Wisconsin Republicans urge removal of DA over parade deaths

Republican state lawmakers are calling on Wisconsin's Democratic governor, Tony Evers, to remove Milwaukee County’s top prosecutor because his office recommended $1,000 bail for a man before he allegedly drove his vehicle through a Christmas parade, killing six people

Via AP news wire
Monday 06 December 2021 19:27
Christmas Parade SUV
Christmas Parade SUV

More than a dozen Republican Wisconsin state lawmakers on Monday called on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to remove Milwaukee County’s top prosecutor because his office recommended $1,000 bail for a man before he allegedly drove his vehicle through a Christmas parade, killing six people.

Darrell Brooks Jr. posted the bail five days before prosecutors say he drove his SUV through the packed parade route in Waukesha on Nov. 21, killing five adults and one child and injuring about 60 other people.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, has been under intense criticism for the bail recommendation in a domestic violence case. Chisholm last week called the bail recommendation from his office “inappropriately low” given the circumstances of the crimes Brooks was facing and his prior history.

Chisholm has refused to relent to the increasing calls for him to resign. He didn't immediately respond to messages left Monday seeking comment on the letter GOP lawmakers sent to Evers.

Sixteen Republican state lawmakers who represent the Waukesha area, including Senate President Chris Kapenga, called on Evers to “immediately” remove Chisholm from office, saying he has neglected his duty to the people of Wisconsin.

The governor can only take action to remove a district attorney if a local taxpayer brings a specific, written allegation against the officeholder. None of the lawmakers who signed Monday's letter live in Milwaukee County.

Evers' spokeswoman, Britt Cudaback, said the governor had yet to receive a verified complaint from a local taxpayer calling on Chisholm to be removed. If a valid one is received, the governor can only take action following an investigation if the district attorney is found to be guilty of “inefficiency, neglect of duty, official misconduct or malfeasance in office.”

Last week, Evers said it was clear that Brooks “should not have been out on bail,” but he has not called for Chisholm's resignation.

Chisholm has said the bail recommendation was made by an assistant district attorney who had been on the job for two-and-a-half years, was handling two dozen other felony cases and a jury trial when Brooks’ case fell to her. Furthermore, he said she never had access to Brooks’ risk assessment because it hadn’t been uploaded into the office’s system.

Chisholm said he was doing an internal review, which the governor had also requested be done.

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