income tax increase, arguing the 32 percent income tax increase amounted to “a 2-by-4 smacked across the foreheads of the people of Illinois.”

During the era of the last Illinois tax hike, from 2011 through 2014, the three major credit rating agencies have downgraded Illinois’ credit rating five times, with Moody’s announcing on Wednesday that simply passing a budget would not be enough to avoid Moody’s Investors Service from downgrading Illinois’ credit rating to “junk” status.

Illinois currently faces a $203 billion unfunded liability for state and local pensions that include fire and police pensions, plus over $6 billion in unpaid state debts.

Tax increases in the past have not worked, as evidenced by the $31.6 billion increase in tax revenue to Illinois from 2011-2014 resulting from the 2011 income tax increase resulted not in a reduction of Illinois’ pension debt, but in a $25 billion increase in the state’s unfunded pension liability.

With the fiscal crisis in Illinois, Democrats may have reached the end of their ability to tax and spend – a policy Democrats have advocated nationally since President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the “Social Welfare State” during the Depression, brought to a new level with President Lyndon Johnson’s proclamation of the “Great Society” in 1964.

Illinois is already the most taxed state in the nation, with state and local governments effectively taxing median households at 14.76 percent through a combination of income and sales, plus the second-worse property taxes in the nation, such that people in homes with U.S. median home value pay over $4,000 a year in property taxes.

The result is the median Illinois household pays $8,162 in annual state and local taxes, including sales taxes, property taxes, and income taxes – estimated to be the highest in the nation, forcing profitable business and high net-worth taxpayers to flee in droves.

Polling by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found that 47 percent of registered voters in Illinois would like to leave the state, while 20 percent report they are likely to leave in the next year.

The Paul Simon Institute polling also reflects United States Census Bureau data, that confirm the severity and worsening of Illinois’ out-migration problem, in which Illinois has lost 700,000 people on net to other states over the last decade.

The truth is that Illinois remains buried under a massive amount of state debt that tax increases have reached the end of being able to solve.

From 2011-2014, while the income tax increase voted by the State legislature resulted in a $31.6 billion increase in tax revenues, Illinois $7.9 billion in unpaid debts dropped by only $1.3 billion.

In other words, it took $31.6 billion of new tax revenue to reduce the backlog of Illinois state bills by merely $1.3 billion, while unfunded pension liabilities in the state grew an additional $25 billion.

With tax increases resulting in more high net-worth taxpayers and profitable businesses leaving the state, rating agencies like Moody’s are doubtful the tax increase passed Thursday will do much of anything to improve the state’s rapidly deteriorating fiscal situation.

Moody’s, in announcing Illinois’ credit rating is under review for a downgrade to “junk” status, noted the tax increase passed on Thursday was passed almost exclusively with Democratic Party votes in the legislature, while Democrats in passing the tax increase did nothing to reduce Illinois state spending.

Moody’s has also cautioned that Illinois is just the first state to face bankruptcy, as unfunded liabilities for U.S. state public pensions across the country are expected to balloon by 40 percent to $1.75 trillion through fiscal 2017.



By Sara Burnett

(AP)Illinois is on track to become the first U.S. state to have its credit rating downgraded to “junk” status, which would deepen its multibillion-dollar deficit and cost taxpayers more for years to come.

S&P Global Ratings has warned the agency will likely lower Illinois‘ creditworthiness to below investment grade if feuding lawmakers fail to agree on a state budget for a third straight year, increasing the amount the state will have to pay to borrow money for things such as building roads or refinancing existing debt.

The outlook for a deal wasn’t good Saturday, as lawmakers meeting in Springfield for a special legislative session remained deadlocked with the July 1 start of the new fiscal year approaching.


That should alarm everyone, not just those at the Capitol, said Brian Battle, director at Performance Trust Capital Partners, a Chicago-based investment firm.

“It isn’t a political show,” he said. “Everyone in Illinois has a stake in what’s happening here. One day everybody will wake up and say ‘What happened? Why are my taxes going up so much?'”

Here’s a look at what’s happening and what a junk rating could mean:


Ratings agencies have been downgrading Illinois’ credit rating for years, though they’ve accelerated the process as the stalemate has dragged on between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who control the General Assembly.

The agencies are concerned about Illinois’ massive pension debt, as well as a $15 billion backlog of unpaid bills and the drop in revenue that occurred when lawmakers in 2015 allowed a temporary income tax increase to expire.

“In our view, the unrelenting political brinkmanship now poses a threat to the timely payment of the state’s core priority payments,” S&P stated when it dropped Illinois’ rating to one level above junk, which was just after lawmakers adjourned their regular session on May 31 without a deal.

