Wisconsin governor feels taxpayer heat to remove prosecutor who set accused Waukesha killer free

A group of Milwaukee County taxpayers has filed a complaint with Gov. Tony Evers (D) demanding that he remove District Attorney John Chisholm after his office recommended a paltry $1,000 bail for Darrell Brooks, the suspect charged with killing six and injuring dozens of others with his SUV during an alleged attack on a Christmas parade in Waukesha.

The group filed the request on Friday to ensure that Chisholm can’t recommend similarly low bail for repeat violent offenders in the future, DailyMail.com reported.

The governor’s office confirmed it had received the complaint and request, according to the outlet, which cited the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Evers has yet to review it, according to a spokeswoman.

“The devastation resulting from Chisholm’s dereliction of duty to protect the public has reached outside the borders of Milwaukee County,” the complaint — signed by Orville Seymer and six others — says.

None of the other half-dozen complainants listed their addresses, the reports noted.

Seymer has been affiliated with a local organization called Citizens for Responsible Government, which was formed in 2002 following a public pension scandal in Milwaukee County.

Under Wisconsin law, governors have the authority to remove elected local district attorneys over “inefficiency, neglect of duty, official misconduct, or malfeasance in office.”

After his alleged attack, Brooks was arraigned and held on a $5 million bond. He has been charged with six vehicular homicides for the Nov. 21 attack in Waukesha, which is a suburb of Milwaukee that is in Waukesha County.

Susan Opper, Waukesha County’s DA, has said that more charges are likely. Authorities have never given a possible motive for the attack.

Days before the parade incident, Brooks had been released on the light bail after he was charged with striking the mother of his child with the same SUV used in the parade attack.

Chisholm has faced intense backlash after the light bail recommendation for Brooks. In the past, the Democratic DA has talked about his desire to reduce jail populations and even having admitted once that doing so likely would result in deaths, DailyMail.com reported.

Earlier this month, the district attorney laid the blame for Brooks’ light bail at the feet of a rookie prosecutor, and while he did not name the prosecutor, she was previously identified as Michelle Grasso.

He said that when setting Brooks’ $1,000 bail two weeks before the parade attack, Grasso saw that his most recent prior bail was $500 so she decided to double that. Chisholm also said that Grasso did not have access to risk management data that would have likely led to her deciding to keep him in jail.

“You had a young (assistant district attorney) trying to do the very best she could under really difficult circumstances and she made a mistake,” Chisholm noted during a Milwaukee County Board Judiciary and Public Safety Committee hearing.

“That is a decision on its face … that I believe was inappropriately low given the context of what we knew about the defendant,” he 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.”

Jon Dougherty


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