Chicago news roundup: Biden pardons Chicagoan Abraham Bolden

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a high near 49 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low around 33. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high near 43.

Top story

Biden pardons Chicagoan Abraham Bolden, first Black Secret Service agent on White House detail

President Joe Biden today pardoned Abraham Bolden, the Chicago man who was the first Black Secret Service agent to serve on a White House detail, and who maintained charges against him that led to prison time were trumped up.

Bolden “has steadfastly maintained his innocence, arguing that he was targeted for prosecution in retaliation for exposing unprofessional and racist behavior within the U.S. Secret Service,” the White House said in announcing Biden’s clemency actions.

For Bolden, 87, who served on President John F. Kennedy’s detail, the pardon was a long time coming.

Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell made the case for a pardon in a January column headlined “It’s long past time to finally clear first White House Black Secret Service agent’s name,”

Bolden, Mitchell noted, “chronicled his journey from a ‘first’ to a ‘disgraced’ Secret Service agent in his 2008 memoir ‘The Echo from Dealey Plaza.’”

As Mitchell wrote, “After he complained about agents drinking on the job and showing up unfit for duty and after he threatened to reveal the agency’s shortcomings in protecting the president, he was charged with bribery in a case involving a counterfeiting defendant. After being tried twice, he was convicted in 1966 and was sentenced to six years in federal prison. He served three years and nine months behind bars.”

Lynn Sweet has more on Bolden’s pardon here.

More news you need

  1. The Archdiocese of Chicago has reached an $800,000 settlement over claims of sexual abuse by five Chicago-area priests, according to lawyers representing the alleged abuse victims. Famed Holy Angels pastor Rev. George Clements and Brother Edward C. Courtney were among those who had faced claims of abuse detailed in the settlement.
  2. Surviving spouses of Chicago police officers who commit suicide would receive the same financial benefits afforded to families of officers killed in the line of duty under a proposed ordinance. The proposal has already drawn support from the entire City Council and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
  3. Prosecutors yesterday agreed to throw out a 1991 murder conviction of Daniel Rodriguez, who spent more than 30 years claiming he was framed by former Chicago police Detective Reynaldo Guevara. This marks the 21st time a case handled by Guevara had been overturned based on allegations of misconduct by the detective, Rodriguez’s lawyer said.
  4. Two North Shore brothers who joined the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol avoided prison time when they were sentenced by a federal judge today. The judge instead sentenced Christian Kulas and Mark Kulas Jr. to six months of probation, including two months of home detention, noting that neither man joined in the violence that day.
  5. Last year, the city’s inspector general demanded changes in policy, training and employee protection for the Chicago Fire Department. A follow-up report released yesterday has found only one of five corrective actions recommended in that audit has been fully implemented.
  6. Federal prosecutors have insisted on taking four people charged with conspiring to bribe then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to trial in front of a jury, rather than letting a judge decide the case. The feds’ preference was revealed today during a status hearing in the case, which was filed in November 2020, more than a year before Madigan’s indictment in March.
  7. Ending an impasse that has threatened the future of the Chicago Reader, co-owner Leonard Goodman said today he will approve the publication’s transfer to nonprofit status and give up any control over it. David Roeder has more on the conflict surrounding the Reader’s future here.
  8. Graduate student workers at University of Illinois-Chicago returned to classes today, ending a six-day strike with a marathon bargaining session that ended late yesterday. The Graduate Employee Organization Local 6297, which represents 1,500 grad students who work mostly as teaching and research assistants, said the agreement secures a 16% pay increase over the life of the three-year contract.
  9. In other union news, a Starbucks store in suburban Cary has become the first in the Chicago area whose employees have voted for union membership. Workers at the Cary store, 620 Northwest Highway, voted 17-4 to join Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.
  10. The official day-to-day lineup for Lollapalooza 2022 was released today, with Metallica, Dua Lupa, J. Cole and Green Day set to headline July 28-31. See the full schedule here.

A bright one

Plant-friendly muralist: ‘If someone says they don’t like flowers, I think they’re lying’

Louise “Ouizi” Jones grew up in Los Angeles surrounded by floral pillowcases and fabrics inspired by her immigrant parents’ Chinese culture.

As a child, she’d paint flowers with her mother, using watercolors. Now living in Detroit, Jones has painted four murals around Chicago and in Evanston filled with large-scale versions of her signature floral motif.

“If I can make art that kind of mirrors the most pure thing in the world, it’s flowers,” Jones says.

Like “West Town in Bloom,” her latest, which features giant peonies, camellias, black-eyed Susans and apple blossoms — flowers commonly found in the city.


Louise Jones, who also goes by Ouizi, paints flowers with each of her murals, including her latest in Chicago in West Town, which she calls “West Town in Bloom.” She painted it on a wall outside West Town Bakery, 1916 W. Chicago Ave.

“If someone says they don’t like flowers, I think they’re lying,” says Jones, 34.

On a wall outside West Town Bakery, 1916 W. Chicago Ave., her latest Chicago mural features larger-than-life flowers and a red admiral butterfly.

She originally painted it in 2018 but has repainted it several times because of graffiti, most recently last summer, when she added some flowers.

Alec Karam has more on Ouizi’s work here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s the first sign of spring in Chicago?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What changes would you like to see Twitter make after completing its sale to Elon Musk?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Verified users (not blue checks) and the ability to block all unverified users. That will see to the bots.” — Mark Housler

“I would love to see them get an edit button.” —Elizabeth Ramos

“Flag Tweets with misinformation/lies.”— Cynthia Borbas

“An edit button and more character space to write my tweets.” —Dewayne Smith

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