Wisconsin parade: DA admitted reforms may lead to freed criminals killing people years before Waukesha tragedy

·2-min read
 (AP)
(AP)

A Wisconsin district attorney acknowledged that his justice reforms could lead to freed criminals killing others more than a decade before a man his office released on bail mowed down dozens of people at a Christmas parade in Waukesha.

John Chisholm began enacting reforms – including the lowering of cash bonds and diverting non-violent offenders to treatment programs – when he was elected as Milwaukee County District Attorney in 2007.

Explaining his efforts to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that same year, Mr Chisholm acknowledged the possibility of adverse consequences.

“Is there going to be an individual I divert, or I put into a treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill somebody? You bet. Guaranteed. It’s guaranteed to happen,” he said.

“It does not invalidate the overall approach.”

Mr Chisholm’s comments were drawn back into the spotlight this week after Darrell Brooks, a felon with a rap sheet dating back to 1999, was accused of killing five people and wounding 48 others by driving his car into Waukesha’s Christmas parade.

Court records revealed Mr Chisholm’s office allowed Mr Brooks to be released on $1,000 bond just 10 days before the attack.

The records show Mr Brooks had been charged three times in less than two years with recklessly endangering the safety of others, most recently on 5 November.

That case stemmed from a domestic abuse incident for which he was also charged with resisting or obstructing an officer.

On Monday, officials from the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said they were investigating the bail recommendations from previous crimes said to involve Mr Brooks.

As for his most recent release, the DA’s office said: “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.”

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