New charges: Darrell Brooks threatened, offered marriage to victim

Darrell Brooks Jr., accused of driving an SUV through the Waukesha Christmas Parade last month, killing six and injuring dozens, is now charged with trying to dissuade a woman he’s accused of running over weeks before from cooperating with prosecutors – including offering to marry her.

According to a complaint obtained on Dec. 7, Milwaukee County prosecutors have charged Brooks, 39, with felony intimidation of a victim, felony intimidation of a witness and bail jumping – related to charges stemming from an incident in which Brooks is accused of running over the mother of his child with an SUV.

Following Brooks’ arrest in the case, court filings state Brooks contacted the woman from jail on Nov. 4, trying to dissuade her from helping the state, worried about spending decades in prison if convicted and offering to marry her in exchange.

Darrell Brooks Jr.

"Why did you do this to me? You know I love you," Brooks said to the woman in a recorded phone call. "Listen, listen, please listen, I’ve come to the realization that I’m not going to leave you. You have my daughter, I know your potential, what you can be. I want to marry you."

According to a complaint, the ­woman refused to get in the SUV and was punched in the face by Brooks, who then allegedly ran her over as she walked through a gas station parking lot near 73rd and Capitol on Nov. 2, leaving the woman with a bloody face and tire tracks on her leg.

"Because of this situation, you know there is a possibility I might not get out of prison, that I can die in prison, right?" Brooks said in another call to the woman, several hours later. "I’m sitting up here facing 60 (expletive) years…you have to keep your mouth shut."

Darrell Brooks initial appearance in Waukesha County court

Darrell Brooks initial appearance in Waukesha County court

Following Brooks’ arrest, he called his mother from the Milwaukee County Jail on Nov. 3 and, according to court filings, discussed the need for prosecutors to have a cooperating victim to issue charges.

"They gonna need to talk to her and need for her to be a witness and she not gonna do that but she can get the charges dropped all together if she called down there and said I didn’t do what she said," Brooks said to his mother, according to a transcript of the recorded phone call, "if she don’t cooperate with them, they are going to have to drop it."

According to the complaint, Brooks made a total of 11 calls; two to his mother and nine to the woman, trying to keep her from cooperating. That includes six phone calls after he was charged in the case and a no contact order with the woman put into place.

"I’m the one trying to get you out, right?" the woman said to Brooks in a Nov. 8 phone call. During that call, he blamed her for being charged.

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"You need to learn to shut your (expletive) mouth. (Expletive) you then, (expletive)," Brooks said.

In a Nov. 15 call, less than a week before the Waukesha parade attack, Brooks called the woman again – chastising her for continuing to be in touch with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and complaining that she didn’t put up any money for his $1,000 bail.

"(Expletive), shut your (expletive) mouth. You still can’t humble yourself, so if you still talking this dumb (expletive), I’m gonna do it for you. Either way, you gonna do it yourself and bow down (expletive) or I’m gonna make you. Now which one you want?" Brooks said, threatening the woman. "You acting like you got so much (expletive) protection like you safe. (Expletive), you on my (expletive) turf, remember that."

Video of Darrell Brooks Jr. allegedly driving through Waukesha Christmas parade

Despite a pretrial risk assessment that found Brooks was a very high risk of committing another crime, a Milwaukee County court commissioner set Brooks’ bail at $1,000.

Brooks’ mother posted the $1,000 bail on Nov. 11, but Brooks was not released from custody of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office until at least Nov. 16. That’s when he appeared before a Waukesha County judge, by phone, in the custody of the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department for failure to pay in a child support case. A judge released Brooks on his own recognizance in that case.

Five days later, Waukesha police say Brooks was fleeing the scene of a domestic disturbance, though not being pursued by police, when he turned into the parade route. Witnesses said he was swerving and appeared to be intentionally trying to hit people. Brooks was arrested minutes later as he stood on the porch of a nearby house asking the homeowner to help him call a ride.

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Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has come under fire from some lawmakers about the low bail set for the eerily similar Milwaukee County case, including some calling for his resignation or removal by Gov. Tony Evers.

"I’m not here to make excuses. I own any decision that’s made by any member of my office," Chisholm said last week, adding that a mistake was made by a young assistant district attorney in setting the low bail amount that allowed Brooks to go free, and brushed aside the calls for his resignation.

"When things get tough, when tough things occur, the response shouldn’t be to quit, to run away from the problem," Chisholm said. "The obligation I have is to lead my people so they can continue doing the work they do every single day, which is trying to keep people safe."

Brooks is scheduled to appear in Milwaukee County court later this month for a bond and status hearing in two felony cases. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for January 2022 before a Waukesha County judge for the intentional homicide case, charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and ordered held on $5 million bail.

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