Moody’s did the same, stating: “As the regular legislative session elapsed, political barriers to progress appeared to harden, indicating both the severity of the state’s challenges and the political difficulty of advocating their solutions.”


Think of it as a credit score, but for a state (or city or county) instead of a person.

When Illinois wants to borrow money, it issues bonds. Investors base their decision on whether to buy Illinois bonds on what level of risk they’re willing to take, informed greatly by the rating that agencies like Moody’s assign.

A junk rating means the state is at a higher risk of repaying its debt. At that point, many mutual funds and individual investors — who make up more than half the buyers in the bond market — won’t buy. Those willing to take a chance, such as distressed debt investors, will only do so if they are getting a higher interest rate.

While no other state has been placed at junk, counties and cities such as Chicago, Atlantic City and Detroit have. Detroit saw its rating increased back to investment grade in 2015 as it emerged from bankruptcy — an option that by law, states don’t have.


Battle says the cost to taxpayers in additional interest the next time Illinois sells bonds, which it inevitably will need to do in the long-term, could be in the “tens of millions” of dollars or more.

The more money the state has to pay on interest, the less that’s available for things such as schools, state parks, social services and fixing roads.

“For the taxpayer, it will cost more to get a lower level of service,” Battle said.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza, who controls the state checkbook, agreed.

“It’s going to cost people more every day,” she said. “Our reputation really can’t get much worse, but our state finances can.”


Because the state has historically been a significant funding source to other entities, such as local government and universities, many of them are feeling the impact of Illinois’ worsening creditworthiness already.

S&P already moved bonds held by the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority — the entities that run Navy Pier, McCormick Place, and U.S. Cellular Field — to junk.

Five universities also have the rating: Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University.

*(From the sanctuary city of Chicago and the Mexican street gangs) – Mass shooting at Brighton Park memorial claims lives of brother and sister

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By Jeremy Gorner and Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas

Adriana Williams and her brother Michael stopped at a makeshift memorial on Sunday afternoon for a friend gunned down hours earlier on a street in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood.

On Monday, a new memorial went up — this one for the two Williams siblings after they were killed and eight others wounded when two gunmen armed with rifles stepped from an alley and opened fire at mourners at the friend’s memorial.

The group had been celebrating the life of 26-year-old Daniel Cordova, who was shot and killed about 13 hours earlier, when the shots rang out.

“They were just coming to pay their respects,” said Willie Glover Jr., an older brother of Adriana, 27, and Michael, 24. “You expect people to respect that.”

Chicago’s worst mass shooting in almost four years comes amid conflict by as many as four Mexican gangs battling over turf in Brighton Park and neighboring Back of the Yards and less than a week after two plainclothes Chicago police officers — mistaken for rival gang members — were shot and wounded. Of particular concern to police is that in recent months the gangs have increasingly been using military-style weapons, including in the shooting of the two officers.

According to a law enforcement source, Chicago police are looking into whether rival gangs are trying to take advantage of the department’s crackdown on the La Raza street gang because of its involvement in the officers’ shooting. Police believe a rival gang, the Almighty Saints, was responsible for both shootings Sunday, the source said. Both Cordova and Michael Williams were affiliated with the Satan Disciples, police said.

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Police are concerned about further bloodshed. In an alert broadcast Monday over police radio channels, officers were told to “use caution in Satan Disciple areas.” With the shooting of multiple gang members, “a heightened level of activity from Satan Disciples is expected,” the police alert warned.

The shootings led Ald. Raymond Lopez, whose 15th Ward covers Back of the Yards and Brighton Park, to pronounce Sunday that “no innocent lives were lost” in the afternoon shooting that killed the Williams siblings and wounded the eight others near 46th Place and Rockwell Street.

“If you are hanging out with people who are recruiting 12- and 13-year-olds to join gangs and sell drugs, then you are part of the problem in this community,” Lopez told a Tribune reporter. “We need to stop beating around the bush on this, and we need the people who live here to stand up and help us stop what’s going on.”

By Monday, police were providing the alderman a security detail after he had received death threats, according to the law enforcement source.

Lopez declined to comment on the report, telling the Tribune, “I was elected to defend my residents and will continue to do so.”

On Monday, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, which offers after-school programs, violence prevention outreach and advocacy for immigration rights for the blue-collar, Latino neighborhood, sought to comfort students with the help of officials at Shields Elementary School and Shields Middle School, both located a few blocks from Sunday’s shootings.

“The kids are afraid,” said Patrick Brosnan, the council’s executive director. “They feel nervous to go outside. They are scared in their own neighborhoods.”

