Stories by Matt Masterson

Police: Total Crime Down in May, but Homicides, Shootings on the Rise in 2020

(WTTW News)

The Chicago Police Department’s latest crime figures show a 20% reduction in overall crime in May 2020 compared to last year. But year-to-date totals show an increase in shootings (30%) and homicides (25%) compared with the same time frame last year.

Lightfoot Rules Out Removing Police Officers from Chicago Schools

A protester faces off against police in Chicago on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Hugo Balta / WTTW News)

“Yeah we’re not gonna do that,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a Friday morning press conference when asked if she would consider canceling CPS’ existing contract with the Chicago Police Department. “Unfortunately, we need security in our schools.”

Cook County Health: Number of Gunshot Victims Up 20% in 2020

(WTTW News)

Speaking on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Friday there has been a marked increase in gun violence in 2020, despite a stay-at-home order that was in place statewide for more than two months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Report: 1 in 6 Chicago COVID-19 Cases Can Be Tied to Cook County Jail

(WTTW News)

According to a new study, cycling through Cook County Jail — a facility once dubbed the “largest-known source” of COVID-19 in the U.S. — is associated with roughly 16% of all documented cases of the virus in Illinois and Chicago through mid-April.

Chicago Man Charged After Dozens of Windows Smashed at CPS School

Michael Mangan (Chicago Police Department)

Cook County prosecutors claim Michael Mangan, 36, broke a total of 82 windows at a Northwest Side elementary school, valued at $16,400, and did so because “the school ruined his life.”

‘Let’s Get it Done’: Lightfoot Demands More Police Reform Amid Unrest

A screenshot from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s “State of the City” address on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. (Chicago Mayor’s Office / Facebook)

In an address Tuesday night, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot outlined reforms based on improving police training, officer wellness and community relations she said are “critical to resolving our crisis.”

Lightfoot: Chicago Will Reopen Wednesday as Scheduled

A business in Edison Park on Chicago’s Northwest Side tries to catch the attention of passersby during the pandemic. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she made the decision only after speaking with business owners, chambers of commerce and city officials, all of whom she said were fully behind moving into phase three of the state’s Restore Illinois plan.

Illinois Man Charged With Taking Explosives to Chicago, Minneapolis Protests

An ATM in the Loop is destroyed and windows are smashed on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Hugo Balta / WTTW News)

A 28-year-old man who took part in weekend protests in Chicago and Minneapolis is facing federal criminal charges after he allegedly handed out explosives and encouraged others to “light that b***h and throw it” at police officers.

Mayor Lightfoot Joins Joe Biden for Virtual Roundtable After Weekend Protests

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joins Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and other mayors Monday, June 1, 2020 to discuss protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (Joe Biden / YouTube)

Referencing Chicago’s own “dark days” with police violence, the mayor said additional training and improved relationships between officers and the community are needed following protests and looting across the city.

Illinois’ Stay-at-Home Order Ends as State Moves into Next Phase of Reopening

New statewide totals: 117,455 cases, 5,270 deaths

Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, a cashier and customer are separated by plexiglass at the city owned waterpark in Grand Prairie, Texas, Friday, May 29, 2020. Water parks in Texas were allowed to reopen today. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the time for his stay-at-home order has come to an end as several businesses across Illinois began to reopen Friday – the first day under phase three the governor's Restore Illinois plan.

CPS Chief Janice Jackson: ‘We Don’t Yet Know’ What Fall Learning Will Look Like

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (WTTW News)

The head of Chicago Public Schools said the district will continue honing its remote learning program over the summer as it prepares for the possibility of additional classroom closures in the fall due to COVID-19.

First 2 Cook County Judges Test Positive for COVID-19

Most court operations delayed into July, per extended order

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

The announcement comes one day after the Office of the Chief Judge announced the extension of a modified court schedule postponing most criminal and civil cases across the Cook County court system into July.

