Stories by heather cherone

Migrants are sleeping in tents outside Chicago police stations. (WTTW News)

Anger, Frustration Boil Over at Hearing on Migrant Crisis as Breach Deepens Between City, State

Ald. Pat Dowell called on Mayor Brandon Johnson to center the need of Black Chicagoans and warned that every bus that arrives “is eating away at the goodwill of the people of the city of Chicago.”

Protesters gather outside the Ogden (10th) Police District headquarters on July 7, 2023. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Probe into Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by Chicago Police Officers at Police Stations Home to Migrants Closed

There is no evidence that any Chicago police officer had sexual contact with any of the migrants forced to sleep on the floor of the stations after arriving in Chicago from the southern border, the head of the agency charged with investigating police misconduct announced Friday.

Video published by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability shows the July 22, 2022 shooting that led to two Chicago police officers being charged with aggravated battery and other charges. (Civilian Office of Police Accountability)

2 Chicago Police Officers Not Guilty in Pilsen Shooting That Seriously Injured Unarmed Man

Cook County Judge Lawrence Flood acquitted Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos, 44, and Officer Reuben Reynoso, 43, after a bench trial, finding they acted reasonably when they opened fire on two men in July 2022.

Migrants outside a Chicago police station. (WTTW News)

Johnson Administration Defends Plan to House Migrants in Tents As Pace of Arrivals Quickens, Costs Mount

The cost of caring for the migrants through the end of the year is now estimated to reach $345 million, according to updated financial projections shared by Cristina Pacione Zayas, the mayor’s first deputy chief of staff. Three weeks ago, those costs were pegged at $302 million, according to city data.

Jim Gardiner appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 27, 2019, a day after ousting two-term incumbent Ald. John Arena (45th Ward) in the municipal election. (WTTW News)

Chicago Taxpayers Pay $100K to Man Who Claimed Ald. Jim Gardiner Had Him Wrongfully Arrested

Benjamin George, a construction worker, said his life was upended on Aug. 19, 2019, when he stopped at a 7-Eleven store in Jefferson Park and mistakenly picked up a cell phone left on the checkout counter that did not belong to him.

Larry Snelling is sworn in as the Chicago Police Department’s new superintendent on Sept. 27, 2023 (Credit: Chicago Police Department)

Larry Snelling Confirmed by Chicago City Council as New Top Cop

Mayor Brandon Johnson picked Larry Snelling to implement Johnson’s pledge to fight crime in Chicago with a holistic approach that focuses on the root causes of violence.

(WTTW News)

Health Committee Agrees to Form Working Group to Reopen Chicago’s Public Mental Health Clinics, Expand 911 Alternate Response

The measure, introduced by Mayor Brandon Johnson and Health Committee Chair Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, is set for a final vote by the full City Council on Oct. 4.

Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th Ward) on the floor of the Chicago City Council. (WTTW News)

Federal Judge: Ald. Jim Gardiner Violated First Amendment by Blocking Critics from Official Facebook Page

“The record is clear that Gardiner engaged in both content-based and speaker-based restrictions on his Facebook page, according to the ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman. The Court thus finds Gardiner in violation of the First Amendment.”

Chief Larry Snelling fields questions from alderpeople at a Sept. 22, 2023, committee hearing. (WTTW News)

Committee Advances Brandon Johnson’s Selection of Larry Snelling to Lead Chicago Police Department

Snelling is one vote away from becoming the 64th superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, with final approval expected Wednesday.

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 Praise Biden for Allowing Migrants to Work While Seeking Asylum

With approximately 7,400 people taking up every available spot in 20 city shelters, more than 2,100 men, women and children are being forced to sleep on the floors of police stations across the city and at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, according to city data.

Lake Michigan. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago Sues Monsanto for Polluting City’s Air, Water, Soil with Toxic Chemicals

Representatives of Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, said Chicago's lawsuit was “meritless” because the company never manufactured or disposed PCBs in or near the Chicago area.

A server working in a restaurant. (WTTW News)

Deal to Phase Out Tipped Minimum Wage in Chicago Passed by Key City Panel

Chicago could join Alaska, California, Guam, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Washington D.C. in ending the tipped minimum wage.

Ald. Jessie Fuentes (26th Ward) said the tipped minimum wage should be eliminated to protect workers from sexual harassment, wage theft and abuse. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

How Brandon Johnson Crafted the Deal to Phase Out Tipped Minimum Wage in Chicago

Chicago is set to join Alaska, California, Guam, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Washington D.C. in ending the tipped minimum wage.

