Stories by Matt Masterson

A Timeline of the Laquan McDonald Shooting

| Rebecca Palmore

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.

2 Chicago Pharmacy Techs Charged with Stealing More than 56,000 Opioid Pills

Two women allegedly stole tens of thousands of narcotic pills from a Wicker Park pharmacy over a two-year period and sold them off for profit.

Family of Man Killed During Police Pursuit File Wrongful Death Suit Against City

The estate of Terrell Eason claims Chicago police officers used excessive force during a July 3 foot pursuit that led to the 33-year-old’s death.

CPS Spending $10M on Sustainable Schools Pilot Program

CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey speaks during a press conference at union headquarters on Aug. 8, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Twenty public schools in Chicago will be part of a new pilot program aimed at connecting school communities with local after-school, health and family engagement services.

Van Dyke Case: Defense Can Present Animated Videos of Shooting at Trial

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke sits in a courtroom during a hearing Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Attorneys for suspended Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke will be allowed to use computer-generated animations as defense evidence in next month’s murder trial.

CPS to Consider Boundary Change to Add Students at Planned High School

(National Teachers Academy / Facebook)

District officials will hear from Near South Side community members this week about a proposal to expand the attendance boundary for the new high school CPS is planning to phase in at the National Teachers Academy.

Van Dyke Case: Judge Won’t Rule on Venue Change Until Jury Selection Begins

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)

After a daylong hearing featuring hours of expert testimony and competing surveys, it remains to be seen where the trial of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke will be held.

Protesters Take to Lake Shore Drive for Rush Hour March to Wrigley

Protesters arrive at Wrigley Field. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Protesters on the North Side of Chicago shut down all four lanes of Lake Shore Drive during rush hour Thursday to draw attention to gun violence in the city.

NTA Families Seek Injunction to Halt Controversial School Transition Plan

National Teachers Academy parent Elisabeth Greer, center, and Candace Moore, right, of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, discuss their lawsuit outside the school on June 19. 2018. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

National Teachers Academy parents want a Cook County judge to step in and halt Chicago Public Schools’ plan to transform their elementary school into a high school.

Van Dyke Case: Trial Venue Won’t Be Decided By New Judge

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 new judge won’t be brought on to decide whether the high-profile murder trial of a Chicago police officer will be moved out of Cook County despite a “novel” argument by defense attorneys.

Wrongful Death Suit Filed by Family of Man Killed in Chicago Police Shooting

Maurice Granton, left, attempts to scale a fence moments before being shot by a Chicago officer on June 6, 2018. (Civilian Office of Police Accountability)

Attorneys representing the family of 24-year-old Maurice Granton Jr. claim the June 6 fatal shooting was unjustified because Granton posed no “imminent threat” to law enforcement.

Van Dyke Case: Defense Believes Judge Too ‘Prejudiced’ to Decide Trial Venue

Jason Van Dyke, left, sits with his attorney Daniel Herbert at a hearing at Leighton Criminal Court in Chicago on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Defense attorneys claim the judge handling the high-profile murder case is “prejudiced” against their motion to move the trial outside Cook County and should recuse himself from deciding the matter.

Simeon Parents Speak Out on Behalf of Exiled Principal

Simeon Career Academy (Eric Allix Rogers / Flickr)

Parents from a South Side high school are calling on CPS leaders to bring back their ousted principal, a month after an investigation revealed he had failed to safeguard students from abuse.

Cursive Writing Coming Back to CPS Elementary Schools

District requiring students take writing course by 5th grade after state law change

Chicago Public Schools is updating its teaching policy around the handwriting form to meet new state law requirements.

CPS to Revise Student Suspension, Bullying Guidelines

The Board of Education this week will vote on updates to its student code of conduct policy in an effort to promote equitable discipline practices throughout the school district.

Activist Demands Release of Audio, Video From Augustus Shooting

A still image taken from body camera footage released Sunday, July 15, 2018, by the Chicago Police Department shows a fatal police-involved shooting one day earlier.

Seeking “full transparency,” local activist William Calloway files a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department, pushing for the release of all unedited audio and video showing the fatal shooting Saturday of Harith Augustus.

Chicago Attorneys Blast ‘Reprehensible’ Suit Targeting Las Vegas Shooting Victims

More than 50 people were killed on Oct. 1, 2017 when a gunman opened fire at a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lawyers say victims of an October 2017 mass shooting have been “targeted twice” following multiple lawsuits filed this week by Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International.

Van Dyke Case: Judge Sets September Trial Date

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke attends a hearing for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Friday, May 4, 2018.  The media was later ordered to leave the courtroom. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke will stand trial Sept. 5 in the shooting death of teenager Laquan McDonald.

CPS Pledging to Add 250 New Social Workers, Case Managers

The district says it will spend $26 million to add 160 social workers and 94 special education case managers in schools across the city. 

Chicago Police Release Bodycam Footage of Officer-Involved Shooting

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks to the press on Sunday, July 15, 2017. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Police officials waited less than 24 hours after a fatal shooting in the South Shore neighborhood to publish video footage of the incident involving 37-year-old Harith Augustus.

Attorney General Madigan Sues DOJ Over Withheld Federal Funding

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announces a lawsuit against the city of Chicago on Aug. 29, 2017.

The U.S. Department of Justice is violating federal law by refusing to distribute millions in funding to Illinois due to a dispute over immigration policies, according to a lawsuit filed by the state attorney general.