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Chip Mitchell

Chip Mitchell

Criminal Justice Reporter

Based at WBEZ’s studio on Chicago’s West Side, Chip focuses on policing, gun violence and underground business. His investigative and narrative work has earned dozens of local and national honors. In 2017, 2015 and 2013, the Chicago Headline Club (the nation’s largest Society of Professional Journalists chapter) gave him its annual award for “best reporter” in broadcast radio.

He has won two first-place National Headliner Awards, one for 2014 reporting that led to a felony indictment of Chicago’s most celebrated police commander, another for a short 2013 documentary about a Chicago heroin supply chain through Mexico and Texas. Other honors have come from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Sidney Hillman Foundation, the Radio Television Digital News Association (Edward R. Murrow awards), the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation/Better Government Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Illinois Associated Press and Public Narrative (Studs Terkel award).

He has also reported as part of award-winning WBEZ collaborations with the California-based Center for Investigative Reporting and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity.

Before Chip joined WBEZ in 2006, his base for three years was Bogotá, Colombia. He reported from conflict zones around that war-torn country and from numerous other Latin American nations. Topics ranged from national elections to guinea-pig meat exports to bus rapid transit. The stories reached U.S. audiences through PRI’s The World, NPR’s Morning Edition, the BBC, the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

From 1995 to 2003, Chip focused on immigration and U.S. roles in Latin America as editor of Connection to the Americas, winner of the 2003 Utne Independent Press Award for “general excellence” among newsletters nationwide. In 1995, the Milwaukee Press Club named one of Chip’s stories for the Madison newspaper Isthmus the year’s best investigative report in Wisconsin. The story examined a fatal shooting by narcotics officers in a rural mobile-home park. In 1992, he co-founded two daily news shows broadcast ever since on Madison’s community radio station, WORT.

Chip was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned a B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood with his partner and their daughter.

Recent Stories

WBEZ Updates

Sharon Fairley Is Planning To Resign

The chief of Chicago’s police-oversight agency is planning to step down. The union for the city’s cops wants Mayor Rahm Emanuel to replace her with someone more to its liking.

WBEZ Updates

Chicago Officers Undergo Use Of Force Training

Chicago police officials say they’ve now put almost every officer in the department through a four-hour class on the use of force.

WBEZ Updates

More Claim Wrongful Convictions Tied To Corrupt Chicago Sergeant

A line of people claiming they were wrongfully convicted at the hands of a corrupt Chicago police sergeant just got a lot longer.


Cop’s Trial Comes Down To Whether Shooting Was Reasonable

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday in the trial of a Chicago cop who shot into a car. Here is what lawyers have argued so far.


Foundations To Provide Jobs And Therapy To Shooters

Chicago’s gun violence is as deadly this year as last. Philanthropies are backing a program designed for the folks at highest risk.


Taxpayers On Hook For $500,000 Settlement After Cop Tasers Pregnant Woman

The woman said she had a miscarriage a few days later. The city denied that the jolts caused the miscarriage.


Cops Charged In Alleged Laquan McDonald Cover-Up ‘Comfortable’ With Latest Judge

The officers have decided to forgo their right to reject the most recent judge in the case.

WBEZ Updates

New Judge Appointed To Laquan McDonald Cover-Up Case

The special prosecution of three Chicago cops charged with covering up for Jason Van Dyke, the officer who fatally shot the teenager in 2014, keeps going from Cook County judge to another.

Every Other Hour

Making A Big Dent In Chicago's Violence Could Take Tens Of Thousands Of Jobs

Officials say jobs are key to reducing violence. So WBEZ took a crack at the calculations.


ACLU Questions Contempt Charge During Murder Case Against Chicago Cop

An ACLU lawyer is questioning why a judge ordered a 51-year-old Chicago man held in contempt for snapping his fingers during a recess.


Judge Refuses To Dismiss Murder Case Against Cop Who Shot Laquan McDonald

A prosecutor called argument by Jason Van Dyke’s attorney “chilling and scary,” and says it “ignores the historical role of the grand jury.”


CPD Defends Start Date Of New Use-Of-Force Policy

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says the new policy won't go into effect until all officers are trained on the new rules.

Every Other Hour

In Chicago, A Stark Racial Disparity In Gun Violence

In Chicago, more than 80 percent of homicide victims are black.


Cop Charged With Murder Must Keep Coming To Court

A judge ruled Thursday that a cop charged with murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald can’t skip court because of protesters.


Cops Outgunned By Gangs? Can’t Tell From CPD Firearm Seizures

Some aldermen say gangs are increasingly armed with assault weapons, but a police dataset raises questions about the extent of the problem.


Chicago Cop Faces New Charges In Shooting Of Laquan McDonald

A grand jury added 16 new counts against Officer Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot a black teenager 16 times.


Experts: Promotion of Cop With 90 Complaints Raises ‘Red Flags’

Experts appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to study police accountability are questioning the promotion of a cop with a long complaint history.


Mayor, Top Cop Defend Promotion Of Commander With 90 Complaints

James Sanchez has one of the Chicago Police Department’s longest complaint histories but heads a busy West Side district.


Chicago Cop With Long Complaint History Heads Busy Police District

Chicago Police Cmdr. James Sanchez has almost twice as many complaints as any other district commander.


Cook County State's Attorney Reexamining Double-Murder Conviction

After his 1997 arrest in a double-murder case, Jaime Hauad claimed the police threatened to cut off his toes if he didn't confess.

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