Wis. Lawmakers Seek Bail Law Reform Following Deadly Holiday Parade

Wis. Lawmakers Seek Bail Law Reform Following Deadly Holiday Parade Wis. Lawmakers Seek Bail Law Reform Following Deadly Holiday Parade Memorials placed along Main Street in downtown Waukesha Wisconsin left in areas where people were hit by a driver plowing into the Christmas parade on Main Street in downtown November 22, 2021 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (Jim Vondruska/Getty)

By Charles Kim | Wednesday, 24 November 2021 05:41 PM

Members of the Wisconsin legislature are introducing a state constitutional amendment to reform its bail law after a man with an extensive criminal history out on $1,000 bail allegedly rammed his SUV into a crowd participating in the annual Waukesha Christmas parade, killing six and injuring dozens.

"I think it's a wake-up call for everybody," state Rep. Cindi Duchow, R-Town of Delafield, told television news station WISN after introducing the amendment on Tuesday.

"We have got a problem. There are dangerous people that need to be in jail."

According to Waukesha police, the suspect in the case, identified as Darrell E. Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee, drove his red SUV through barricades set up for the town’s annual Christmas parade around 4:40 p.m. Sunday, hitting dozens of people, killing six, and injuring more than 40, the New York Times reported.

Police said that Brooks had posted $1,000 bail just days earlier for another incident where he allegedly hit the mother of his child with his vehicle and was allegedly fleeing the scene of a domestic violence incident right before driving into the crowd.

"He had a very, very long history," Duchow told WISN. "He tried to run over someone else with a car. He should have had a really high bail, which would have made it hard for him to get out."

While state judges can consider a suspect’s flight risk when they determine bail, they cannot consider past criminal offenses or their severity, according to the story.

To change the state constitution, the bill would have to pass two consecutive legislative sessions and then be approved by Wisconsin voters.

On Monday, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisolm admitted that the $1,000 bail granted to Brooks, rather than the $10,000 initially requested by the state shortly before the deadly incident Sunday was "inappropriately low."

"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," the Times reported a statement from his office said.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident but have already charged Brooks with five counts of intentional homicide, which may go to six following the death Tuesday, and even more charges will likely follow the investigation, Chief of Police Daniel Thompson said during a televised press conference.

Children’s Wisconsin hospital said it was treating 18 of the child victims who ranged in age from 3-16, and as of Tuesday, six were in critical condition, three in fair condition and four in good condition.

One unidentified child died from their injuries on Tuesday, the hospital said.

Brooks remains in custody pending further charges and court action.