What We Know About Darrell Brooks, Suspect in the Waukesha Parade Crash


Wisconsin Holiday Parade Tragedy

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Here is what we know about the suspect in the parade tragedy.

The Waukesha police chief, Daniel Thompson, at a news conference on Sunday.Credit…Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Nov. 22, 2021Updated 3:50 p.m. ET

Darrell E. Brooks Jr., who is accused of driving his maroon 2010 Ford Escape into the Christmas parade in Waukesha, has a long, violent criminal history — and was freed just six days ago on $1,000 bail after being accused of trying to run over his girlfriend with the same S.U.V.

Mr. Brooks, 39, who is from Milwaukee, has been charged with or convicted on an array of charges over the past 22 years, including battery, domestic violence, cocaine possession and resisting arrest in several jurisdictions in Wisconsin.

He has served at least two jail sentences and spent years on probation and in court-mandated work-release and anger management programs, records showed.

On Nov. 2, Mr. Brooks was arrested in Milwaukee after the mother of his child accused him of punching her in the face in a hotel room, then following her in his S.U.V. into the parking lot of a gas station, where he hit her with the car, according to the police.

“Officers observed tire tracks on her left pants leg,” wrote one of the officers, according to a criminal complaint, accompanying a charge of recklessly endangering the woman, which carries a possible sentence of 10 years in prison.

The woman was treated at a hospital for injuries that included facial cuts and bruises. The police observed “swelling on her lip and dried blood on her face.”

Prosecutors agreed to release Mr. Brooks on Nov. 11 for a fraction of the $10,000 bail they initially requested. In a statement on Monday, the Milwaukee district attorney, John T. Chisholm, described the state’s bail recommendation as “inappropriately low” in light of the seriousness of the charges and “not consistent” with office policy.

“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 statement said.

Mr. Brooks’s lawyer in the November case, Joseph T. Domask, said in a brief telephone interview that he could not comment on the case without his client’s authorization.

In almost every one of his brushes with the law, Mr. Brooks resisted arrest or attempted to obstruct officers, according to the records.

That pattern held true earlier this month: When the police tried to arrest him, he sprinted into his residence and “closed four doors on officers” before they restrained him, according to the criminal complaint.

He also has a long history of domestic abuse allegations and paternity warrants, which are typically issued for nonpayment of child support.

Dan Thompson, chief of the Waukesha Police Department, told reporters on Monday that Mr. Brooks had been involved in a “domestic disturbance” immediately before driving through the parade. He declined to release any other details or comment on Mr. Brooks’s previous cases, saying he did not want to compromise the current case.

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