Stories by Matt Masterson

‘We Cannot Normalize This Behavior,’ Lightfoot Says After Spike in Juvenile Shooting Victims

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a press conference on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (WTTW News via Mayor’s Office)

On the same day a funeral was held for the 8-year-old girl who was shot and killed last week while riding in a vehicle with her family, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city must do more to protect its juveniles during a historic uptick in violence.

Indoor Dining Returns to Will, Kankakee Counties After Drop in Positivity Rate

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Restaurants and bars in Will and Kankakee counties — Region 7 of the state, as outlined in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan — can once again offer indoor dining and service beginning Friday evening.

Netflix Series Star Jerry Harris Charged With Producing Child Pornography

Harris, of Naperville, was arrested Thursday

Dirksen United States Courthouse (Ken Lund / Flickr)

Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris, known for his role on Netflix’s cheerleading reality show “Cheer,” has been charged in federal court with producing child pornography after he allegedly enticed underage children to send him sexually explicit photos and videos.

Chicago Police Seek Community Feedback on Officer Interactions, Other Issues

(WTTW News)

The CPD launched a series of public surveys, with the goal of hearing what Chicagoans have to say about several policing policies and making adjustments based on those responses. 

Despite Big Ten’s Reversal, Pritzker Says Youth Sports in Illinois Will Remain on Hold

(KeithJJ / Pixabay)

Citing a lack of widespread safety protocols and limited COVID-19 testing capacity, the governor on Wednesday doubled down on his stance that it’s not yet safe for youth athletes to begin playing football or other fall sports.

‘It’s Beyond Frustrating,’ Top Cop Says After Man Out on Bail for Gun Offense Charged in Fatal Shooting

(WTTW News)

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown again criticized a perceived lack of consequences for gun offenders after a weekend in which 53 people were shot in the city, 10 fatally.

CPS: ‘Overwhelming Majority’ of Students Attend First Day of Remote Classes, But Rate Down Over Past Years

(ArtisticOperations / Pixabay)

Chicago Public Schools said 84.2% of its students attended remote learning classes Tuesday, the first day of the new year. That figure is down about 10% over each of the past four school years.

$10K Reward for Information About Labor Day Killing of 8-Year-Old Dajore Wilson

(WTTW News)

“We need help,” CPD Area One Commander Jarrod Smith said Friday. “So whatever you can do … if you have information, give us a call. There’s no such thing as too much information in a criminal investigation.”

Chicago Police Run Training Exercises Aimed at Improving Response to Looting

(WTTW News)

Police Superintendent David Brown said the so-called “tabletop exercises” involved officers responding to hypothetical looting reports to test the effectiveness and quickness of their response.

Barr Touts Fed’s Role in Decreasing Chicago’s Violent Crime, But Homicides Still Up 50%

U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks about Operation Legend in Chicago on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Pool camera)

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said 500 arrests have been made and 124 defendants charged in federal court in connection with Operation Legend, a partnership between federal and local law enforcement agencies aimed at combating violent crime.

Teen Denied Bond in ‘Methodical’ Stabbing of Walgreens Employee

Walgreens, 1372 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Google Street View)

A Cook County judge has denied bond for the 18-year-old high school student who is accused of calmly and methodically stabbing a Walgreens employee to death Sunday inside the Wicker Park store where she worked.

Teen Suspect Charged in Fatal Stabbing of Walgreens Employee Inside Store

Walgreens, 1372 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Google Street View)

Chicago police have charged Sincere Williams, 18, with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of a Walgreens employee as she was stocking shelves inside a Northwest Side store Sunday.

Teachers Excited, Anxious About New School Year as Remote Learning Resumes in Chicago

(ArtisticOperations / Pixabay)

Beyond first-day jitters, Chicago educators expressed concerns over stable internet connections and checking in with students about COVID-19 as classes in Chicago Public Schools resumed Tuesday for a fall unlike any other.

CPS Announces Record High 5-Year Graduation Rate

(WTTW News)

CPS CEO Janice Jackson said 82.5% of students earned a diploma within five years, an increase from 80.9% in 2019 using revised methodology, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feds to Resume In-Person Visits at MCC, Other Federal Prisons

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

The federal Bureau of Prisons announced it will resume visits for inmates at its 122 facilities beginning Oct. 3, though these meetings will include several safety precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Pritzker ‘Very Concerned’ About COVID-19 Spread During Upcoming Labor Day Weekend

2,128 New COVID-19 Cases in Illinois, 27 Additional Deaths

(WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois health officials are stressing the need to wear masks properly, covering the mouth and nose, and social distance during gatherings this weekend as positivity rates continue to rise throughout the state.

‘A Tragedy on so Many Levels’: Friend Charged in Murder of Youth Activist Caleb Reed

Caleb Reed, a student at Mather High School on the city’s North Side, speaks about his experiences with school resources officers at an event Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Reed, 17, died over the weekend after being shot last week. (WTTW News)

Genove Martin was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and has been ordered held on $300,000 bond. Prosecutors allege he accidentally shot Reed on July 31 after he opened fire on a passing vehicle.

Chicago Tops 500 Homicides in 2020, Surpassing Last Year’s Total

(WTTW News)

Police recorded 63 homicides in August, bringing the yearly total in Chicago up to 506, surpassing last year’s total with a full quarter of the year to go, according to data released Tuesday by the Chicago Police Department.

Attempted Murder Charges Filed Against Teen Who Allegedly Shot 2 Chicago Police Officers

(WTTW News)

The Chicago Police Department announced the charges Monday against 19-year-old Jeffon Williams, who was also shot and wounded during the incident in the Homan Square neighborhood early Sunday.

Judge Refuses to Release Full Report Into Kim Foxx’s Handling of Jussie Smollett Case

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaks to the media Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, after a night of unrest in Chicago. (WTTW News)

A judge has denied a request to make public an investigatory report into the handling of the high-profile case by the Cook County State’s Attorney and her office, days after the special prosecutor released the findings of that investigation.

1,707 New COVID-19 Cases in Illinois, 24 More Deaths

(WTTW News)

Eight Cook County residents were among the 24 deaths reported by Illinois health officials Thursday as the state nears 8,000 virus-related deaths and more than 227,000 cases of COVID-19.

Top CPS Official Charged With Lying to FBI

(WTTW News)

Pedro Soto, a high-ranking Chicago Public Schools official, has been charged with lying to FBI investigators about giving non-public information to a lobbyist on behalf of a bidder seeking a $1 billion custodial services contract.

Board of Education Renews SRO Contract With Chicago Police

Youth activists organized a peaceful march to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home on Aug. 13, 2020 to demand the removal of resource officers from Chicago Public Schools. (Matt Masterson / WTTW News)

Resource officers will remain in Chicago Public Schools once in-person learning resumes after the Board of Education approved a new contract with the Chicago Police Department.

CPS: 18K-Plus Students Signed Up for Free Internet via ‘Chicago Connected’ Program

(ArtisticOperations / Pixabay)

More than 18,000 CPS students have signed up to receive free internet access through the Chicago Connected program. With classes beginning remotely in just two weeks, city officials expect that number to continue growing exponentially.

Kindergarten Readiness Up in Illinois, But Advocates Say More Must Be Done to Fill Gaps

(FeeLoona / Pixabay)

The number of Illinois kindergarteners hitting readiness requirements has increased statewide, but more than two-thirds of students are still not meeting those goals. Education advocates say there’s more work that must be done to eliminate systemic inequalities.