Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan in 2014 Credit: Al Podgorski/Chicago Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Wednesday, June 14, 2017.

  • Rahm refuses to respond to attorney general Madigan’s pressure on police reform, consent decree

Mayor Rahm Emanuel refused Tuesday to directly respond to pressure from Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan on his past promises concerning police reform. Madigan criticized Emanuel’s decision to backpedal on obtaining a consent decree, which would put the Chicago Police Department under the oversight of a federal court. “I’ve seen over the years how important a consent decree can be to keep everyone and everything on track,” she told the Sun-Times. “Even very detailed plans for change bump up against resource constraints. And it’s necessary to have a federal judge to keep it moving.” When asked about Madigan’s comments, the mayor refused to respond directly, instead articulating the “three things we all agree on”: “That we continue . . . making the fundamental reforms, as we have over the last 18 months. . . . That we need an independent set of eyes like the independent monitor that we talked about, an independent voice that will ensure that we never get weak in that process. And that we should have transparency in issuing those reports along the way to make sure that we never waver.” [Sun-Times]

  • Cook County assessor Berrios calls controversial assessments “fair and accurate”

Cook County assessor Joseph Berrios slammed the Tribune‘s analysis and investigation finding that owners of high-end properties in Cook County are more likely to win property tax appeals than owners of lower-end properties, calling it “false, misleading and inaccurate,” according to WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. “The Cook County Assessor’s Office strongly disagrees with the Tribune‘s opinion, because the study they used and the methods they advocate are unreliable,” Berrios, also the chair of the Cook County Democratic Party, said at a news conference Monday. “I am again emphasizing that we assure each and every homeowner in Cook County that their assessment is as fair and accurate as possible. . . . Can there be changes needed? Yes. But that is why we have an appeal process.” [Chicago Tonight]

  • Police officers tied to Laquan McDonald shooting will return to CPD payroll

The Chicago Police Board has decided that four police officers connected to the Laquan McDonald shooting will be put back on the city’s payroll. Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson had previously recommended firing all four. But there is legal precedent for prohibiting statements made by government employees during internal investigations from being used in criminal proceedings, and the board is concerned that that could jeopardize the admissibility of evidence in the first-degree murder trial of former police officer Jason Van Dyke’s for McDonald’s death, according to the Sun-Times. “Given the importance of the criminal cases involving Mr. McDonald to our city, and the need to determine if criminal liability is appropriate, it would be a disservice to all (Mr. McDonald, his family, the citizens of Chicago, and the officers) to go forward with the Police Board discharge cases at this time,” the board wrote in a memo. The “officers’ police powers remain suspended and they will not return to the street,” said Johnson. [Sun-Times]

  • Dennis Rodman returns to North Korea as speculation swirls that Trump sent him

Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman returned to North Korea for a fifth time Tuesday, sparking speculation that he was stepping in to establish a back channel between the country and the Trump administration. (Separately, 21-year-old college student Otto Warmbier was evacuated from the country in a coma after contracting what North Korean said was botulism, then being given a sleeping pill.) Rodman, a favorite of Kim, who’s a basketball fan, and a two-time contestant on President Trump’s reality show The Apprentice, declined to comment on his “mission” apart from saying he hoped to do something “pretty positive.” Asked about Trump’s knowledge of the trip, Rodman, 56, said, “I’m pretty sure he’s happy at the fact I’m over here trying to accomplish something we both need.” [Washington Post]

  • Eagle rescued after crashing into a Gold Coast hotel Monday

An eagle has been rescued after colliding with the glass facade of the Sofitel Hotel in the Gold Coast Monday night. It was the second bald eagle to have been found injured in the last couple weeks, the Tribune reports. The first, a juvenile male discovered in Wilmette, died almost immediately, according to Dawn Keller, founder of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Barrington, where the second eagle, a one-year-old female, has been taken for care. Eagle sightings aren’t common in the Chicago area, and Keller was hopeful that the incidents were signs “that eagles are making a recovery in the area.” [Tribune]

  • Sepia owner opens a second West Loop restaurant

Emanuel Nony, owner of the contemporary-American West Loop restaurant Sepia, has opened a second, more “playful” restaurant next to it. At Proxi he and chef Andrew Zimmerman are serving a menu inspired by the street food they’ve experienced on their global travels, with eclectic offerings including fried breakfast radishes with nori butter, fried fish collars with Thai garlic-chile sauce, and lamb ribs with mango pickles and cashews. [Eater Chicago]