Leonard Gipson, one of 15 convicted men, talks to reporters after a judge in Chicago threw out their convictions. Credit: Max Herman /Chicago Sun-Times via AP

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Friday, November 17, 2017. Have a great weekend!

  • Prosecutors drop charges against 15 men allegedly framed by dirty cop

Cook County prosecutors dropped against 15 men who allegedly were framed by ex-Chicago police sergeant Ronald Watts and his team Thursday in what might be the first mass exoneration in Cook County history, according to the Tribune. It’s possible that still more exonerations are on the way, because as many as 500 convictions “tainted” by the corrupt Watts and his crew of officers need to be checked out. “It needs to be investigated and vetted about how many of those are appropriate to overturn,” the chief attorney for the exonerated men, Joshua Tepfer, said. “We are very much in the process of doing that.” Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson tried to mitigate the damage the Watts case will inevitably have on the public’s trust of the police. “The majority of police officers . . . are doing it the right way,” he insisted. “We may have bad actors just like in any profession: the media, education, clergy, doesn’t matter. All professions are going to have bad actors. It’s my job when we identify bad actors to hold them accountable.” [Sun-Times] [Tribune]

  • Emanuel appoints Andrea Zopp to police board

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed World Business Chicago CEO and former deputy mayor Andrea Zopp to the Chicago Police Board. Zopp also served as a prosecutor, ran the Chicago Urban League, and ran in the Democratic primary for Senate in 2016. “If anyone doubts Andy’s ability to call balls and strikes, you don’t have to look any further than her record,” Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said. “She has protected victims of domestic violence. She has prosecuted murderers. She has prosecuted a congressman, federally, and she has prosecuted a police officer.” [Tribune]

  • Plan accordingly: AAA is predicting “record” Thanksgiving traffic jams

The Thanksgiving holiday could be a tough one for drivers, with the American Automobile Association predicting “record” traffic delays in Chicago and other cities, according to the Tribune. From Wednesday, November 22, through Sunday, November 26, 45.5 million people are expected to on the road for the holiday. But the worst traffic in Chicago is actually expected during the evening rush hour on Tuesday, November 21, when travel times could quadruple from the mix of daily commuters and travelers. [Tribune]

  • Alleged top El Chapo lieutenant tortured and killed in Mexico

Chicago prosecutors dropped charges against Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo, according to ABC7 “a top lieutenant in El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel—and key figure in the drug lord’s Chicago case,” after learning that he’s been tortured and killed in Mexico. He was indicted by a grand jury in Chicago in 2014 but had been on the run until Mexican officials found his body “stuffed into a 55-gallon industrial drum on a dairy farm near Culiacan in Mexico’s Sinaloa state.” [ABC7 Chicago]

  • Schubas scores a James Beard Award-winning Top Chef alum

Lakeview concert venue/restaurant/tavern Schubas has brought on chef Debbie Gold, a Beard Award winner and Top Chef: Masters alumnus, to head the kitchens at Schubas and its new adjoining restaurant, Tied House. The latter will feature “creative modern American cuisine, if you had to put a name on it,” Gold told Eater Chicago. Tied House is expected to open in early 2018. [Eater Chicago]

  • Evanston favorite Tommy Nevin’s Pub closing next week

Tommy Nevin’s Pub, a favorite spot for Northwestern University students and Evanston residents alike, is closing Wednesday, November 22, according to Eater Chicago. A new 15-story, 273-unit development is set to go up in the bar’s location at 1450 Sherman. [Eater Chicago]