Stories by Matt Masterson

R. Kelly Hit With New Federal Indictment in Ongoing Sexual Abuse Case

In this June 26, 2019, file photo, R&B singer R. Kelly, center, arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court building for an arraignment on sex-related felonies in Chicago. (AP Photo / Amr Alfiky, File)

Already facing the possibility of three separate trials in 2020, the R&B singer was hit with a new federal indictment this week alleging he engaged in sexual activity with a minor in the late 1990s.

Senn High School Staffer Removed Amid Investigation Into Racial Discrimination Allegations

Senn High School (Wikimedia Commons)

The teacher who was accused by a Hispanic student of telling her to “go back to your country” after she refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance has been removed from the school.

Kim Foxx Allowed to Continue Use of Outside Lawyers in Jussie Smollett Case

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Sept. 17, 2019. (WTTW News)

Judge Michael Toomin denied a petition from Sheila O’Brien, who argued that Kim Foxx’s hiring of attorneys from outside her office should not be allowed under state statutes.

Senn High School Students Hold Sit-In After Racial Discrimination Allegations

Female student said teacher told her to “go back to your country”

Senn High School (Wikimedia Commons)

Students inside a North Side high school staged a sit-in Wednesday following allegations that a school staffer told a female student to “go back to (your) country” after she refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance.

Widow of Slain Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer Suing Online Arms Marketplace

Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer

“If the Armslist Defendants had acted with reasonable care – instead of callous and willful disregard of human life – Commander Bauer would still be alive,” a federal complaint states.

Mother of Teen Killed Inside Cook County Jail Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

Leticia Ruiz says the Cook County sheriff failed to protect her son from a reputed gang member who allegedly beat him to death inside the jail earlier this month, and that the “vicious and violent” beating was avoidable.

Grand Jury Indicts Jussie Smollett in Alleged Hoax Attack

Six-count indictment accuses actor of making four separate false reports

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, center, arrives at Leighton Criminal Court Building for a hearing to discuss whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during his disorderly conduct case on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo / Matt Marton)

Nearly a year after he was charged with lying to police about orchestrating an attack on himself, the former “Empire” actor is again facing charges in Cook County court.

12 Men Have Convictions Tossed in Latest Mass Exoneration Tied to Ex-Chicago Sergeant

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaks with reporters following a hearing inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (Matt Masterson / WTTW News)

Nearly 100 felony drug convictions tied to disgraced former Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts have been tossed out since 2017. 

New Bill Could Give Illinois Students Time Off to Address Mental Health Issues

(Don Harder / Flickr)

State Sen. Rob Martwick says the bill would grant students up to five excused absences from class to let them “take care of their mental health, just like they would be with a broken bone or the flu.”

Chicago Police Union President Faces 4 Challengers in March Election

Kevin Graham appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 7, 2019. (WTTW News)

Officers in Chicago’s largest police union will have a choice in their leadership next month as the organization enters its third straight year without a contract, a department overhaul and an impending decision on a new superintendent.

Chicago Police Make Arrest in Blue Line Passenger Shooting

Patrick Waldon (Chicago Police Department)

The arrest came in large part, police said, due to surveillance footage captured by the CTA and witnesses who identified the suspect in photo arrays.

Lincoln Park HS Leader Out Amid Allegation of ‘Improper Contact’ With Student

A still image from a video provided to WTTW News allegedly shows Lincoln Park High School leader Judith Gibbs grabbing a student. Gibbs decided to leave the school Wednesday. (WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools has opened an investigation into Judith Gibbs after a video shared with students allegedly shows her grabbing a student’s face inside the school.

Outgoing CPS Watchdog Admits Some Complaints Against Him Were ‘Justified’

Inspector General Nicholas Schuler says Mayor Lightfoot requested resignation

CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Jan. 6, 2020. (WTTW News)

CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler said allegations that he made sexist or racist comments are “totally baseless.” But he admitted that he was a “frequently impatient boss” who drove his employees “sometimes excessively hard.”

Passenger Shot on CTA Blue Line Train at UIC-Halsted Station

(WTTW News)

The victim is in “very serious” condition after he was shot once as he rode a Blue Line train in what police believe may have been a targeted robbery attempt.

CPS Internal Watchdog Steps Down Amid Report of Investigation

CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Jan. 6, 2020. (WTTW News)

Nicholas Schuler submitted his resignation Monday, just days after a report by the Chicago Sun-Times detailed allegations of a “toxic workplace” inside his office.

Police: Shootings, Homicides Increase in 2020 Despite Overall Decline in Violent Crime

Interim Superintendent Beck calls increases “alarming”

(WTTW News)

Chicago saw a notable uptick in shootings and homicides in the first month of 2020, but police say that overall, violent crime incidents in Chicago actually decreased in comparison to January 2019.

Charlie Beck Announces ‘Transformative Overhaul’ of CPD Organization

Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (WTTW News)

A massive restructuring plan for the Chicago Police Department aims to streamline operations and put the department in a better position to comply with the federal consent decree.

Jussie Smollett’s Attorneys Seek Documents Related to Firing of Eddie Johnson

Jussie Smollett, left, and former Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speak to the press, separately, on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, the day prosecutors dropped all charges against the “Empire” actor. (Credit: Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times via AP; and Teresa Crawford / AP Photo)

Attorneys for the former “Empire” actor subpoenaed Chicago’s inspector general, requesting documents tied to an October 2019 incident in which the city’s top cop was found asleep behind the wheel of his car. 

Jussie Smollett Case Still Top of Mind One Year After Incident

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, center, arrives at Leighton Criminal Court Building for a hearing to discuss whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during his disorderly conduct case on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo / Matt Marton)

Wednesday marks one year since Jussie Smollett reported to police he’d been the victim of a bigoted attack near his Streeterville home. The case continues to make regular headlines, particularly as Cook County’s state’s attorney seeks re-election. We review the case.

Timeline: The Jussie Smollett Incident

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty at Leighton Criminal Court Building, Thursday, March 14, 2019. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Pool / Chicago Tribune)

On Jan. 29, 2019, Jussie Smollett reported to Chicago police that he’d been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. We review the turning points in the case.

Report: Chicago Police Prioritize Arrests of Sex Sellers Over Buyers, Traffickers

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation found that while overall prostitution-related arrests in Chicago fell by half between 2013 and 2017, the arrest of sellers of sex made up an increasingly large percentage of that total.

Von Steuben Staffer Removed Amid Allegation of Inappropriate Contact with Student

(Google Photos)

“Please know that we are taking this situation seriously, and we remain committed to providing your children with a safe, positive learning environment where they can reach their full potential,” the school’s principal wrote in a letter Thursday.

Chicago Man Arrested for Red Line Attack, Robbery

(Chicago Police Department)

Chicago police say surveillance photos released earlier this month helped detectives identify the offender.

Lawsuit: Convicted CPD Officers Used ‘Bogus’ Warrants to Raid Women’s Homes

(WTTW News)

In separate incidents, two Chicago women say multiple Chicago police officers fabricated evidence in order to unlawfully search their homes and make arrests for drug violations that were later dismissed.

R. Kelly Will Face Trial in Alleged Sex Assault of Former Hairdresser

R. Kelly appears at a hearing Tuesday, May 7, 2019 before Judge Lawrence Flood at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

The woman says she was 24 years old and working for R. Kelly when the R&B singer allegedly tried to make her perform oral sex on him in 2003.