Stories by Heather Cherone

(WTTW News)

Police Oversight Board Votes to Permanently Scrap New Chicago Gang Database

The unanimous vote by the interim Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability caps an effort that began in 2017 to stop the Chicago Police Department from using databases to track Chicagoans they believe to be in a gang.

Chicago Police Department Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

City Council to Reconsider Lawyers’ Recommendation to Pay $2M to Family of Man Killed by Chicago Police Officer After 2014 Foot Chase

It is unclear what prompted the decision to reconsider the proposed settlement after the Chicago City Council rejected it in July on a vote of 22-26.

(WTTW News)

Prosecutors Do Not Plan to Call Former Ald. Solis to Testify Against Former Ald. Burke

During an April 2022 court hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu called Solis one of the most significant government informants and witnesses of the last several decades. But prosecutors do not plan to call him during the trial of former Ald. Ed Burke, set to start Nov. 6.

Demonstrators march in Chicago on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, to show their support for removing police officers from schools. (WTTW News)

Chicago Police Didn’t Track How Long It Takes Officers to Respond to Half of 911 Calls: Watchdog

Inspector General Deborah Witzburg said city officials and police brass are “ill-equipped to evaluate and improve response times, simply because, more often than not, we have no information on when the police arrive to respond to an emergency.”

(WTTW News)

Election 2024 Begins: Candidates for County and State Races Start Gathering Signatures

A slate of county and state offices is up for grabs in March, including state’s attorney and circuit court clerk as well as a key seat in the Illinois House to represent the city’s Northwest Side.

Mayor Brandon Johnson calls for President Joe Biden to allow migrants sent to Chicago from Texas to work, alongside Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

Pritzker, Johnson Press Biden to Allow Migrants to Work While Seeking Asylum

More than 2,000 men, women and children are being forced to sleep on the floors of police stations across the city and at O’Hare Airport, according to city data released by the mayor’s office Wednesday.

(WTTW News)

As Close Aides Face Prison Time, Madigan Preps for Trial Against Undefeated Prosecutors

Madigan, 81, once so dominant that he was known as the “velvet hammer,” was at the heart of the allegations that led to 32 guilty verdicts in those trials. He now faces an uphill battle to avoid guilty convictions to match his former chief of staff Tim Mapes and longtime political confidant Mike McClain.

A former U.S. Marine Corps facility in the North Park neighborhood of Chicago is pictured on Aug. 28, 2023. (WTTW News)

Key Panel Advances Plan to Transform Former Chicago Marine Corps Facility into Migrant Shelter

The number of migrants living at police stations and O’Hare rose 28% between Aug. 18 and Friday. All are waiting for space to open up in one of 15 city shelters, which housed more than 6,500 migrants as of Friday, according to city data.

A homeless encampment in Humboldt Park. (WTTW News)

Proposal to Hike Taxes on Sales of Million-Dollar Homes to Fight Homelessness Gains Momentum

A revised version of the proposal known as “Bring Chicago Home” has Mayor Brandon Johnson’s support, setting up a fierce debate in the coming weeks over how the city should fight homelessness.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023. (WTTW News)

Johnson Walks Political Tightrope in 1st 100 Days as Allies Press Him to Deliver and Critics Seize on Missteps

Mayor Brandon Johnson, a former middle school teacher, told WTTW News on Thursday’s “Chicago Tonight” that he would give his administration an A-minus “at least for style,” with much more work to be done.

Mayor Brandon Johnson addresses reporters on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, before introducing Chief Larry Snelling as his pick to lead the Chicago Police Department. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

Chicago Police Department Staffing Steady During Johnson’s First 100 Days: Data

The size of the Chicago Police Department is essentially unchanged since Mayor Brandon Johnson took office 100 days ago. There are 12,363 employees, including 11,722 sworn officers.

Chicago Police Department Headquarters, 3510 S Michigan Ave. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Repeated Police Misconduct by 116 Officers Cost Chicago Taxpayers $91.3M Over 3 Years: Analysis

Chicago spent $197.7 million to resolve lawsuits alleging more than 1,000 Chicago police officers committed a wide range of misconduct in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Of that total, $91.3 million came from settlements involving 116 officers whose conduct led to multiple payouts.

Chicago police Sgt. Larry Snelling testified during the trial of three Chicago police officers accused of trying to cover up the killing of Laquan McDonald on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Johnson’s Pick for Top Cop Served as Go-To Expert Witness in Police Misconduct Trials

Chief Larry Snelling, tapped by Mayor Brandon Johnson to lead the Chicago Police Department, served as an expert witness in more than two dozen civil and criminal cases involving police officers, according to court records reviewed by WTTW News.

