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Stories by Matt Masterson

Jason Van Dyke to be Sentenced Jan. 18, 2019

Judge upholds guilty verdicts in high-profile case, won’t grant new trial

Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke attends a post-conviction hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / pool)

Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder in October. Next month, the suspended Chicago police officer will learn how much time he’ll spend in prison.

New Lawsuit Accuses DCFS of ‘Warehousing’ Children in Psych Hospitals

(inspiri / Pixabay)

In a class-action lawsuit, the state’s child welfare agency is accused of keeping children confined to psychiatric hospitals beyond their discharge dates because it doesn’t have the necessary facilities to house them.

Uptown Medical Clinic Owner Illegally Sold Hundreds of Thousands of Opioid Pills

(Adam / Wikimedia Commons)

In just over a year, Mohammed Shariff says he illegally dispensed more than two kilograms of oxycodone and hundreds of thousands of other opioid pills to patients who planned to resell them.

Illinois Schools Must Improve Support for Student Sex Abuse Victims: Report

(Don Harder / Flickr)

There’s been a renewed focus on student sexual abuse after hundreds of cases within Chicago Public Schools came to light. But a new report finds that schools across the state aren’t doing enough to support abuse survivors.

Change of Venue Granted in Case of Missing U. of I. Student

Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9, 2017. (University of Illinois Police Department). Inset: Brendt Christensen (Macon County Sheriff’s Department)

A federal judge rules the upcoming trial of Brendt Christensen will be moved from Urbana to Peoria. He is charged with the kidnapping and death of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang.

McDonald Cover-Up Trial Finished, But Verdict Still Weeks Away

Former Chicago Police Detective David March, left, and his attorney James McKay on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Arguments are over in the trial of three Chicago cops accused of trying to cover up details of the Laquan McDonald shooting. Now it’s up to a judge to issue her verdict in a ruling that will come later this month.

Defense Scheduled to Begin Case in McDonald Conspiracy Trial Thursday

Defense attorneys confer before prosecution rested during the trial of Chicago police Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Detective David March and ex-Officer Joseph Walsh on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Defense attorneys for three Chicago police officers will have their first opportunity to present evidence Thursday morning. But it remains to be seen if any witnesses will be called.

State Rests, Judge Denies Not Guilty Request in McDonald Cover-Up Trial

Defense attorneys confer before prosecution rested during the trial of Chicago police Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Detective David March and ex-Officer Joseph Walsh on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

After the state rested its case Tuesday, defense attorneys each requested a directed finding of not guilty, claiming the state had failed to prove any conspiracy existed. More updates from week two in the courtroom.

CPS Recommends Closing 2 Charter Schools, Rejecting Proposals for 3 Others

Kwame Nkrumah Charter School and Urban Prep West Charter School have both failed to “provide a high quality education” for their students, the district says.

5 Things to Know About 1st Week of McDonald Conspiracy Trial

From left: Former Chicago Detective David March, officer Thomas Gaffney and former officer Joseph Walsh attend a pretrial hearing Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

An eyewitness who says he was shooed away. A key witness who says a detective lied. Scrutiny over events leading up to the shooting. Key takeaways from week one of an unprecedented trial of three Chicago cops accused of working to cover up the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Defense Denies Conspiracy as Key Ruling Looms in McDonald Cover-Up Trial

Attorney Todd Pugh, right, representing Joseph Walsh, cross-examines witness Jose Torres at the trial of Chicago police Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Detective David March and ex-Officer Joseph Walsh on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

A delayed ruling on key evidence will extend the special prosecution’s case into next week. The latest from the trial of three Chicago police officers accused of attempting to cover up the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

McDonald Cover-Up: Key State Witness Says Detective Lied in Report

Chicago police Officer Dora Fontaine takes the witness stand on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Chicago police Officer Dora Fontaine testifies on day two in the trial of three Chicago police officers accused of conspiring to cover up details of the Laquan McDonald shooting. 

