Ken Armstrong

Senior Reporter

Ken Armstrong joined ProPublica in 2017. In 2018, his reporting with Christian Sheckler on the criminal justice system in Elkhart, Indiana, led to criminal charges against two officers and the police chief’s resignation. He previously worked at The Marshall Project, where his work appeared in the Washington Post, The New Yorker and The Paris Review. For his collaboration with ProPublica’s T. Christian Miller, about a woman charged with lying about being raped, Armstrong won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. That story also became a “This American Life” episode; a book, “A False Report”; and, in 2019, an eight-part Netflix series, “Unbelievable.”

Armstrong previously worked for the Seattle Times, where he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for a series with Michael Berens that showed how the state of Washington steered Medicaid patients and others to a cheap but unpredictable painkiller linked to more than 2,000 deaths in the state. At the Seattle Times, he also shared in two staff Pulitzers for breaking news for coverage of a landslide that killed 43 people and the shooting deaths of four police officers.

He has also written for the Chicago Tribune, where his work with Steve Mills helped prompt the Illinois governor to suspend executions and empty death row. He has been honored with six IRE Awards, a Peabody Award and the John Chancellor Award from Columbia University for lifetime achievement. His book with Nick Perry, “Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime, and Complicity,” won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for nonfiction. Armstrong, a graduate of Purdue University, has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and the McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton.

Netflix Series Based on Our Work Explores Costs of Not Believing Rape Victims

The series, “Unbelievable,” draws from our award-winning reporting with The Marshall Project and “This American Life.”

The Questionable Conviction, and Re-Conviction, of Ricky Joyner

Juries convicted Ricky Joyner twice. Once in 1994 and again in 1998, after he won his first appeal. Prosecutors called the case cut and dried. But we looked through transcripts, reports, video and more. Should Joyner’s conviction stand?

How Have Saudi Students in the U.S. Been Able to Flee Back Home After Being Charged With Crimes Here? Help Us Find Out.

We know of cases in eight states and Canada where Saudi college students, under investigation for serious crimes, have disappeared before going on trial or completing their sentences. We are trying to figure out if there is a pattern.

In Elkhart, Indiana, Another Conviction Gets Tossed. The Star Witness Was Hypnotized, a Fact the Prosecutor Concealed.

The prosecutor who failed to disclose the use of hypnosis is now a judge. He knew the hypnotist from the Kiwanis Club.

Long-Lost Records Surface in Wrongful Conviction Case, Detailing Lead Detective’s Fondling of Informants

The reasons for the Elkhart, Indiana, detective’s forced resignation have been a mystery for years. This month, the records were finally turned over. An attorney wants the city punished for the delay.

Elkhart’s Mayor Says He Won’t Run for Re-election, Amid Revelations of Misconduct in the Police Ranks

Since November, two police officers have been charged with misdemeanor battery; news reports have detailed the promotion of many officers with disciplinary records; and the police chief has resigned.

Elkhart’s Acting Police Chief Has Previously Been Demoted, Reprimanded and Suspended

Ed Windbigler was forced out as police chief this week. The interim head, Todd Thayer, was demoted in 2013 for saying an officer who opened fire could now check that off his “bucket list,” according to disciplinary records.

Stung by Controversies, Police Chief Resigns in Elkhart, Indiana

Ed Windbigler’s resignation as chief follows a videotaped beating of a handcuffed man and reports by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica that he had promoted officers with disciplinary histories.

An Elkhart Police Officer Was Convicted of Drunken Driving — Then the Chief Promoted Him

Last year, Chief Ed Windbigler said he doubted the case against the officer would stick. After the officer pleaded guilty, the chief didn’t discipline him. This year, Windbigler promoted him to detective without telling an oversight board.

With Trump’s Justice Department Retreating, Who Will Now Police the Police?

The Department of Justice is moving away from taking on abuses by local law enforcement. This is what that means for Elkhart, Indiana.

Elkhart, Indiana, Police Chief Suspended for 30 Days Following Release of Beating Video

The mayor disciplined the chief after revelations by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica about the city’s troubled police force. But the mayor made no public announcement, leaving people, including the chair of the city’s civilian oversight commission, to wonder where the chief was.

“They Should Have Been Fired on the Spot”: In Elkhart, Indiana, the Talk Is All About the Police and a Video

At a town hall meeting, the Police Department’s second in command defended his officers and criticized reporters. “What’s all this digging?” he said, while accusing the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica of an “ambush” for calling officers to ask for their comment.

Indiana State Police Turn Down Elkhart Mayor’s Request for Broad Review of City’s Police Department

Stories by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica revealed Elkhart police officers’ misconduct and disciplinary histories. The state police were asked to investigate, but say that’s the job of the U.S. Justice Department.

Who Runs This Police Department? Lots of Officers Who’ve Been Reprimanded or Even Suspended.

The Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department has 34 supervisors. Most of them have been disciplined for carelessness, incompetence or misconduct — including the chief.

Nearly All the Officers in Charge of an Indiana Police Department Have Been Disciplined — Including the Chief Who Keeps Promoting Them

Of the 34 supervisors in the Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department, 28 have been disciplined. Fifteen have been suspended. Seven have been involved in fatal shootings. Three have been convicted of criminal charges.

Indiana Police Officer Before Punching Handcuffed Man: “If You Spit Again, We’re Gonna Party”

On Friday, the Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department released a 30-second clip of two officers beating a man in custody. Now we have the full 30 minutes, ending with the man leaving the police station on a stretcher.

Two Indiana Police Officers to be Charged After Video Shows Them Beating Handcuffed Man

“A little overboard,” is how the police chief had previously described the officers’ actions. The decision to charge them came only after ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network demanded to see the video.

When Public Records Aren’t Public

In Elkhart, Indiana, even easy records can be hard to get. Trial exhibits? No. Appellate briefs? No. Police reports in the court file? No. And don’t even ask about moving those boxes.

Standing by Their Convictions

The DNA didn’t match. The witnesses weren’t sure. But the prosecution persisted.

For Some Victims, Reporting a Rape Can Bring Doubt, Abuse — and Even Prosecution

False reporting is a crime, one that some police would like to make a priority. But history shows the police can’t always tell the truth from a lie.

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