Stories by Matt Masterson

Special Prosecutors: Jason Van Dyke Should Spend 18 Years or More in Prison

Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens in during his hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / pool)

The former Chicago police officer will be sentenced Friday. He was convicted last fall of second-degree murder in the fatal 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Evanston High School Staffer Accused of ‘Inappropriate Contact’ With Students

Evanston Township High School

Evanston police are investigating a local high school employee following allegations of “inappropriate contact” with at least two students.

Federal Courts May Soon Feel Impact of Government Shutdown

Chief judge ‘deeply concerned’ shutdown may affect ability to ‘ensure timely justice’

Dirksen United States Courthouse (Ken Lund / Flickr)

If the partial government shutdown lasts through next week, federal courts in Chicago and across the country may have to delay pay and limit operations.

Indiana Man Faces Murder Charge in Mechanic’s Death

Keith Watley (Chicago Police Department)

Keith Watley, 29, is accused of intentionally running over and killing a mechanic he knew on the South Side.

Kim Foxx Calls on R. Kelly Abuse Victims to Come Forward

State’s attorney says she was “sickened” by allegations made against singer

In this June 30, 2013 file photo, R. Kelly performs at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frank Micelotta / Invision / AP, File)

The Cook County state’s attorney said she was “sickened” by recent allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against R&B star R. Kelly in a new televised docuseries.

Chicago Police Adding 200 Plate Reader Vehicles to Help Combat Carjackings

Police officials say the license plate readers allow officers to quickly identify stolen vehicles. (Chicago Police Department)

Carjacking totals dropped across Chicago in 2018 following a yearslong spike, and city leaders hope the deployment of a technological tool will help draw those totals down further.

COPA Employee Facing Felony Charges After False Shooting Threat

Alison Yohanna (Chicago Police Department)

Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigator Alison Yohanna is facing felony charges after she allegedly emailed a false report of a mass shooting at her office late last month.

Lane Tech Staffer Removed After Allegation of ‘Inappropriate Behavior’

Lane Tech High School (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

A staff member at Chicago’s largest public high school has been removed following an allegation of inappropriate behavior involving a student. “We are taking this situation seriously,” the school’s principal wrote Friday in an email to parents.

Firearms Found in Ald. Ed Burke’s Office: Who Can Carry Guns in City Hall?

Among the extraordinary details that came to light after Ald. Ed Burke was charged Thursday with attempted extortion was the fact that nearly two dozen firearms were found in his offices during a series of November raids.

Verdict Delayed for Second Time in Laquan McDonald Conspiracy Trial

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)

A Cook County judge has already delayed her finding once in the unprecedented trial of three Chicago police officers. The new verdict date is Jan. 17 – a day before the sentencing of former Officer Jason Van Dyke.

COPA Employee Accused of Sending Workplace Email Threat

(Chicago Tonight)

Chicago police descended on COPA’s office last Friday following a report of an emailed threat. But COPA officials now say that threat was “false” and the sender has been identified as an agency employee.

CPS Watchdog: Former Music Director Mismanaged $13K in Funds

The school district’s inspector general found the music director “willfully violated” CPS fundraising guidelines. That’s just one of the investigations highlighted in the watchdog’s just-released annual report.

CPS Space Utilization Data Shows More Underutilized Schools

Nearly 250 Chicago schools have been labelled “underutilized,” according to district data. That total exceeds the number of schools CPS says are running efficiently.

CPS: Ousted Ogden Principal Exposed Private Student Info in New Data Breach

William B. Ogden Elementary School

The school district says identification numbers, grades, standardized test scores and the email addresses of numerous Ogden Elementary students were exposed in the latest CPS data breach.

Transgender Prisoner Moved to Illinois Women’s Prison After Alleged Abuse

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

Strawberry Hampton, a 27-year-old transgender woman, said she was constantly harassed and abused by prisoners and corrections officers alike inside various all-male prisons.

Police: Robberies Down Citywide Nearly 20 Percent in 2018

(Chicago Tonight)

Nearly a dozen Chicago police districts this year saw their lowest number of recorded robberies since 2000 as the citywide robbery rate fell by 19 percent year-over-year.

AAA: Christmas Eve Will Be Worst Day for Holiday Travel in Chicago

(ruifo / Flickr)

The holiday travel season is officially underway, but if you’re planning to leave the Windy City, it might be best to hit the road sooner rather than later.

Verdict in Laquan McDonald Conspiracy Trial to Come Jan. 15, 2019

Court will issue finding only days before Van Dyke sentencing

Chicago police Officer Thomas Gaffney, left, ex-Officer Joseph Walsh and their attorneys approach the bench in a post-trial hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

A verdict was expected Wednesday in the bench trial of three Chicago police officers charged with conspiring to cover up details of the fatal 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald. The defendants will instead learn their fate in January, just days before Jason Van Dyke is scheduled to be sentenced.

Fundraisers Created to Support Families of Chicago Officers Struck by Train

Chicago police Officers Conrad Gary, left, and Eduardo Marmolejo (Courtesy of the Chicago Police Department)

Community organizers have helped raise thousands of dollars for the families of two Chicago police officers who were struck and killed by a Metra train in an accident Monday night on the Far South Side.

Verdict Delayed in Laquan 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)

A verdict was expected Wednesday in the trial of three Chicago police officers accused of conspiring to cover up the fatal 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, but the judge has postponed her decision.

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.