Stories by Matt Masterson

Elected Chicago School Board Bill Passes Illinois House, Now on to Pritzker’s Desk

Supporters of an elected school board demonstrate in April 2019. (WTTW News)

The Illinois House on Wednesday approved legislation that will turn the current seven-member appointed board — the lone appointed school board in the state — into a 21-member body with elections beginning in 2024. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has strongly opposed the bill, calling it “very ill-constructed.”

Anjanette Young Feels ‘Betrayed’ by Mayor Lightfoot in Lawsuit Over Botched Raid

Anjanette Young and her attorney Keenan Saulter speak outside the the James R. Thompson Center on June 16, 2021. (Matt Masterson / WTTW News)

In the six months since Anjanette Young and Mayor Lori Lightfoot sat down for a face-to-face meeting, little has been done to correct the issues that led to the botched raid at Young’s home in 2019 or address her ongoing lawsuit against the city, her attorney said Wednesday.

Chicago Man Charged With Murder During Alleged Home Invasion Attempt

(WTTW News)

Marvin Flanagan and another suspect allegedly fired assault rifles at a Humboldt Park resident during an attempted home invasion late last year, Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday.

4 Killed, Others Injured in Early Morning Englewood Shooting

A file photo shows a crime scene blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. (WTTW News)

According to police, several people were at a gathering inside a home in the 6200 block of South Morgan Street when shots were fired following an argument. Four victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

CPS Names Interim CEO as Search Continues for Permanent Replacement

Jose Torres speaks at a news conference announcing his position as interim Chicago Public Schools CEO on Monday, June 14, 2021. (WTTW News)

Jose Torres, a former Chicago Public Schools official who previously led the second-largest school district in Illinois, will serve as interim CEO once Janice Jackson’s contract expires at the end of June.

Man Charged With Tossing Explosive Device at Naperville Restaurant Pleads Guilty

(WTTW News)

Diego Vargas, 26, entered a guilty plea on Thursday on a single count of maliciously attempting to damage and destroy a building by means of an explosive device, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Chicago Police Officer Charged in Connection to Jan. 6 US Capitol Breach

(MotionStudios / Pixabay)

Karol Chwiesiuk is facing five misdemeanor charges, including disorderly conduct, disrupting government business and entering a restricted building, according to a federal complaint filed Friday.

Chicago Man on Parole After Fatal Crash Charged With Killing Baby in Hit-and-Run

(WTTW News)

Damien Davis was allegedly driving at speeds between 90 and 100 mph last month when he struck another car on Western Avenue, killing 1-year-old Jamyah Harris.

Chicago Man Allegedly Disguised Appearance Before Attempting to Murder Ex-Wife

A file photo shows a crime scene blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. (WTTW News)

Paul Woebel, 47, allegedly donned a wig to disguise his appearance before brutally attacking his ex-wife as she walked down a sidewalk last month in Lake View East, leaving her with a fractured skull and arm as well as other injuries.

R. Kelly, Chicago-Based Attorneys Moving Toward Split Ahead of Racketeering Trial

R. Kelly appears for a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Friday, March 22, 2019 in Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

Two months ahead of his upcoming racketeering trial in New York, R&B star R. Kelly is seeking to part ways with the two Chicago-based attorneys who have been handling his many criminal cases.

Urban Prep Teachers Reach Tentative Deal, End Strike After 2 Days

Urban Prep Englewood campus (artistmac / Flickr)

Educators at the all-male charter schools will receive pay raises, back pay for the last three years when contract negotiations were ongoing and commitments from administrators to follow special education requirements to support students.

Urban Prep Teachers Go on Strike Over Contract Negotiations

Urban Prep Englewood campus (artistmac / Flickr)

Thirty-four Urban Prep Charter Academy teachers walked off the job Monday morning, weeks after a unanimous vote to strike over pay raises and an alleged refusal by the charter operator to provide some legally-mandated special education services.

CPD Taking ‘Big Swing’ With Community Policing Plan

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

Hailing the move as a “transformational moment” in the history of his department, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown on Friday announced the launch of a new community policing strategy he said will center on engagement and building trust.