Prosecutors Say Police ‘Violated Public Trust’ in Alleged McDonald Cover-Up

Background: Ex-Officer Joseph Walsh, second from left, former Detective David March, center, and Chicago police Officer Thomas Gaffney arrive in court on the first day of trial on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. Foreground: Special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes, right, and special prosecutor Ron Safer, left. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Were three Chicago cops adhering to an unofficial “code of silence” when they allegedly tried to cover up details of the Laquan McDonald shooting? Or were they simply working by the book? The latest from the courtroom.

Who’s Who in the Laquan McDonald Shooting Conspiracy Trial

Photo of an image taken on Oct. 20, 2014 at the scene where Laquan McDonald was fatally shot. This image was shown on a screen to jurors during Jason Van Dyke’s trial for the shooting death of McDonald. (Chicago Police Department)

Three current and former Chicago police officers will go on trial this week, accused of attempting to cover up details of the high-profile shooting. Here are the key names to know as the case gets underway.

Former DePaul Staffer Charged With Stealing Laptops From University

A former DePaul media production specialist allegedly stole university computers, but was tracked down because she continued using the equipment at her home.

City Mourns Officer, Staff Killed in Mercy Hospital Shooting

Dr. Tamara O’Neal, left, Chicago police Officer Samuel Jimenez and pharmaceutical resident Dayna Less. (Franciscan Health / Chicago Police Department / Facebook)

A mass shooting at a Chicago hospital left four people dead, including an emergency room doctor, a police officer with less than two years on the force and a first-year pharmaceutical resident.

Teen Charged After Fireworks Incident Inside Morgan Park High School

An Instagram video that captured the incident Tuesday morning shows students yelling and running through smoke-filled hallways after the fireworks were set off. A 16-year-old now faces a felony charge.

Prosecutors Seek Witness Immunity as McDonald Conspiracy Case Heads to Trial

From left: Former Chicago Detective David March, officer Thomas Gaffney and former officer Joseph Walsh attend a pretrial hearing Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Special prosecutors believe it will take less than a week to present their case against a trio of current and former Chicago police officers accused of trying to cover up the 2014 shooting of black teen Laquan McDonald.

Retired Police Commander Allegedly Stole $360,000 in Social Security Funds

Retired police Commander Kenneth Johnson speaks to “Chicago Tonight” during an interview on May 4, 2017.

Kenneth Johnson spent more than three decades with the Chicago Police Department, but federal prosecutors allege the former commander stole $360,000 in Social Security funds over the course of 23 years.

Security Guard Killed by Midlothian Cop Ignored Orders to Drop Gun: Report

Manny’s Blue Room Lounge in Robbins (Chicago Tonight)

State investigators say the armed security guard fatally shot by a Midlothian police officer outside a south suburban bar early Sunday was not wearing anything that identified him as security and ignored repeated orders to drop his weapon.

Bitcoin and Fraud: Chicago’s First Cryptocurrency Theft Prosecution

Joseph Kim, 24, will spend 15 months in federal prison after defrauding his former employer and a handful of investors out of more than $1 million in cash and cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Litecoin. 

Oak Park and River Forest Teen Charged With Sending Swastika to Classmates

Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRF / Facebook)

A 14-year-old suburban student is facing a criminal charge after allegedly sending classmates an image of a Swastika over their phones during a school assembly last week.

Swastika Image Sent to Oak Park and River Forest High School Students

Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRF / Facebook)

A suburban high school is once again investigating an incident involving an anti-Semitic message sent to students only days after racist messages were found written throughout its campus.

Man Charged With Hate Crime For Allegedly Drawing Swastikas on Buena Park Homes

Heath Levey (Chicago Police Department)

Chicago police say Heath Levey used chalk to draw the Nazi symbol on fences and garages earlier this month. Levey faces multiple felony hate crime charges.

Community Gathers Record $150K Reward to ID Suspect in Rogers Park Murders

The reward is said to be the largest in the city's history as Chicago police continue their attempts to identify the masked gunman.