Dr. Allison Arwady appears on "Chicago Tonight" on Oct. 18, 2022. (WTTW News)

Outrage Over Allison Arwady’s Firing Puts a Spotlight on Brandon Johnson’s Public Health Agenda

During his campaign for mayor, Brandon Johnson promised to fire Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, and Friday night, he did just that — setting off a wave of recriminations and outrage.

Flooded streets in Chicago are pictured on July 2, 2023. (Paris Schutz / WTTW News)

Biden Approves Disaster Relief for Cook County Residents Whose Homes Flooded During Severe July Storms

Cook County residents are now eligible for assistance, including grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, officials said.

In this file photo, Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward) speaks at a Chicago City Council meeting. (WTTW News)

Former Ald. Brookins Won’t Have to Pay $5,000 For Violating Ethics Ordinance After Lawsuit Against Ethics Board Is Dismissed

Chicago Board of Ethics Chair William Conlon said the settlement was “in the best interest of everyone,” while former Ald. Howard Brookins said he had been vindicated.

Larry Snelling and Mayor Brandon Johnson shake hands while addressing the media during a press conference announcing Snelling’s appointment as the Chicago Police Department’s superintendent Aug. 14, 2023. (WTTW News)

‘A New Chapter’: Larry Snelling Introduced as Chicago’s Next Top Cop

“This is an extremely important day for the city,” Snelling said Monday. “For people who grew up like I did — a resident of Englewood and a student of the Chicago Public Schools — I want you to know the possibilities are limitless.”

A residential street in Wicker Park in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Pritzker Signs Bill Designed to Revamp Property Tax Sale System That Fueled ‘Urban Decay’

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas called the legislation “the most significant property tax reform legislation the General Assembly has approved in decades.”

Larry Snelling (Credit: Chicago Police Department)

Mayor Brandon Johnson Picks Chicago Police Veteran Larry Snelling to Serve as Top Cop

Larry Snelling, a longtime Chicago Police Department insider with a decades-long career in law enforcement, has been tapped to lead the department as the city’s next top cop.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Taxpayers Spent $280M to Resolve Police Misconduct Lawsuits from 2019 to 2023: Analysis

“We are writing enormous checks and leaving a tremendous opportunity for reform on the table,” Inspector General Deborah Witzburg said. “It is a staggering amount of money.”

Members of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless rally in support of the Bring Chicago Home ordinance on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

Proposal to Hike Taxes on Sales of Million-Dollar Homes to Fight Homelessness Gets City Hall Spotlight

Supporters of the proposal say the change will help the nearly 66,000 Chicagoans who are unhoused by generating approximately $160 million annually — enough to address the root causes of homelessness by building new permanent housing that offers wraparound services like substance abuse counseling.

(WTTW News)

Efforts to Move Migrants Out of Police Stations Stalled, Officials Say

Nearly 12,000 people, most of them from Central and South America, have arrived in Chicago in the past 11 months, stretching the city’s safety net beyond its breaking point.

Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg appears on “Chicago Tonight” on July 25, 2023. (WTTW News)

Chicago Watchdog Vows to Ramp Up Enforcement of Ethics Laws, Address ‘Deficit of Legitimacy’

“These are the rules that stand between us and government illegitimacy,” Inspector General Deborah Witzburg said.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Chicago Spent $126.5M on Police Overtime in 6 Months, an Almost 50% Jump Over Last Year: Records

It took less than five months for the Chicago Police Department to exhaust the $100 million earmarked for overtime set by the Chicago City Council as part of the city’s 2023 budget, according to data obtained by WTTW News through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Dirksen Courthouse is pictured in Chicago. (Capitol News Illinois)

Family of Man Killed by Chicago Police Officer After 2014 Foot Chase Asks Judge to Reopen Lawsuit City Council Refused to Settle

The city and its lawyers will now have to convince a jury that two officers did nothing wrong when they fired 16 shots at Darius Cole-Garrit, 21, at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 19, 2014, after a brief foot chase on the city's Far South Side.

(WTTW News)

Push to Reopen Public Mental Health Clinics in Chicago, Expand 911 Alternate Response Takes Center Stage at City Hall

A decade-long push to reopen public mental health clinics closed in 2011 and expand efforts to respond to 911 calls for help not with police officers but with social workers and counselors was center stage at City Hall Monday.