Waukesha massacre fallout: Milwaukee County citizens file official demand for governor to fire DA over bail

Most of us stopped hearing about the Waukesha massacre after the national media found out the circumstances under which the perpetrator committed his heinous murders. The residents of Milwaukee County have made sure that Governor Tony Evers hasn’t stopped hearing about it, though. In a formal petition, citizens outraged over the ridiculously low bail set for Darrell Brooks in a previous vehicular assault want Evers to fire DA John Chisholm over bail policies he implemented.


Jason Calvi reports that Evers has the authority to dismiss Chisholm. Will he?

Milwaukee County residents have officially asked Governor Tony Evers to fire District Attorney John Chisholm. Evers says he’ll take the complaint seriously.

Wisconsin state law allows the governor to oust a district attorney for cause, but it requires a verified complaint filed by a taxpayer of the jurisdiction, which then starts a process. That document was handed over to the governor, asking Evers to remove Chisholm from office. …

“I think it’s in his best interest, and clearly, it’s in the best interest of the people of southeast Wisconsin to fire John Chisholm and make southeast Wisconsin a safer place,” said Orville Seymer, the complaint organizer who is also with conservative group Citizens for Responsible Government. Another conservative group, Empower Wisconsin, first reported the existence of the document, which FOX6 confirmed.

Seymer and six others signed the notarized, formal complaint asking Evers to remove Chisholm, pointing to the bail offered to the Waukesha Christmas Parade suspect before the attack.

“We’ve got six people dead, including an 8-year-old boy, people’s mothers and grandmothers, and there are thousands of people around southeast Wisconsin who are thinking, ‘That could have been my son, that could have been my mother, that could have been my grandmother’ and John Chisholm knew this could have happened,” said Seymer.


Evers claims he will take this petition “seriously,” and he probably won’t have many options but to do so. A couple of weeks ago when Republican state legislators pressed for a review of Chisholm’s performance, Evers demurred, claiming he didn’t have the necessary complaint. That had allowed Evers to distance himself from any responsibility in the scandal … until now:

At a Monday afternoon news conference in West Bend, WUWM asked Evers about the Republicans’ demand.

“Haven’t seen the letter. As soon as I receive a letter per state law to begin that process, we would begin it. But it has to be somebody from the county,” said Evers.

This means a resident of Chisholm’s county would need to write a complaint. …

Last week, Evers said Brooks should not have been out on bail and Chisholm has acknowledged the bail amount was “inappropriately low.”

If Evers believes that, then there should be accountability for the outcome — six dead people, dozens injured, in an incident that the most recent charges foreshadowed. Brooks’ history showed him to be dangerous even before then, and a competent DA would have asked for a high enough bail to at least recognize that risk.


And let’s not forget Chisholm’s dismissive admission that his bail-reform policies would create situations like this. In fact, the Waukesha massacre isn’t the first such death that resulted from Chisholm’s low-bail policies:

Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm knew his radical, “progressive” approach to bail reform would get someone killed. He admitted it in an interview back in 2007.

“Is there going to be an individual I divert, or I put into [a] treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill somebody?” Chisholm said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You bet. Guaranteed. It’s guaranteed to happen. It does not invalidate the overall approach.” …

Jeremiah Schoeder had two felony counts against him, one for maintaining a drug den and one for selling heroin. Thanks to Chisholm’s lenient bail laws, Schroeder walked out of court a free man. He was out of jail when he tied off 26-year-old Cassandra Lutz’s arm and shot her up with a lethal dose of heroin.

“Chisholm thinks this program is working,” Bob Lutz said about Cassandra. “Why? Because he wants to look good. He doesn’t care about the individuals like myself or my daughter or my wife, who every time I look at her, she’s crying. I’m not saying my daughter’s perfect. She wasn’t,” Lutz continued, referring to Cassandra as his daughter (she was actually his granddaughter as he and his wife were raising her). “Everybody has faults. OK, but her fault was not to die.”


The question Evers should answer in this review is: How many more people have to die before Chisholm gets removed? And how many more people have to die before we reconsider just how far we’ve gone with bail reform?

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