By BENJAMIN YOUNT
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — There are a lot of questions about bail and Milwaukee County courts following Sunday’s tragedy at the Waukesha Christmas Parade.
Waukesha Police on Monday identified the suspect as Darrell E. Brooks, Jr. Police say he ran down more than 50 people during Sunday’s parade, killing five of them.
Mr. Brooks has a lengthy criminal history that dates back to 1999, but police say he was involved in more recent crimes as well.
“We have information that the suspect, prior to the incident, was involved in a domestic disturbance,” Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson told reporters. “The suspect left that scene just prior to our arrival at that domestic disturbance.”
Just minutes later Brooks plowed through the parade crowd.
But that’s not Mr. Brooks’ only recent crime.
He was released on $1,000 bail on Friday on charges of second degree recklessly endangering safety, felony bail jumping, battery, obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct.
Mr. Brooks was also released from jail back in February before his trial for felony weapons charges could be heard. He posted $500 in that case.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm on Monday said Mr. Brooks’ most recent bail was too low.
“The State’s bail recommendation in [the most recent] case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks. 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 setting of bail,” Mr. Chisholm said in a statement. “This office is currently conducting an internal review of the decision to make the recent bail recommendation in this matter in order to determine the appropriate next steps.”
Chief Thompson said his office is recommending five counts of first degree homicide against Mr. Brooks for the five deaths at Sunday’s parade.
No one at Waukesha’s Monday news conference commented on Mr. Brooks’ criminal history, or the low bail that had him on the street.
“Right now our focus, the Waukesha Police Department’s focus, the city of Waukesha’s focus is the families, the victims, and due process because that’s important,” Chief Thompson said.