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Mike Mather is an Emmy-winning and Murrow-winning investigative reporter.

In his 25-year career, he has reported nationally and internationally for NewsChannel 3, The Daily Press, The Virginian-Pilot, CBS News, and The New York Times. His stories have earned dozens of journalism awards, including a Pulitzer nomination.

Career highlights:

-Proved Norfolk city leaders were not telling the full truth about the death of a police recruit. The city’s police chief later lost his job.

-Tracked down a murderous fugitive in Russia and secured the man’s return to the United States. He was convicted.

-Exposed a broken system that allowed a Norfolk auctioneer to repeatedly pocket clients’ money, without consequences. Mike’s story led to a state investigation and felony charges.

-Gained a pardon for a man wrongfully convicted of rape.

-Revealed how the FBI lost control of secret evidence in the Colonial Parkway serial murders, leading the agency to re-open the cases.

-Uncovered fatal mistakes in Virginia Beach’s foster-care system that led to the death of a child. The state launched an investigation because of Mike’s stories, and the director resigned.

Mike is one of the only journalists in the nation to graduate from a police academy and SWAT academy, where he got an inside look at how officers are selected and trained. He and his wife Elizabeth have four boys, including triplets. One of Mike’s triplets, Owen, has Cerebral Palsy. Mike helped found a charity running team in Virginia Beach dedicated to including disabled children in athletic events. Mike is also a volunteer instructor for Wintergreen Adaptive Sports, where he helps teach people with disabilities, including his son, to ski or snowboard.

Mike was born and raised in Virginia Beach but now lives in the Ghent section of Norfolk. He enjoys running, photography, snowboarding and volleyball, and he’s studying to be a pilot. He and several NewsChannel 3 colleagues sometimes pool their musical talents to play in a band. Mike plays guitar.

Follow him on Twitter, @mikemather

Recent Articles
  • Widow of dead Norfolk police recruit cannot sue the city

    The widow of a Norfolk police recruit who died from head blows during training cannot pursue a wrongful-death claim against the city, according to a Virginia Supreme Court decision released today. The justices in a written opinion said that Patricia Kohn, widow of John Kohn, must rely upon the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Act to collect any money from the death. Through lawyers, she had claimed police officers and the city were negligent because her husband was repeatedly struck in the […]

  • Military surplus program debated in Congress

    Members of a Senate committee today asked if a military-surplus program that stocks police with battlefield gear has gone overboard. The surplus program has armed thousands of police departments large and small with M-16 machine guns, battle gear, grenade launchers, airplanes and helicopters, even mine-resistant trucks, all at no charge. The “1033 program” as it is called has come under scrutiny since police in Ferguson, Mo., faced protestors upset about an officer’s shooting of an unarmed black man. Some officers […]

  • Norfolk’s commonwealth’s attorney sides with police in every case reviewed

    Norfolk’s top prosecutor has ruled police were justified in shooting an elderly mentally ill man in his apartment. It turns out in every single case reviewed by the commonwealth’s attorney, he has sided with police. The 72-year-old neighbor in an apartment tower was mentally ill, and he was getting sicker. Police were part of a team sent to help. Lawrence Faine grabbed a knife. Police shot him. It was the second time that month police killed mentally ill men, provoking […]

  • One-drink limit: Feds pushing for lower DUI standards

    Members of the National Transportation Safety Board are lobbying Virginia and other states to reduce the threshold for drunk driving to 0.05 from the current national standard of 0.08. NTSB member Mark Rosekind made the pitch again Wednesday in New England, at a conference moderated by the area’s American Automobile Association. Rosekind make a similar presentation to Hampton Roads police officers at a Virginia Beach conference earlier this year. Supporters say the tougher standard will save lives, but critics say […]

  • Attorney says police shooting ‘unnecessary and preventable’

    A Norfolk attorney who has viewed bank surveillance video showing police killing an unarmed check forger in a drive-through says the shooting was “unnecessary and preventable.” John Cooper, of the Cooper Hurley Law Firm, said he got involved only after Norfolk police refused to let the family of Joshua “Omar” Johnson see the video of the young man’s encounter with officers in May, 2013. Cooper sued Norfolk to get the tape. According to Cooper, the bank video does not support […]

  • One police shooting, three official accounts

    A federal-court lawsuit has offered a third account of a controversial police shooting last year in a drive-through lane at a Ghent Wells Fargo bank. All three official accounts of the shooting that left a suspected check-forger dead in his car agree on some facts, but differ wildly on others. Those differences will be pivotal in the family’s excessive-force lawsuit against two Norfolk officers. The biggest and perhaps oddest discrepancy is how one of the responding officers got hurt. A […]

  • Judge outlines facts that contradict officers’ account of deadly Wells Fargo shooting in Norfolk

    A judge in a federal civil suit has outlined a series of facts in a deadly May, 2013, Norfolk police shooting that directly contradicts what officers said happened at a Wells Fargo bank in Ghent.

  • Military surplus weapons sent to local college campuses

    The same military-surplus program that has sent more than 300 M-16 battlefield rifles to local police departments has also sent the weapons to local colleges. A state-police database obtained by NewsChannel 3 shows the College of William and Mary and Old Dominion University have received fully automatic M-16s through the same surplus program at the center of scrutiny in Ferguson, Mo. There, as police clashed with protestors angered over the shooting death of a teen, officers appeared outfitted with guns, […]

  • Virginia Beach police preparing tank-like truck for SWAT team

    Virginia Beach, Va. – Virginia Beach police officials confirmed this week they are adding a military-surplus armored truck to their fleet for SWAT operations. The fortified truck is called a mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP. It initially cost taxpayers $700,000 but the city got it without charge from the military’s surplus program. These trucks once patrolled battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, built to withstand or lessen roadside bomb blasts. In a city environment, however, some departments have found the trucks […]

  • Military surplus has armed Hampton Roads police forces just like Ferguson’s

    A longtime federal program that has transferred military-surplus weapons and battle gear to police departments is under scrutiny after police in Ferguson, Mo., rolled into streets outfitted like soldiers.

  • NewsChannel 3 Investigates: Military surplus program providing local police with wartime weapons

    If it looks like police in Ferguson are dressed for a front line firefight, that's because they are. Police there have taken advantage of a military surplus program that puts war weapons, combat clothing, and even tanks in the hands of police officers across the country.

  • Missing-money investigation tightens Norfolk parking policies

    Norfolk, Va. – Norfolk’s auditor said in a report he could not determine if employee theft was the reason for money missing from parking funds because of parking system’s unreliable accounting. In a report released recently to NewsChannel 3, auditor John Sanderlin said his investigators “were not able to make a reliable comparison of expected revenues to actual revenues” when it came to special event parking, or what the city sometimes calls cash-on-entry parking. For months, Sanderlin investigated a tip […]


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