John Chisholm

In this Feb. 12, 2018, file photo, District Attorney John Chisholm discusses criminal charges he filed against three county jail staffers in Milwaukee, for the dehydration death of an inmate in 2016. Content Exchange

Criticism is mounting against Milwaukee County's top prosecutor after one of the suspects in the Thursday afternoon shooting of an off-duty police officer was found to have been out of custody on a signature bond.

Some have called for Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, to be removed from office after an assistant district attorney requested a relatively low bail for Darrell Brooks, the man accused of driving into a Waukesha Christmas parade on Nov. 21, killing six and injuring more than 50 others.

Under a signature bond, suspects are allowed out of custody without posting any bail money. If the conditions of their bond are violated, such as if the suspect goes on to commit a crime while out on bond, they will be required to pay a pre-set amount.

Brooks had been in court 16 days before the parade attack after he allegedly hit the mother of his child intentionally with his car. He was let out of custody on a $1,000 bond.

One of the suspects in Thursday's shooting of the Milwaukee police officer is Dionta'e Hayes, 18. On Oct. 21, he was charged with operating a vehicle without the owner's consent, a misdemeanor, and resisting an officer causing substantial bodily harm, a felony. The next day, he got out on a $500 signature bond.

Van Wanggaard


Janel Brandtjen


“We saw it last Christmas in Waukesha. We saw it yesterday in broad daylight in Milwaukee. We’ve seen it each of the last three years in Milwaukee and surrounding communities. John Chisholm’s catch-and-release, no bail or low bail policy, is making us all less safe," state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, and Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, said in a joint statement Friday. "Chisholm’s social justice cause has made neighborhoods in Milwaukee County and southeastern Wisconsin less safe. It has to stop."

Chisholm has resisted calls to step down. He said it was an oversight caused by "human error," committed by an overworked assistant district attorney, that allowed Brooks to be given such a low bond in light of the allegations against him.

Wanggaard, a retired Racine police officer, said that he is inviting Chisholm to attend a Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety hearing on Thursday regarding Republican-backed bail reform proposals.

"I encourage John Chisholm to come and testify. He can give his thoughts on improving bail in Wisconsin, because whatever he’s doing isn’t working," Wanggaard said.

Thursday's shooting

Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said the 37-year-old detective suffered life-threatening injuries after he was shot multiple times at about 2 p.m. Thursday in the Third Ward, near the intersection of North Water and East Buffalo streets. Norman said Thursday that the detective was in stable condition at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa.

Hayes and Timonte Carroll-Robinson, 17, are accused of having attempted to rob a woman and the off-duty officer attempted to intervene. According to police, the officer fired a gun at the suspects but did not hit anyone.

“This was an off-duty detective probably just ordering food,” Norman said. “He went into danger without any hesitation.”

Other officers brought Hayes and Carroll-Robinson into custody upon their car being recognized after they fled the scene.

Evers not to move against Chisholm

A complaint demanding that Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, remove Chisholm was deemed not valid, an attorney hired by the governor's administration concluded Tuesday.

The complaint from a group of Milwaukee County taxpayers has a host of technical shortcomings, attorney Matthew Fleming wrote in a memo to Evers. Nothing indicates the group swore oaths that they believe their statements were true, notary verifications were incomplete and the group failed to allege any facts that show Chisholm neglected his duties, Fleming wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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