Mick Dumke

Reporter

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Mick Dumke is a reporter and columnist for ProPublica Illinois. Since joining ProPublica, his work has focused on politics and criminal justice, including investigations of the underground gun trade, secret law enforcement databases and corruption in state and Chicago city government. Mick came to ProPublica after two years on the Watchdogs team at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he reported on civil liberties, the war on drugs and the dismantling of public housing. Before that, he spent almost a decade as a politics writer and editor for the Chicago Reader. He has also worked as a reporter and editor at the Chicago Reporter magazine, taught social studies at an alternative high school and studied religion at Northwestern University and McCormick Theological Seminary.

Disinvested: How Government and Private Industry Let the Main Street of a Black Neighborhood Crumble

A half-century after Chicago’s uprisings in 1968, a once-thriving retail strip in East Garfield Park still suffers from broken promises, bad policy and neglect.

When Is a Meeting Not a Meeting and a Lawmaker Not a Lawmaker? When It’s Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago.

Chicago’s mayor held secretive calls with the City Council and claimed they weren't “public business.” We asked the state attorney general’s office to review whether she and the council violated the Open Meetings Act. Its ruling: Yes.

As Trump Calls for Law and Order, Can Chicago’s Top Prosecutor Beat the Charge That She’s Soft on Crime?

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was elected on a promise of reform. In a year of unrest and fear, she’ll find out if voters really want it.

In Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago, Bridges Have Become Barricades

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has repeatedly ordered Chicago’s river bridges raised to keep people out of downtown. She said the move was to protect businesses and residents. But it is also a symbol of the city’s divisions.

Bill Barr Has Done This Before

As the Trump administration publicizes its latest show of federal force in Chicago, advocates say there are better ways to prevent violence.

Senior Citizens in Subsidized Housing Have Been Dying Alone at Home, Unnoticed Because of Coronavirus Distancing

The patchwork system of well-being checks in some of Chicago’s public and subsidized housing was not enough to prevent deaths in heartbreaking circumstances.

Leaked Recordings Reveal Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Firmly in Charge and City Alderman Left Largely on the Sidelines

Combative and, at times, dismissive, Chicago’s first-term mayor gathers power as she leads the city’s fight against the coronavirus.

The Chicago Housing Authority Was Slow to Protect Residents During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Internal communications show CHA officials waited weeks before hastily drawing up plans that could reduce the risk of coronavirus exposure for staff and residents.

During Tuesday’s Illinois Primary, Chicago Alderman and Former Firefighter Nicholas Sposato Delivered Pizzas at the Polls as His Ward Office Remained Open

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Sposato said he wanted to serve his constituents. “It is what it is,” he said.

At Chicago’s City Council, Committees Are Used to Reward Political Favors and Fund Patronage

Without new oversight and accountability, City Hall cannot “escape corruption, mismanagement and waste,” the city watchdog says.

Cook County Judge Loosens Unusual Restrictions on Publishing Details of Child Welfare Case

Calling her previous order “overbroad,” the presiding judge of the child protection division says ProPublica Illinois is free to report on the case but can’t disclose the identities of the children.

Chicago’s Inspector General Finds the City’s Gang Database Is Riddled With Errors

The database has been accessed more than 1 million times, including some 32,000 times by immigration officials. Police said they will fix the database but not erase it.

Cook County Judge Keeps Limit on Publication in Place in Child Welfare Case

The presiding judge of the child protection division of juvenile court says she will rule soon on ProPublica Illinois’ request to lift ban.

Promises, Tamales and Even Truth-Telling: Chicago’s Mayoral Race Hits the Final Stretch

In the campaign to succeed Rahm Emanuel, candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle talk neighborhoods and look for votes.

Cook County Judge Blocks ProPublica Illinois From Publishing Details of Child Welfare Case

In moving to shield minors, the judge weighs a challenge to the First Amendment right to publish.

Chicago’s Election Signals Break from the Past — in Wards and at City Hall

In the 49th Ward, a newcomer from the left unseated the once progressive Joe Moore. And mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle tried to distance themselves from Rahm Emanuel, although the two top finishers have their own ties to the political establishment.

At Chicago City Hall, the Legislative Branch Rarely Does Much Legislating

The mayor dominates the City Council while aldermen reign over the “fiefdoms” of their wards.

Cook County Takes Steps to Erase Its Regional Gang Database

Commissioners are set to pass a law banning the database and requiring it to be destroyed.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain

Many welcomed the announcement that the sheriff took the database offline. But the office has resisted calls to destroy it immediately or publicly explain other details of its plans.

The Laquan McDonald Shooting Keeps Exposing Critical Flaws in Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act

After Chicago officials denied records requests from the police shooting, the attorney general’s office did little to push the city to make documents public.

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