No Bail for Man Charged in Shooting of Woman, Baby in West Side Home

(WTTW News)

Michael Williams, 30, allegedly punched through a window at his ex-girlfriend’s home earlier this week and fired multiple shots into the West Side residence, striking both the woman and her 20-month-old son.

Lightfoot: Senate Passage of Elected Chicago School Board Bill ‘Had Nothing to do With Democracy’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot talks about the possibility of an elected school board in Chicago at an unrelated news conference on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed concern the bill could have a “negative impact” on her ability to find the next CEO of Chicago Public Schools and said students and parents “don’t feel like they’ve been heard” by legislators about the bill.

Illinois Senate Passes Chicago Elected School Board Bill

Supporters of an elected school board demonstrate in April 2019. (WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools is currently the lone district in Illinois with a school board appointed by the mayor. But under legislation approved Tuesday evening by the Illinois Senate, the Chicago Board of Education would transition into a fully elected body by 2027.

3 Killed, 32 Shot in Chicago Over Memorial Day Weekend

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown talks about the city’s summer safety plan during a news conference June 1, 2021. (WTTW News)

The homicide total over the holiday weekend was the lowest in 10 years, police Superintendent David Brown said Tuesday, as department officials credited the city’s newly announced summer safety plan with helping to limit violence.

Summer Safety Plan Focuses on ‘Flooding’ Resources Into Historically Violent Areas: Lightfoot

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

As Chicago hits the unofficial start of summer this weekend, city officials have announced a citywide strategy aimed at preventing summer shootings and homicides by focusing resources in historically violent areas on South and West sides.

CPD Unveils New Foot Pursuit Policy After Fatal Shootings of Adam Toledo, Anthony Alvarez

(WTTW News)

Two months after the fatal police shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez, the Chicago Police Department unveiled a new policy on foot pursuits it says will better prioritize the safety of officers, the public and those being pursued.

17 People Charged in Sweeping Narcotics Investigation ‘Operation Tragic Blow’

(WTTW News)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Chicago Police Department relied on “extensive” undercover and covert surveillance operations during the multiyear probe targeting those distributing or attempting to distribute heroin and cocaine across Chicago, authorities said Thursday.

Family of Adam Toledo Launching Nonprofit to Help At-Risk Boys

Adam Toledo’s mother Betty, second from right, wipes away tears as family members of the 13-year-old fatally shot by police on March 29, 2021 announce the launch of a nonprofit honoring their son and brother on May 26, 2021. (Matt Masterson / WTTW News)

Members of Adam Toledo’s family wiped away tears on what would have been his 14th birthday as they announced a new program for boys to develop skills and values in a rural environment away from city streets.

CPS to Promote All Elementary, Middle School Students to Next Grade Level

(WTTW News)

All elementary and middle school students in Chicago Public Schools will advance to the next grade level, regardless of their academic success during the current academic year, under a new resolution to be considered by the district.

CPD Planning to Have ‘Additional Resources’ Ready on Floyd Anniversary, Memorial Day Weekend

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

Following one of Chicago’s deadliest weekends of 2021, and with the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder and Memorial Day ahead, police Superintendent David Brown says he plans to continue limiting time off for officers this week.

2 Men Charged, Held Without Bail in Shooting of 2-Year-Old Girl

(WTTW News)

The alleged shooter, 18-year-old David Contreras, has been charged with four counts of attempted murder, along with single counts of aggravated battery and unlawful use of weapon stemming from the May 14 shooting.

FOP Members Issue No-Confidence Vote in Lightfoot, Brown

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on May 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

In a video message, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara announced that his union membership spoke “loud in clear” during a general meeting Wednesday in issuing the vote against city leaders.

ISBE Passes Resolution Calling for In-Person Learning in Illinois Schools This Fall

(WTTW News)

The Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution in support of an upcoming declaration that will make it a requirement that schools reopen their doors in the fall, with only limited options for remote learning.