Stories by Matt Masterson

15 Men Cleared in First-Ever Mass Exoneration in Cook County

“It’s a brand new beginning for me,” said Leonard Gipson, one of 15 men who had drug convictions vacated by a judge Thursday. The convictions stemmed from arrests made more than a decade ago by disgraced former Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts.

Chicago Tops 600 Homicides for Second Year in a Row

Shooting deaths are down across Chicago in 2017 after last year’s unexpected spike, but this week the city homicide totals crossed another grim milestone.

Cook County Settles Suit With Injured Detainee for $4.5M

Michael Borys was in jail for less than a day when he had a seizure and fell from his bunk, resulting in vision loss and multiple brain surgeries. Three years later, Cook County has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit 

FBI: Hate Crimes on Rise for Second Straight Year

The number of hate crimes recorded across the country rose nearly 5 percent last year, according to new data from the FBI. In Chicago, the number of recorded incidents rose 34 percent over 2015.

COPA Releases Footage of Pinned Officer Shooting Teen Driver

Oversight officials released several clips showing the shooting death of teen Juan Flores after he pinned an officer between his SUV and a squad car in September.

Defense Attorneys to Review Reported Sightings of Missing U. of I. Student

Yingying Zhang disappeared on June 9. (University of Illinois Police Department)

Yingying Zhang disappeared in June. Now, attorneys for the man accused in her kidnapping and death are requesting a delay in the trial, in part because they want to investigate possible sightings of the victim.

CPS Principal Reinstated After ‘Serious Errors’ Found in Watchdog Report

CPS inspector general standing by initial report, calls board review “unprecedented”

A Chicago Public Schools watchdog report recommended her termination just two months ago, but on Thursday, York Alternative High School Principal Sharnette Sims received an apology from the district and was told she’ll be reinstated to her position, effective immediately.

Why Does Trump Keep Saying Chicago Has ‘Strongest’ Gun Laws?

President Donald Trump this week again claimed—erroneously—that Chicago has the “strongest gun laws in our nation,” pushing back against the idea the tough legislation will reduce gun violence.

How to Predict Mass Shootings? Look For Domestic Violence, Says Professor

Could the deadly mass shooting inside a Texas church on Sunday have been predicted? Yes, a Northwestern professor argues, if only more attention had been paid to the gunman’s history of domestic violence.

Police: Man Charged After False Report of Missing Girl in Stolen Car

Cleadus J. Taylor (Chicago Police Department)

A 33-year-old man sparked a brief manhunt Sunday afternoon after he phoned a Chicago dispatcher claiming his vehicle had been stolen with an 8-year-old girl inside.

Chicago Police, Family Still Seeking Answers in Unsolved 2004 Homicide

(Photos courtesy Ron Clewer, Chicago Police Department)

More than a decade after Kevin Clewer was stabbed to death inside his Lakeview apartment, his family and Chicago police are once again asking for help identifying his killer.

South Loop Principal Told Teachers How to Answer School Survey: Email

CPS says conduct didn’t rise to level of disciplinary infraction

South Loop Elementary (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

A Chicago Public School principal whose school is in the process of constructing a $60 million expansion attempted to sway the answers of teachers on a 2017 survey measuring the overall quality of the school.

Hearings for Northwestern, Oxford Murder Suspects to be Held Together

Wyndham Lathem stands with his attorneys in Cook County Circuit Court on Sept. 28. (Courtroom sketch by Thomas Gianni)

Former Northwestern professor Wyndham Lathem and his accomplice Andrew Warren, charged in the stabbing death of a Chicago hairstylist, will have their hearings scheduled together as their cases proceed.

New Lawsuits Detail Sex Abuse Claims Against Retired Evanston Teacher

Evanston Township High School

Allegations of abuse against a former theater teacher at Evanston Township High School have poured in this month following a social media post by an ETHS grad.

‘I Can’t Breathe’ Examines Politics, Policing and the Death of Eric Garner

A new book by Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi examines the life of Eric Garner, and the impact his death had on his family, friends and the criminal justice system in New York City.

CPD Adds New Predictive Crime Center on West Side

Shootings are down over last year, a trend the Chicago Police Department hopes to continue by expanding its predictive technology.

Trump Declaring Opioid National Emergency Could be ‘Game Changer’

(Eric Molina / Flickr)

As opioid overdose deaths continue to rise, President Donald Trump on Thursday is expected to declare the ongoing epidemic as a “national emergency.”

BBB Stresses Vigilance After Card ‘Skimmers’ Found on Chicago ATMs

More than a dozen malicious card-reading devices have recently been found throughout the city, according to the Chicago Police Department.

CPS to Consider Closing 4 Charter Schools

Under its accountability guidelines, the Board of Education can opt to revoke or not renew charters that have been placed on an academic warning list.

Arrest Made in CTA Beating That Left Victim Unable to Speak

(Chicago Police Department)

A 24-year-old man was arrested on felony charges more than two months after he allegedly beat and robbed a man at a CTA Red Line station, leaving the victim temporarily unable to communicate.

Former Students Describe Alleged Sexual Misconduct of Evanston Teacher

Evanston Township High School

Evanston Police say they have fielded dozens of calls in the last week regarding allegations of sexual harassment and abuse levied against a former high school acting teacher.

Study: Despite More Coverage, Mass Killings Not Occurring More Often

 A memorial in Las Vegas for victims of the Oct. 1 shooting that left 58 dead and more than 500 wounded. (Jay Smith / Chicago Tonight)

While public awareness of mass killings is undoubtedly higher, U of I researchers say the frequency with which they occur is steady – and it’s remained that way over the last decade.

CPD Seeking Robbery Suspect After Victim Regains Ability to Speak

Chicago Police are seeking this man in connection with the battery and robbery of a 70-year-old man in August. (Chicago Police Department)

A 70-year-old man was found unresponsive at a CTA Red Line station and was unable to tell police what had happened for more than two months.

Felonies, Pleas and Convictions Examined in New Cook County Report

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Jan. 11, 2017.

A first-of-its-kind report released Tuesday by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office details more than 30,000 felony cases presented for prosecution in 2016.

Chicago Law Firm Retained by Las Vegas Shooting Victims

More than 50 people were killed Sunday night in what was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

Romanucci & Blandin, a civil practice based in the River North neighborhood, announced Monday it is among a trio of law firms that will represent victims of the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas.