DA: Setting 'inappropriately low' bail for suspect in parade attack 'resulted in a tragedy'

Milwaukee County’s district attorney said Thursday that bail was set “inappropriately low” on previous charges faced by the suspect in the Wisconsin Christmas parade attack, which “resulted in a tragedy.”

Darrell Brooks, who has an extensive criminal history, is facing multiple homicide charges after driving a car through a November parade in Waukesha, Wis., injuring dozens of people and killing six.

District Attorney John Chisholm has received backlash for the low bail amount Brooks received in a separate domestic violence case in the lead-up to the attack, The Associated Press reported.


Chisholm told the county’s judiciary committee that a young assistant district attorney who was overworked set Brooks's bail at $1,000, which he called an “inappropriately low” amount for a case of that nature, before the attack occurred.

The assistant district attorney was handling two dozen other felony cases and did not see Brooks’s risk assessment before setting the bail, according to Chisholm.

“That is a decision on its face … that I believe was inappropriately low given the context of what we knew about the defendant,” Chisholm said. “That’s human error. It set in motion a chain of events that resulted in a tragedy. Again, I’m not trying to lessen our responsibility for that, but that’s it. In essence, that’s what you had here, a young [assistant district attorney] trying to do the best she could under tough circumstances and she made a mistake.”

Brooks was charged on Nov. 5 for allegedly running over the mother of his child with a vehicle, which resulted in the $1,000 bail. In 2020, Brooks was charged for allegedly firing a gun at his nephew, but posted bail for $500 in March after the court kept postponing his case due to backlog, according to the AP.

Residents have cast blame Chisholm both for the low bail amount set for Brooks and for the district attorney's advocacy for getting rid of cash bail. 

“I caution people not to jump to conclusions, but there is one conclusion that is obvious: that [Brooks] should not have been out,” Gov. Tony EversTony EversWisconsin state GOP lawmaker calls for party to 'cheat like Democrats' to win elections Sen. Ron Johnson: Straight from the horse's mouth Wisconsin GOP bill would count prior COVID-19 infection as immunity MORE (D) said, the AP noted. “But we are looking forward to the conclusion to the investigation.”

Brooks’ mother has blamed the lack of mental health resources in the community for the November attack.