CPS: More Than 3 in 4 Students Participating in Remote Learning Online

(Don Harder / Flickr)

The percentage of Chicago Public Schools students accessing materials and getting grades has steadily risen during the remote learning period, but new data shows some high-need populations have fallen behind.

49 Shot, 10 Killed in ‘Alarming’ Memorial Day Weekend Violence

(WTTW News)

Chicago saw its most violent Memorial Day weekend in five years, despite a stay-at-home order meant to keep people inside during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Outdoor, Drive-In Religious Services Allowed in Next Phase of Illinois’ Reopening Plan

New statewide totals: 105,444 cases, 4,715 deaths

In this Sunday, March 22, 2020 file photo, the Rev. William A. Mentz, pastor of the Scranton, Pa.-based St. Francis and Clare Progressive Catholic Church, wears a mask and gloves while distributing prepackaged communion to the faithful attending Mass while sitting in their cars in the parking lot of a shopping center in Moosic, Pa. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP)

“I know worship is as essential as food and water for most of us," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday, “and it’s my priority to provide guidance to ensure that it may proceed safely.”

Chicago’s Top Cop Promises Additional Enforcement During Memorial Day Weekend

(WTTW News)

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said officers will be “visible and present” in neighborhoods throughout the summer and will be “on the lookout” for large gatherings.

Lawsuit: Pritzker, IDOC Failed to Protect Vulnerable Inmates from COVID-19

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

The Illinois Department of Corrections and Gov. J.B. Pritzker aren’t doing enough to protect elderly and medically vulnerable inmates from COVID-19 inside state prison facilities, according to a lawsuit.

Chicago Teachers Union Suing CPS, Betsy DeVos Over Special Education Plans

(Brandis Friedman / WTTW News)

Chicago teachers say they’re being diverted from their teaching duties and forced to fulfill a “physically impossible mandate” of rewriting tens of thousands of individual education plans for special education students.

Judge Tosses Suit Challenging DCFS Ban on Supervised In-Person Visits During Pandemic

(Skitterphoto / Pixabay)

A Cook County judge has rejected a push to overturn a temporary ban that has prevented children in foster care from having supervised visits with their parents and siblings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grubhub Driver Faces Multiple Felonies After Restaurant Worker Struck, Dragged by Car

Aamir Mohammed (Chicago Police Department)

Aamir Mohammed, 30, was ordered held on $5,000 bond during a hearing Tuesday, four days after a confrontation outside Ms. T’s Southern Fried Chicken in Lakeview left a 24-year-old woman with multiple serious injuries.

More Testing Needed for Pregnant Women, Who Face Greater Risk From COVID-19

New statewide totals: 90,369 cases, 4,058 deaths

(Lisa Runnels / Pixabay)

COVID-19 can mimic labor symptoms and can cause additional complications for women following birth, according to Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who called for increased testing of pregnant women.

Chicago Police Union’s New President Defends Record, Sets Sights on Contract

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

John Catanzara says he’s “not too concerned” with the opinions of his critics, and he’s hopeful that he’ll be able to secure what the Chicago police union has lacked for nearly three years: a contract with the city.

Cook County Public Defender Challenging DCFS Ban on Supervised Visits

Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 21, 2019.

A temporary ban put in place by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has kept children in foster care from having supervised visits with their parents and siblings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal Judge Rejects Plea by Chicago-Area Churches to Hold Services During COVID-19

Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Albany Park (Facebook photo)

In a 12-page ruling, the judge said the Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Albany Park and Logos Baptist Ministries in Niles “provided no evidence” that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order targeted religion.

Sheriff Tom Dart Appeals Injunction Outlining COVID-19 Remedies at Cook County Jail

(WTTW News)

The Cook County sheriff is challenging a federal court order that outlines how his office must combat COVID-19 at the Cook County Jail, and called ongoing efforts by activists to get more detainees out of the jail a “waste of resources.”