Just before 3 a.m. Sunday, with music blaring, Cordova posted a video to his Facebook page threatening the “opp” — short for opposition — and bragging about how he stays out on the street “day and night.” He taunted that he was sitting in a parked car alone, according to the video.

About an hour and a half later, police found his body between two parked cars at 46th Place and Rockwell Street. He had been shot in the chest.

Word of Cordova’s shooting spread on Facebook, and Lisa Vargas, who roomed with Adriana Williams, said Adriana was “freaking out” over the death.

“She was just like, ‘Nah, it wasn’t him. It can’t be him,'” Vargas said. “And I said, ‘Yeah, it was him.'”

As friends gathered at the memorial near where Cordova had been shot, police warned them they could be the targets of more gang gunfire. It wasn’t long afterward that the gunmen appeared.

Michael Williams died at the scene, and Adriana died at Stroger Hospital, officials said.

According to a Tribune analysis of its shooting database, the killing of two and wounding of eight others, including two women, marked the single worst shooting incident in Chicago since September 2013, when 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy, were shot in Cornell Square Park near 51st and Wood streets in Back of the Yards by two gunmen, one armed with an AK-47-style rifle.

“It hits hard,” said Vargas, noting one of her daughters was really close to Adriana Williams. “I was sitting here telling my daughter, ‘You could have been right there with her.’ Because she goes with her everywhere. She was always with her.”

As she talked Monday, friends set up a makeshift memorial for the Williamses in front of the two-story brick home in Little Village where Adriana lived. That’s where their friends tied yellow smiley-faced balloons on a wrought-iron fence across the sidewalk from the home.

They passed around a black marker and took turns scrawling messages on the balloons. “We Love You” and “R.I.P. Adriana.” They lit religious candles near a small pot of roses.

Glover, the Williams’ brother and the oldest of six siblings, said that he had moved out of Chicago about 15 years ago and that he and his siblings grew apart the way family sometimes does when everyone is grown and spread out.

He knew his family members lived in a tough neighborhood where gang violence was prevalent. But he didn’t believe his siblings were in a gang, though he acknowledged, “I know they live around a lot of gangs.”

Still, Glover never expected that two of his siblings would be gunned down, especially at a makeshift memorial for another homicide victim.

“The (guy) that got killed is close friends with my brother and sister,” he said. “You know, it wasn’t about who they are. It was more like just targeting anybody that was out there to gather for him. They trying to pay their respects, and they get murdered. That’s crazy.”

“They was real good people. They was very loved people. A lot of people really loved them,” he said.

Glover said his sister was a small woman whose size belied her strength and huge personality. She left behind three kids, who have recently been in the custody of the state, he said. She was trying to get her kids back, he said.

His brother showed aptitude for math and reading and made good grades in school, said Glover, who said Michael had two kids of his own.

“Michael, he was just always a good kid. He liked to play basketball. He liked to dress in real nice clothes,” Glover said. “When he was younger, I never thought him to be the type to be around this type of environment. He was just trying to be a good father to his kids.”

Police said both shootings Sunday were carried out by suspects armed with rifles.

In February, the Tribune reported that four Hispanic gangs in Brighton Park and Back of the Yards on the South Side were increasingly using rifles. Police said this area was the only one in the city where rifles styled after AR-15s and AK-47s were regularly used, a menacing new development in the gang fights.

At the time, more than 30 shootings believed to have been tied to semi-automatic rifles occurred in the two neighborhoods over the previous nine months. At least 46 people were shot in those attacks, 13 fatally.

As of Monday evening, no one was reported in custody for the Sunday shootings, but Deputy Police Chief Kevin Ryan told reporters Sunday night that investigators “have a fairly good idea who we’re looking for, we have a fairly good idea of the conflict involved and right now we’re trying to saturate the area.”

Vargas, the friend of both Williamses, said she found out about their killings when someone posted a video from the crime scene on Facebook Live.

“She’s on the ground, and they’re screaming, ‘Help her! Help her!'” she recalled.

Vargas said the last time she saw Michael Williams, who worked in a cookie factory, was earlier Sunday when he was at a Cinco de Mayo parade along Cermak Road in Little Village.

Another friend, Roselee Lopez, spoke of Michael Williams’ sense of humor.

“He loved to joke around,” said Lopez, clutching a bouquet of roses, tears streaming down her face. “Whether you had a good or bad day, he always tried to make you smile.”

Lopez said she, too, learned about the shooting from a Facebook Live video. She hopped on a CTA bus to head to the shooting scene.

