Officials Announce Mistake Was Made in Release of Christmas Parade Massacre Suspect, Investigation Underway

Now that Darrell Brooks of Milwaukee has been named as a suspect in the Waukesha, Wisconsin, Christmas parade attack, the Milwuakee County district attorney is saying he never should have been cut free on such skimpy bail.

At least five people were killed and more than 40 injured when an SUV plowed through the parade Sunday afternoon.

Brooks, who is the only suspect in the case, has had two brushes with low bail this year.

Brooks faced a variety of charges from a Nov. 5 incident. The charges include two felonies — felony bail jumping and second-degree recklessly endangering safety with domestic abuse assessments – and several misdemeanors — obstructing an officer, disorderly conduct and battery, both with domestic abuse assessments.

He posted $1,000 cash bail on Nov. 11.

Brooks also faces felony charges from July 2020 of second-degree recklessly endangering safety with the use of a dangerous weapon and possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony.

Bail on those charges started out at  $10,000 but ended up being reduced to $500 because the state could not schedule a speedy trial.

Brooks posted the $500 bail on February 21.

In a statement issued on Monday, District Attorney John Chisholm said the November bail amount was far too low.

“The State’s bail recommendation in this case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks,” he said.

“The bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office toward matters involving violent crime, nor was it consistent with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to the setting of bail,” he said.

Chisolm said that there would be an internal investigation into the low bail that allowed Brooks to be back on the street.

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Monday that Brooks will face five charges of first-degree intentional homicide.

Thompson said the current belief is that Brooks acted alone.

He said that Brooks had been involved in a domestic disturbance before the incident.

Waukesha’s Christmas parade was in progress Sunday when the tragedy struck.

Angelito Tenorio, an alderman in West Allis, had just finished marching when the parade became a nightmare, according to USA Today.

“We saw an SUV cross over, just put the pedal to the metal and just zooming full speed along the parade route,” Tenorio said. “And then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle. And then we saw people running away or stopping crying, and there are people on the ground who looked like they’d been hit by the vehicle.”

Chisholm has won praise for his past stands on criminal justice reforms.

“John is a national leader in law enforcement, because he is genuinely interested in trying to achieve the right results, not only in individual cases but in larger policy issues as well,” Cyrus Vance, Jr., Manhattan’s District Attorney, has said, according to the New Yorker.

In its 2015 report on criminal justice reform, the New Yorker talked about a diversion program Chisholm created.

“The whole program is designed to reduce the number of people we are putting in jail or prison, but to do it in a smart, accountable way,” Jeffrey Altenburg, a deputy district attorney under Chisholm, said. “It’s to get people back on track, based on their risk and their need.”

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