By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — A Milwaukee police officer shot multiple times late last week while reportedly trying to break up a robbery is the latest example of how liberal Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s “catch-and-release” policies are threatening public safety, according to two lawmakers.
One of the suspects in Thursday’s shooting, Dionta’e Hayes, 18, was released in October on just $500 bail after he was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and a felony count of resisting an officer causing substantial bodily harm to the officer.
The low bail granted to an accused violent offender smacks of the scant $1,000 bail recommended by Chisholm’s office for Darrell Brooks Jr., the Milwaukee man accused of killing six and injuring scores more with his SUV in Waukesha’s Nov. 21 Christmas parade.
“We saw it last Christmas in Waukesha. We saw it yesterday in broad daylight in Milwaukee. We’ve seen it each of the last 3 years in Milwaukee and surrounding communities,” said Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) in a joint press release. “John Chisholm’s catch-and-release, no bail or low bail policy, is making us all less safe.”
“People need to feel safe in their community. Without that, they don’t have much of a life, or a neighborhood. Chisholm’s social justice cause has made neighborhoods in Milwaukee County and southeastern Wisconsin less safe. It has to stop,” the lawmakers added.
Chisholm’s office had recommended what even the DA admitted was “inappropriately low” bail for Brooks just days before he is suspected of terrorizing Waukesha. Brooks had been in jail on eerily similar charges, accused of driving over the mother of his child in the same SUV just three weeks before the Waukesha massacre.
The 37-year-old off-duty police officer, a detective, suffered life-threatening injuries after being shot multiple times around 2 p.m. Thursday in the Third Ward, Milwaukee Police said.
Hayes and Timonte Carroll-Robinson, 17, attempted to rob a woman when the off-duty detective intervened, according to police.
It’s the latest incident, critics say, of Chisholm’s progressive policies setting violent suspects free on low bail.
It seems Gov. Tony Evers isn’t interested in holding his fellow Democrat accountable.
Evers last week rejected a complaint from six Milwaukee County citizens asking the governor to open an investigation into Chisholm’s conduct. Evers secretly hired an outside attorney to pick apart the complaint, and provide the Democrat political cover. More than a dozen Waukesha-area lawmakers sent a letter to the governor last week asserting the memo from the governor’s legal hit man “rests heavily on assumptions, ambiguity and perceived technicalities.” In short, Evers took the coward’s way out.
The Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Thursday will hold a hearing on four bills aimed at reforming low bail in the Badger State.
— Senate Joint Resolution 82 allows judges to consider criminal history, dangerousness to the community and other factors when setting cash bail
— Senate Bill 856 prohibits release without cash bail for individuals with previous felony convictions
— Senate Bill 857 requires the attorney general to collect data on the use of appearance bonds
— and Senate Bill 858 sets minimum bail for defendants previously charged with bail jumping.
Evers in his last state budget proposal called for doing away with felony bail-jumping penalties. He and Chisholm see eye to eye on progressive criminal justice reforms.
Wanggaard invited Chisholm to address the committee.
“He can give his thoughts on improving bail in Wisconsin, because whatever he’s doing isn’t working,” Wanggaard said.