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Suspect in Waukesha holiday parade crash was released on low bail because of 'human error,' DA says

"It set in motion a chain of events that resulted in a tragedy," Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said.
Image: Darrell Brooks
Darrell Brooks Jr. appears at Waukesha County Court on Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha, Wis.Mark Hoffman / Getty Images file

The Milwaukee County District Attorney said "human error" was to blame for the suspect in the Waukesha, Wisconsin, Christmas parade tragedy being released on low cash bail.

Darrell Brooks Jr. was arrested after he allegedly drove an SUV into a crowd of people at the Nov. 21 parade. Six people were killed and nearly 50 others were injured.

Weeks before the incident, Brooks had posted $1,000 cash bail in a domestic abuse case after he was accused of intentionally striking a woman with his car.

District Attorney John Chisholm said Thursday that the domestic abuse incident was "very serious" and Brooks should have received a higher cash bail.

He was instead given an "inappropriately" low bail by an overworked assistant district attorney, according to Chisholm.

He told the County Board’s Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee that the unidentified employee has about two-and-a-half years of experience and had a tough workload during the time she was reviewing Brooks' case.

According to Chisholm, the employee was in the middle of a jury trial and was reviewing almost two dozen felony-level cases, which included Brooks'.

She also did not have access to Brooks' risk assessment system, which is used to determine high-risk or violent offenders, because it had not yet been uploaded, Chisholm said.

"Given the volume of cases she was dealing with, given her jury trial that she was working on, she simply charged the case. She looked at the previous bail, saw that it was $500 and she doubled it," the DA said in a live stream of the meeting.

"That’s it. That’s a mistake. That’s human error. It set in motion a chain of events that resulted in a tragedy.”

Chisholm said he was "angry" and "frustrated" over the deaths.

"I put the finger on myself and that’s my obligation, that’s my responsibility," he said.

Chisholm's office did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.

Brooks was fleeing the scene of a domestic disturbance when he turned into the parade, police have said. Authorities were not pursuing Brooks at the time.

A criminal complaint alleges that he drove the SUV into the crowd. Witnesses said he was swerving and appeared to be intentionally trying to hit people.

He was arrested minutes later as he stood on the porch of a nearby house asking the homeowner to help him call a ride.

Brooks has been charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

In an interview with Fox News from the Waukesha County Jail, Brooks said he felt "like I’m being monster — demonized." He did not give a possible motive.