Chicago Public Library sign. (WTTW News)

Mayor Brandon Johnson Denounces Bomb Threats That Closed Chicago-Area Libraries as ‘Attack on Our Democracy’

“There are extremists in this country, right-wing extremists, who want to disrupt our form of democracy and our life,” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said. 

Olga Bautista, the executive director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, lauded Mayor Brandon Johnson's proposal. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)

Mayor Brandon Johnson Vows to Pass New Law Protecting South, West Sides from Pollution

“The time to act on environmental justice is now,”  Mayor Brandon Johnson said.

(WTTW News)

System Designed to Alert Chicago Police Brass About Officers With Multiple Complaints Was Ready 2 1/2 Years Ago but Never Implemented: Letter

The Chicago Police Department must implement an early-warning system under the terms of the consent decree, the federal court order designed to compel the department to change the way it trains, supervises and disciplines officers. CPD is in full compliance with just 5% of that 2019 court order, city data shows.

(WTTW News)

Fight Reignites Over Fears Obama Presidential Center Will Spark Gentrification

The $500 million presidential center now under construction in Jackson Park has already made South Shore “ground zero” of Chicago’s housing crisis, with a high eviction rate and surging real estate prices, according to supporters of a City Council proposal.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

City Council Votes to Pay $25M to Two Men Wrongfully Convicted of Killing Basketball Star in 1993

Chicago taxpayers have now spent $178 million since January 2019 to resolve lawsuits brought by more than three dozen people wrongfully convicted based on evidence gathered by Chicago Police Department officers, according to an analysis of city data by WTTW News.

A homeless encampment in Humboldt Park. (WTTW News)

Proposal to Hike Taxes on Sales of Million-Dollar Homes to Fight Homelessness Begins Long Journey to Ballot

Despite the enthusiasm of supporters who held a City Hall rally before the City Council meeting and packed the chambers, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) tried, but failed, to prevent it from heading directly to a committee hearing and vote.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Chicago Faces $538M Budget Shortfall in 2024, Mayor Brandon Johnson Says

The budget gap is nearly three times the size of the gap forecasted by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot as she left office, but is still smaller than any projected shortfall since 2019.

Chicago City Hall. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Johnson Transition Leader Agrees to Pay $10,000 Fine for Violating Lobbying Regulations

Djavan Conway, who served as an intergovernmental affairs advisor on Johnson’s transition leadership team, acknowledged he failed to terminate his registration as a City Hall lobbyist in January 2021, according to the settlement agreement he reached with the Chicago Board of Ethics.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Wrongful Convictions Cost Chicago Taxpayers $153M from 2019 to 2023: Analysis

That toll is set to grow in the coming weeks, as the Chicago City Council considers paying $25 million to resolve separate lawsuits filed in 2016 by two men who spent a combined 34 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of killing a basketball star in 1993.

Migrants outside a Chicago police station. (WTTW News)

Johnson Warns Cost of Migrant Crisis Could Exceed $300M in Briefings to City Council Members on Plan to House Migrants in Tents

Mayor Brandon Johnson and his top aides did not identify where they planned to build the massive tents that could shelter and feed as many as 1,000 migrants, or precisely how much it would cost Chicago taxpayers, sources told WTTW News.

Bally’s opened a temporary casino at Medinah Temple, 600 N. Wabash Ave. (WTTW News)

Place Your Bets: Bally’s Will Open Temporary Chicago Casino at Medinah Temple at 8 a.m. Saturday

Chicagoans and tourists feeling lucky can play 800 slot games and 56 table games in the century-old Shriner’s temple at 600 N. Wabash Ave., with its distinctive domed ceilings and stained-glass windows.

A southbound CTA Red Line train is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

Feds Pledge $1.95B to Fund Far South Side CTA Red Line Extension

Mayor Brandon Johnson said a $3.6 billion plan to build 5.6 miles of new train tracks, as well as four stations, would “right a historic wrong” and provide a “critical connection that has been missing for half a century.”

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)

Snelling Faces First Public Test as City Council Confirmation Hearings Loom for Police Superintendent Pick

Snelling vowed to rebuild trust between Chicagoans and the Police Department, which is struggling to reduce crime and implement court-ordered reforms designed to ensure officers no longer routinely violate the constitutional rights of Black and Latino Chicagoans.