Stories by Matt Masterson

Van Dyke’s Partner Takes Stand, Claims Shooting Was ‘Necessary Action’

Day 2 of witness testimony in the high-profile murder trial

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens in as an image showing the shooting death of Laquan McDonald is displayed during the trial on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Even after he’d been shot 16 times, Laquan McDonald still posed a threat because he held a knife in his hand. That’s what the partner of Jason Van Dyke testified during the second day of arguments in the high-profile murder trial.

Van Dyke Trial to Stay in Cook County as Arguments Get Underway

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens in as lights are turned off for a video clip during the trial for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Defense attorneys have argued a fair trial in Cook County is impossible. But the judge in the high-profile murder case said jurors should be believed when they say they’ll be impartial. More from the first day of arguments.

Van Dyke Opts for Jury Trial as Venue Decision Looms

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens to court arguments during a hearing Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

A 12-person jury will decide Jason Van Dyke’s fate. That decision comes only days before opening arguments are expected to begin in the high-profile murder trial.

Van Dyke Defense to Decide Friday if They’ll Face Judge or Jury

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens to testimony at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, during a hearing on the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Twelve jurors have been selected. Eleven have been sworn in. Suspended Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke and his attorneys have one more day to decide if they want a jury trial or a bench trial, with opening arguments expected as soon as Monday.

Van Dyke Case: Jury Selection Continues as Defense Weighs Trial Options

From left: Special prosecutor Joe McMahon, attorney Daniel Herbert and his client, Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, attend a hearing on Sept. 4, 2018 concerning the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. (Antonio Perez / Pool / Chicago Tribune)

The lead attorney for Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke says it’s too early to decide whether he will opt for a jury or bench trial. Meanwhile, day two of jury selection brought the total number to 10.

Study: Civilian Complaints Can be Used to Predict Future Police Misconduct

Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago found that Chicago police officers with the highest number of complaints are responsible for a significantly higher share of civil litigation payouts.

Van Dyke Case: First Jurors Selected as Murder Trial Gets Underway

Empty jury box area readied for members of the jury in the courtroom of Judge Vincent Gaughan at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Pool / Chicago Tribune)

Several potential jurors were excused Monday, but attorneys did select five jurors – three women and two men – in the high-profile murder case. Jury selection could last more than a week.

Van Dyke Case: Defense Asks Judge to Toss Jury Pool Because of Protests

Protesters stand outside the Leighton Criminal Court building Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, the first day of jury selection in Jason Van Dyke’s murder trial. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Attorneys for the Chicago police officer charged with murder have asked for the entire 200-person jury pool to be stricken due to their exposure to protesters carrying signs urging them to “convict Jason Van Dyke.”

Van Dyke Case: McDonald Family Calls for Peace as Trial Set to Begin

From left: Special prosecutor Joe McMahon, attorney Daniel Herbert and his client, Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, attend a hearing on Sept. 4, 2018 concerning the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. (Antonio Perez / Pool / Chicago Tribune)

A bombshell announcement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a rare public statement from Laquan McDonald’s family set the scene on the eve of Jason Van Dyke’s murder trial.

Who’s Who in the High-Profile Murder Trial of Jason Van Dyke

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

These are the names you need to know as the murder trial of suspended police Officer Jason Van Dyke gets underway.

Van Dyke Case: Judge Won’t Rule on Bond Violation Until Next Week

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke walks over to the judge's bench at the start of the hearing on the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, at the Leighton Criminal Court Building Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune)

A Cook County judge will hear further arguments next week after prosecutors accused the suspended Chicago police officer of violating the terms of his bond.

Prosecutors Want Bail Revoked After Officer Van Dyke Speaks Out

Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon, left, and defense attorney Daniel Herbert approach the bench at a hearing for Jason Van Dyke hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

After he gave interviews this week with local media, prosecutors say Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke should be held in contempt of court because speaking about the case directly violates a judge’s order to remain silent.

Van Dyke Case: ‘The More You Dig Into This, The Less Open-And-Shut It Is’

Examining the high-profile trial through the eyes of a defense attorney

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke watches as a clip from “The Blue Wall” documentary is shown at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Steven Greenberg knows his way around a courtroom. And he knows how to prepare for a high-profile murder trial. The longtime defense attorney weighs in on the impending trial of Jason Van Dyke.

Stateville Debate: Former Coach Suing to Keep Prison Team Alive

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

Katrina Burlet, who coached the prison's debate team, says she was banned from all correctional facilities after her program was shut down. She hopes a new lawsuit will restore her team.

Ride-Hailing Drivers Accused in String of Near North Robberies

Two women acting as ride-hailing service drivers have reportedly robbed multiple riders at gunpoint across the Near North Side in recent months, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Chicago Police Warn of Cab, Ride-Hailing Robberies in Old Town

Authorities are looking for two to three men they believe are responsible for five robberies in the area this month.

Guilty Verdict for Gunman in Hadiya Pendleton Murder

Defendant Micheail Ward during the trial for the fatal shooting of Hadiya Pendleton at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on Aug. 21, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune / Pool). Inset: Hadiya Pendleton.

A Cook County jury took about three hours to convict the man accused of fatally shooting 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton at a Kenwood park on the South Side in 2013.

CPS Limiting Phone, Social Media Contact Between Students and Teachers

(terimakasih0 / Pixabay)

District leaders are updating policies on how students and staff can digitally communicate as it works to root out sexual misconduct inside its schools.

CPS to Update Volunteer Policies in Wake of Sex Abuse Scandal

The names of prospective district volunteers must now be run through sex offender registries and the statewide list of violent offenders before they can be hired.

‘Systemic Deficiencies’ Allowed Sex Abuse to Persist Within CPS: Report

A former federal prosecutor found CPS leaders failed to recognize the extent of the sex abuse issues that existed for years inside district schools.

A Timeline of the Laquan McDonald Shooting

As the high-profile murder case heads to trial in September, a look at key events in the months and years since Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shot Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke Case: McDonald’s Mother Arrives at Court for Sealed Hearing

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

The mother of slain teenager Laquan McDonald made a rare appearance in Cook County criminal court Thursday morning to testify before attorneys representing the Chicago police officer who shot and killed her son in 2014.

Van Dyke Case: Prosecutors Cannot Refer to McDonald as ‘Victim’ at Trial

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke approaches the judge’s bench at a hearing for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Because Jason Van Dyke’s attorneys claim he was justified in shooting teen Laquan McDonald, prosecutors may not refer to McDonald as a “victim.” However, they may refer to his death as a homicide.

Van Dyke Case: McDonald’s Mother Must Appear in Court or Face Trial Ban

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke stands and heads toward the judge’s bench at a hearing for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. At right is his attorney Tammy Wendt. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

If the mother of Laquan McDonald wants to attend the murder trial of the police officer who shot and killed her son, a judge said Tuesday, she will need to respond to a defense subpoena and show up to court this week.

State Board Survey: Only 1 in 4 Kindergartners Prepared for School

(FeeLoona / Pixabay)

Only 24 percent of Illinois kindergartners are ready for school, according to a new state survey. But that number drops even lower for minority, low-income and diverse learner students.