“I kept on saying, ‘No, it’s not him. It’s not him. It can’t be him,'” she said. “I was just with him in the parade.

“But when I went over there and they uncovered him, that’s when I really knew.”

Chicago Tribune’s Tony Briscoe, John Byrne and Rosemary Regina Sobol contributed.

*(From the Sanctuary city of Chicago and the Mexican street gangs) – CPD orders security for Southwest Side alderman after gang threat

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By Frank Main and Jordan Owen

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) was placed under guard Monday by the Chicago Police Department after a street gang made a “credible threat” against him, sources said.

Over the past week, Lopez has angrily voiced his opposition to the street gangs suspected of several high-profile shootings in his Southwest Side ward, including two officers who were wounded last week and 11 people shot — three fatally — on Sunday.

Lopez’s home and office are being watched by officers because of a threat attributed to the Satan Disciples, sources said. Members of the gang were the targets of Sunday’s shootings in the Brighton Park neighborhood, according to police.

Lopez declined to comment on the threat before speaking at a community rally with police officials and community organizers on Monday evening at the corner of 46th Place and Rockwell, where Sunday’s shooting happened.

“Nothing that people throw my direction can compare to what my residents face on a daily basis,” he said.

The rookie alderman has maintained a high profile since he was elected in 2015.

He went toe-to-toe with Mayor Rahm Emanuel in calling for every penny of unclaimed property-tax rebate money be used to fight crime, but later backed off of that demand.

On Sunday, he told reporters he was “thankful today that no innocent lives were lost” in the Brighton Park shootings, a slap in the face of the Satan Disciples whose members were killed.

Two people who identified themselves as relatives of the people shot dead on Sunday afternoon began shouting over Lopez as he spoke at the close of Monday’s rally, which drew more than 100 neighborhood residents.

“They’re not animals!” a woman yelled. “They were people. They mattered and you’re talking about them like s—!”

“That could’ve been my baby!” another woman yelled at her.

“That was my family! They mattered!” the first woman retorted before walking away from the rally.


Police said they suspect the Latin Saints street gang was responsible for Sunday’s mass shooting in an attempt to reclaim lost gang territory.

At about 5:15 p.m., masked gunmen armed with assault rifles opened fire at 46th Place and Rockwell, shooting 10 people and killing two of them, a man and a woman.

The victims had been gathered on the street at a makeshift memorial for a 26-year-old man who was killed earlier on Sunday just down the block.

Police knew the memorial could attract more gang violence and officers had driven past it shortly before the mass shooting, said one police source, calling it “brazen.”

The shootings involved assault rifles, police said.


Police are now watching for the Satan Disciples to retaliate for Sunday’s shootings. People lighted candles on Monday night in memorials along a row house near the shooting scene.

“This won’t ever end,” a 21-year-old man named Rigo said after the rally. “I had a memorial for my two brothers killed last month. Just a matter of time till the next one.”

Arturo Rodriguez, who has raised three sons with his wife in Brighton Park for 25 years, said he heard the gunfire from Sunday’s shooting.

“It’s really scary. I don’t even like my wife walking far down the block to her car now,” he said.

Concern over the gang conflicts in Lopez’s ward rose to a new level on May 2 when two plainclothes tactical officers were shot at 43rd and Ashland in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

Earlier that day, a La Raza member was shot by rivals near 20th and Halsted while riding in a black Nissan, police say. After the victim was taken to the hospital, police let the men in the Nissan drive away. But tactical officers followed them in an unmarked van.

Police supervisors called off the surveillance, but the gang members in the Nissan apparently knew the van was tailing them. They alerted fellow gang members, who shot at the van with a .223-caliber high-powered rifle, authorities say.

One officer was struck in the back and another — the son of a deputy chief — was hit in the arm and hip, police said. The officers were treated at Stroger Hospital and released.

On Monday, Angel Gomez, 18, a reputed La Raza member, was ordered held without bail on charges of attempted murder and attempted battery in the officers’ shootings. Police said they think the gang members thought the officers were members of a rival gang — and not cops.

Sources said gangs in Back of the Yards and Brighton Park know La Raza will come under intense scrutiny from the Chicago Police Department for the rest of the year because of the shooting of the two officers. That’s expected to create a power vacuum in those neighborhoods and in other parts of the city, which La Raza’s rivals will try to exploit.

Police officers have been on high alert in Back of the Yards and Brighton Park in recent months because many of the gang shootings in those neighborhoods have involved assault rifles that are capable of piercing officers’ body armor.

In Back of the Yards, 35 people have been shot in 2017 — six of them this past weekend alone. In Brighton Park, 36 people have been shot this year, including the 11 shot on Sunday at 46th Place and Rockwell.

