“Inappropriately low” bail for the man suspected in the vehicular rampage that killed six and injured scores more a month ago today isn’t a “mistake.” Setting violent offenders free cheaply is how Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s office operates.
According to a review by Fox6 News, one out of every five suspects charged with homicide or attempted homicide in Milwaukee County County this year was on bond for another crime. More than half of those pending cases involved violent crimes.
FOX6 Investigators reviewed 117 homicide and attempted homicide cases filed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 10, 2021. The investigation found 25 of 117 had already been out on bond following previous charges. More than half (13) had pending felonies that involved violence. And at least six posted bonds of $1,000 or less before they were charged with engaging in deadly violence.
According to the news outlet:
George Reel was already convicted of killing someone just five years ago. The fatal hit-and-run from 2016 earned him probation, rather than prison time. When Reel was charged with leading police on a high-speed chase in 2020, his bond was set at $3,000. He posted it, got out, and kept driving. On New Year’s Eve 2020, police say Reel blew through a red light at 60th and Burleigh, causing a crash that sent another car through the air. It landed on 36-year-old Arthur Baker, who was standing in the median. Baker was killed.
Records also show Demetrius Pearson was charged in 2019 with shooting at a friend who refused to go on a food run with him. His bond was set at $10,000 and then later reduced to $1,000 when case backlogs delayed his trial. Pearson paid the $1,000 and three days later, removed his GPS bracelet and went off the grid. Ten months later, police say Pearson shot and wounded an ex-girlfriend after threatening to kill her.
As Empower Wisconsin first reported, Milwaukee County citizens have filed an official complaint asking Gov. Tony Evers to open an investigation into Chisholm and his office. They join a growing chorus of Wisconsin residents calling for Evers to fire Chisholm.
The governor’s office did not return Empower Wisconsin’s requests for comment.
Read the Fox6 investigation here.