Stories by Matt Masterson

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.

CPS Seeking to Combat Truancy Through Attendance Tracking Program

(WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools is proposing a new agreement with a South Side nonprofit to help monitor attendance at nine high schools through home visits and other services in an effort to ward off truancy.

Chicago Legal Group: COPA Should Handle Sexual Misconduct Cases Involving Police

(WTTW News)

Citizen complaints of sexual misconduct lodged against Chicago police officers are handled by the department’s own Bureau of Internal Affairs. Why a group of Chicago lawyers and legal analysts say that should change.

Chicago Police Warn of Carjackings Near Washington Park

(WTTW News)

The incidents each involved a group of men approaching a lone woman and threatening them, sometimes at gunpoint, according to police.

Ex-Judge: Kim Foxx Shouldn’t Use Tax Dollars for Outside Counsel

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

Sheila O’Brien, who successfully petitioned for a special prosecutor to take over the Jussie Smollett investigation, is now seeking to bar the Cook County state’s attorney from using taxpayer dollars to pay for her own outside counsel.

Chicago Man Charged in Dual Carjackings of Porsche, SUV

Caleb Morales (Chicago Police Department)

A Chicago man from the South Side is facing felony criminal charges after he allegedly carjacked a Porsche and another vehicle that had two children in it on the Near North Side.

Date Set for Trial of Man Accused in Murder of CPD Cmdr. Paul Bauer

Jury selection in the trial of 46-year-old Shomari Legghette will begin Feb. 27, just over two years since Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer was fatally shot in a downtown stairwell.

Charlie Beck: Chicago Police Will Become ‘Model for Effectiveness’

Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck addresses the media following his remarks at the City Club of Chicago on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (WTTW News)

As the city continues its work to bring down the homicide rate following a 2016 spike, Chicago’s interim police superintendent believes one thing is absolutely necessary: winning back the public’s trust.

Feds Seek Resentencing of Would-Be Chicago Bar Bomber Adel Daoud

Adel Daoud, 25, appears before Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman on Monday, May 6, 2019 in Chicago. (Courtroom sketch by Thomas Gianni)

Federal prosecutors say the 16-year sentence given last year to Adel Daoud, who attempted to detonate what he thought was a bomb outside a downtown bar, is “substantively unreasonable” and failed to account for Daoud’s “commitment to violence.”

Chicago Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Sex Trafficking

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

Timothy Dorsey, 52, pleaded guilty last year to running a multistate sex trafficking ring and was implicated in the 2015 murder of one of his former prostitutes. This week, he was sentenced to a decade in prison.

Lawsuit: Doctor Fired After Blowing Whistle on Medicare Fraud, Other Violations

Dirksen United States Courthouse (Ken Lund / Flickr)

A Chicago doctor is suing her former employer, claiming she faced retaliation and was ultimately fired after blowing the whistle on alleged cost-cutting practices that she says put patients at risk.

State Legislators Search for Answers After Bombshell Isolation Room Report

Illinois state legislators, including Rep. Jonathan Carroll, heard from parents, advocates and education leaders Tuesday during a public hearing about the use of isolation and seclusion rooms across the state. (WTTW News)

Advocates and educators spoke in Chicago on Tuesday, hoping to give state leaders a better sense of what must be done to address student isolation and seclusion in Illinois schools.

CPS Watchdog Opened 450 New Sexual Misconduct Investigations in 2019

This year’s report from Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Inspector General includes data from the new Sexual Allegations Unit, which was formed in the wake of the Chicago Tribune’s bombshell “Betrayed” series.

CPS Data Shows Hundreds of Underutilized Schools

The majority of Chicago Public Schools’ district-run elementary and high schools are not being properly utilized, according to new data.

Yingying Zhang Lawsuit Against U. of I. Counselors Tossed by Judge

A memorial stone engraved with Yingying Zhang’s name in both English and Chinese on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in June 2019, two years after her disappearance. (Photo by Mark Van Moer) Inset, top: Yingying Zhang (Courtesy University of Illinois Police Department). Bottom: Brendt Christensen (Courtesy Macon County Sheriff’s Department).

The family of the murdered Chinese scholar had accused university social workers of acting with “deliberate indifference” toward warning signs shown by Brendt Christensen.

CPD to Deploy 1,300 Additional Officers on New Year’s Eve

(WTTW News)

Both local and state police will be ramping up their patrol deployments Tuesday night to maintain safety at busy New Year’s Eve events and along roads as marijuana legalization takes effect.

Ex-CPS JROTC Instructor Charged With Sexually Assaulting Student

Brian Travis (Chicago Police Department)

Brian Travis was arrested on Christmas Day at O’Hare International Airport and charged with sexually assaulting an underage female student from an Albany Park neighborhood high school.