Darrell Brooks trial: Defendant's jail letters

While awaiting trial in the Waukesha County Jail for the Waukesha Christmas parade attack, Darrell Brooks wrote a letter to his mother, alleging mistreatment in custody.

Brooks accused correctional officers and even other inmates of a lot – using racial slurs, making other verbal threats, violence and messing with his food. 

Brooks' 2022 jail letter

FOX6 News told you about the letter in May 2022. Brooks wrote that he didn't feel safe in the Waukesha County Jail.

After investigating, the sheriff's department disagreed.

From inside the Waukesha County Jail, Brooks said he needs to find a way out before something serious happens to him, writing the jail would "sweep it under the rug."

Brooks detailed abuse allegations and his complaints against jail staff in a letter to his mother, who shared it with FOX6 News. He quoted a corrections officer as saying, "I hope they give this stupid n-word life in prison. They are going to kill him in prison."

Brooks also said other inmates told him some officers offered to pay them to "F him up and to spit in his food." He concluded by saying no one should be subject to such treatment, adding, "I've been stripped of everything that makes me feel human."

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department declined an interview with FOX6 News regarding the letter, but did confirm that Brooks has filed a grievance over these allegations. In a statement, the sheriff's department said it takes the care and custody of all inmates seriously. After reviewing Brooks' complaints, a spokesman said the sheriff's department was satisfied that correctional officers were treating him appropriately and that they would continue to monitor his care as long as he was at the jail.

Brooks' 2011, 2009 jail letters

In December 2021, FOX6 News obtained letters Brooks previously wrote while behind bars.

In a child support case in Waukesha County, letters show Brooks requested leniency from court officials on two separate occasions. In one request dated November 2009, Brooks appeared to have lost his Huber work release privileges. He blamed his medications for causing him to stop somewhere he was not supposed to be. He said he is not trying to make excuses but said he missed the bus to go back to Huber and got lost until he called Huber and asked for directions. He ended his letter saying:

"I think it would be fair if I got one last shot at Huber, just one last shot, I promise I won’t let you down, you have my word on that."

In the next letter from September 2011, Brooks wrote to a judge from a Wood County Jail cell, trying to explain why he has failed to pay his child support. He said his Social Security benefits were cut off due to him being incarcerated. Once again, he said he was not trying to make excuses, knowing he had a responsibility. He asked the judge for a few months back on the street so his benefits could be reinstated. He said he had struggled to find employment because of his mental health and being a felon didn't help. He ends his letter saying:

"All I ask for your honor is the opportunity to prove I can be the man my mother and god, and also myself, knows I can be."

Brooks' August 2022 outburst in court

The 2022 jail letter wasn't the only time we heard from Brooks following his arrest for the parade attack.

An outburst in court got Brooks thrown out on Aug. 26. One time it was for yelling. The second time was because Brooks said he did not feel well. 

All of this happened during what ended up being an important hearing before Brooks' October trial. 

"You sit up here and act like you know me. People like you – you don’t know nothing about where I come from," Brooks said in court.

Darrell Brooks in Waukesha County court

Judge Jennifer Dorow: "Mr. Brooks, you need to look at me for a minute."

Brooks: "Why? To listen to all this political stuff you got going on?"

Judge Dorow: "I’m not going to do this with him right now."

Brooks: "Get your hands off me."  

Judge Dorow: "We’ll come back at 12:30." 

Brooks: "Told you to get them off me."

The outburst came after the prosecutor, earlier in the hearing, accused Brooks of being asleep. 

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Brooks had his head back and eyes closed. A wake-up call came when Judge Dorow denied the defense's effort to dismiss the Brooks case.

This second day of pre-trial hearings proved to be too much for Brooks. By the afternoon, he asked to leave. 

"If you wanted to come back, I’ll let you come back," said Judge Dorow. 

"I don’t want to come back," Brooks replied.

Christmas parade attack

Prosecutors say on Nov. 21, 2021, Brooks met up with his ex-girlfriend in Frame Park, the same woman he is accused of running over with his red SUV earlier in November 2021. She told police they argued in his SUV before he started driving, and he "was driving around with one hand and striking her in the face with his other hand." She eventually got out and called her friends for help. 


Waukesha parade attack victims identified

Soon after that, according to prosecutors, Brooks drove that red SUV through the parade route, killing Jackson Sparks, 8, Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52 and Wilhelm Hospel, 81. More than 60 others were hurt. 

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Brooks was arrested the night of the attack, soon after telling a Waukesha resident that he was homeless and waiting for an Uber. The man was unaware of the events that had occurred and let Brooks into his home.

Brooks entered an insanity plea in June after initially pleading not guilty to the charges in February. He later dropped the insanity plea on Sept. 9. He faces 76 counts in the case. Just one homicide conviction would put him behind bars for life.

We'll be hearing a lot more from Brooks during the trial after Judge Dorow ruled Brooks can represent himself.