Despite all of that violence, shootings and killings were down in the Deering and Chicago Lawn police districts through the end of April, compared with the first four months of 2016. The Latin Saints, Latin Souls, Satan Disciples, La Raza, Almighty Saints and Latin Kings are among the gangs that have been driving the violence there.

Citywide, 1,093 people have been shot in 2017, according to Sun-Times records.

*(FROM THE SANCTUARY CITY OF CHICAGO) – Prosecutors: Gunman fired 25 shots into van, wounding two cops last week

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By Nereida Moreno

A gunman fired 25 shots into a covert van carrying two plainclothes Chicago police officers from just a few feet away, showering them with shrapnel and wounding both last week, Cook County prosecutors revealed Monday.

The gunman opened fire from the front passenger seat of a minivan but quickly jumped to the back, opened the sliding side door of the minivan and continued firing his military-style semi-automatic rifle, prosecutors said.

The hail of bullets was captured on a Chicago police pod camera and surveillance video in the South Side’s Back of the Yards neighborhood shortly after 9 p.m. last Tuesday, prosecutors said in court as a judge ordered no-bond for the driver of a stolen gang van used in the shooting.

One officer, 25, sustained gunshot wounds to his left hip, his left upper arm and his right flank, while the second officer, 38, suffered lacerations and cuts to his upper back. Both were released from Stroger Hospital the day after the shooting.

Prosecutors said the suspects, both members of the La Raza street gang, thought they were shooting at rival gang members, not police officers.

Prosecutors said the driver, Angel Gomez, 18, confessed on video to detectives, admitting he drove the van used in the shooting. He was charged with two counts each of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.

Police are still looking for the gunman.

The two officers, both Deering District tactical officers, were investigating a gang shooting near Halsted Street and Archer Avenue earlier that Tuesday. They became concerned that gang-affiliated individuals in a Nissan Murano could attempt to retaliate for the shooting, so they began following the vehicle in their unmarked black conversion van, prosecutors said.

The occupants of the Nissan Murano as well as another gang vehicle — a red van — noticed the black van following them and believed them to be rival gang members, prosecutors said. The occupants of the red van alerted gang members in two other vehicles by phone that they were being followed by rivals, according to prosecutors.

At this point, as the Nissan Murano and red van turned off onto side streets, the two officers decided to end their surveillance and started to head back to the Deering District station, prosecutors said.

But by then the other vehicles were onto the van containing the officers. The officers, believing they were in danger, turned eastbound on 43rd Street, prosecutors said. It was then that a stolen Town and County minivan driven by Gomez pulled up beside the officers’ van on the driver’s side and the gunman in the front passenger seat opened fire from a few feet away, prosecutors said.

After firing several shots, the gunman jumped to the back, opened the sliding side door of the minivan to give himself a better angle and continued to fire his rifle, prosecutors said.

One of the bullets struck the gas tank area, draining fuel and causing the police van to slow as the hail of gunfire continued, prosecutors said.

The officers were able to return fire, striking the tires and the trunk of the minivan driven by Gomez, prosecutors said.

Despite the tires being shot out, Gomez was able to drive the minivan to 43rd and Ashland Avenue and flee on foot with the gunman, prosecutors said. A police K-9 unit later recovered the rifle stashed near railroad tracks in a small lot nearby.

Prosecutors said a witness positively identified Gomez as the driver of the minivan.

The officers were investigating a gang-related shooting that occurred earlier in the evening about 6:30 p.m. near 18th and Halsted streets in the Pilsen neighborhood, about 3 1/2 miles northeast of where the officers were shot, police said. In that earlier shooting, a 15-year-old boy was wounded in the left leg. Police said either that victim or people he was with at the time were affiliated with La Raza.

In February, the Tribune reported that gangs in Back of the Yards and Brighton Park were increasingly using rifles. Police said that was the only area of the city where rifles styled after AR-15s and AK-47s were regularly used, a menacing new development in the gang fights.

At the time, there had been more than 30 shootings believed to have been tied to semi-automatic rifles in the two neighborhoods over the previous nine months. At least 46 people were shot in those attacks, 13 fatally.

Police suspected the rifles were being passed around by members of four rival Mexican gangs in the area — La Raza, the Almighty Saints, Satan Disciples and Gangster Two-Six.

Before Tuesday, the last time a Chicago police officer was shot was Nov. 27 in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. That officer suffered a graze wound to the forehead while police exchanged gunfire with Richard Grimes. Officers fatally shot Grimes, 33, who police said had just shot his pregnant fiancee in the abdomen.