Stories by Matt Masterson

Officer Charged After ‘Inappropriate Contact’ With Women While On Duty

Corey Deanes (Chicago Police Department)

A Chicago police officer has been arrested and charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts after he allegedly had inappropriate contact with three women on separate occasions.

Controversial Suburban Express Bus Line Abruptly Shuts Down

(Courtesy of Suburban Express)

A controversial Champaign-based bus company accused of discriminating against Asian customers has closed its doors for good. “I stopped enjoying this business around 2001,” company owner Dennis Toeppen wrote in a court filing this week.

Ex-Chicago Police Sergeant Charged With Felonies After Bar Attack

Former Chicago police Sergeant Eric Elkins, left, and Giovanni Rodriguez both face multiple felony charges. (Chicago Police Department)

Former Chicago police Sergeant Eric Elkins was implicated last year after he and others allegedly beat a group of men outside a gay bar in a brutal attack that left three victims hospitalized.

R. Kelly Attorney Waiting on Alleged Sex Tape, Avenatti Communications

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)

Prosecutors have turned over hundreds of pages of discovery documents, but R. Kelly’s attorney said he’s still waiting to get a copy of an alleged sex tape of Kelly and a 14-year-old victim.

Louis Farrakhan Invited to Address Facebook Ban at St. Sabina Thursday

Louis Farrakhan appears during a 2016 press conference in Tehran, Iran. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Rev. Michael Pfleger invited the controversial minister to speak at St. Sabina Catholic Church days after Facebook banned Louis Farrakhan and several other “dangerous individuals.”

Former YouTube Star Sentenced to 10 Years for Child Pornography

Bloomingdale, Illinois, YouTube celebrity Austin Jones appears in a 2015 video. He pleaded guilty this year to receiving child pornography. (YouTube)

Austin Jones, 26, amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on YouTube. But prosecutors say the suburban singer preyed on his underage fans, using his fame to entice them into sending him sexually explicit videos.

City Colleges of Chicago Staffers End Strike, Announce New Contract

City Colleges of Chicago support staff announced a new contract on Thursday, May 2, 2019. Agreement was reached one day after the employees went on strike and held a rally downtown. (WTTW News)

A day after walking off the job and 10 hours of bargaining, striking employees at City Colleges of Chicago announced they had reached a tentative agreement with the administration.

Recusal Request Derails Hearing on Special Prosecutor in Smollett Case

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Retired appellate judge Sheila O’Brien is calling for a special prosecutor to investigate what she has called the “mishandling” of the Jussie Smollett case. On Thursday, she accused the presiding judge of a possible conflict of interest.

City Colleges of Chicago Staffers Begin Strike

City Colleges of Chicago employees march downtown on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. They are demanding a fair contract. (WTTW News)

Hundreds of full- and part-time employees walked off the job Wednesday. They’ve been working without a contract for nearly three years and are demanding a livable wage.

Chicago Police Union President Talks Kim Foxx, Officer Mental Health

Kevin Graham appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 7, 2019.

“I hope that (Kim Foxx) suddenly realizes that this is what her job is and that she needs to do it," FOP President Kevin Graham said Tuesday. “If she can’t, she needs to step down and let somebody else do it.”

Chicago Police Offer First Look at 2019 Summer Safety Strategies

A day after meeting with Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson gave a first look at his plans to combat summer violence increases.

5 CPS High Schools Among Top 100 in Nation: U.S. News Rankings

Walter Payton College Preparatory High School (WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools once again scored the top five public high schools in the state of Illinois, according to the annual list. All five of those schools were also ranked among the top 100 nationally.

New Timeline Details Years of Abuse Allegations Before AJ Freund’s Death

This undated photo provided by the Crystal Lake, Illinois Police Department shows Andrew “AJ” Freund. (Crystal Lake Police Department via AP)

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had multiple contacts with Freund's family over reports of neglect and abuse in the months and years before the 5-year-old was found dead.

Federal Prosecutors Seek Second Delay to File Ed Burke Indictment

Ald. Ed Burke, 75, walks into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Federal prosecutors say this extra time is necessary due to the “complex nature” of the ongoing investigation of the 14th Ward alderman.

Leader of Chicago Robbery Crew Receives 30-Year Prison Sentence

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

Robert Berrios, 51, was convicted of carrying out nine separate robberies in 2012 that netted a total of more than $115,000 in cash, according to federal prosecutors.

Osundairo Brothers File Suit Against Jussie Smollett’s Legal Team

Actor Jussie Smollett talks to the media before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo / Paul Beaty)

The brothers say Smollett's legal team knowingly made defamatory, false statements, claiming the pair had carried out a real hate crime against their client.

300 Detainees Could Join Suit Against Fox for Filming of ‘Empire’ at Juvenile Detention Center

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

“Doing what was done to these kids is just not something you’re supposed to do to kids in a juvenile detention setting,” an attorney for the juveniles said Monday.

Bus Company Faces New Fine After Agreeing to Pay $100K in Discrimination Suit

(Courtesy of Suburban Express)

Days after agreeing to pay a $100,000 fine to help settle claims that it discriminated against customers, the Suburban Express bus line is facing more issues stemming from its consent decree with the state.

Records: Kim Foxx Felt Office May Have Overcharged ‘Washed Up’ Smollett

This Feb. 22, 2019 file photo shows Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaking at a news conference in Chicago. (AP Photo / Kiichiro Sato, File)

Weeks after recusing herself from the felony prosecution of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx sent texts to her second-in-command about the case, saying it appeared the office was “overcharging” the actor.

CPS Teacher Charged With Battery After Incident With Student

Myra Timms (Chicago Police Department)

Spencer Technology Academy teacher Myra Timms, 33, is facing a misdemeanor battery charge after she allegedly made physical contact with one of her male students last week.

Illinois Officials Spread Awareness of ‘Move Over’ Law After Trooper Deaths

State law enforcement and education officials want to spread the word about Illinois’ “move over” law after 16 state troopers were struck on roads in the first four months of 2019.

Chicago Sues ‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett

Actor Jussie Smollett talks to the media before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo / Paul Beaty)

City officials have made good on their threat of legal action against Jussie Smollett, filing a civil lawsuit that seeks to recoup the cost of a police investigation into what they believe was a staged attack the actor orchestrated on himself.

Gang Database ‘Strains Police-Community Relations’ City Watchdog Says

More than 90% of individuals in the gang database are people of color, according to Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson, who says that puts a strain on police-community relations. “There’s an extraordinary adverse effect on certain communities.”

4 Police Officers Facing Termination for Role in Laquan McDonald Shooting

Police dashcam footage captured the shooting of Laquan McDonald, center, on a Southwest Side street in 2014.

An evidentiary hearing that began Wednesday will be used to determine whether four officers can keep their jobs following accusations they lied about what happened the night Laquan McDonald was killed.

Illinois Leads Nation in Exonerations After Police Corruption Scandal

Nearly one out of every three criminal exonerations in the U.S. last year occurred in Illinois, according to a new report. Most of those cases stemmed from disgraced former police Sgt. Ronald Watts and his crew.