Career criminal Darrell E. Brooks Jr. has emerged as the top suspect accused of plowing his red SUV through Waukesha, Wisconsin’s annual Christmas parade on Sunday, killing at least five people and injuring dozens of others, including children.
But just last week, Mr. Brooks was released from Milwaukee County jail on $1,000 bail for charges including battery, domestic abuse, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and bail-jumping. In July of last year, Mr. Brooks was charged with reckless endangerment and possessing a firearm as a felon. In addition, he’s a registered sex offender in Nevada.
“A background check from Wisconsin’s Department of Justice came back with over 50 pages of charges against Brooks stretching back decades,” Fox News reported this week.
Should he be found culpable in Sunday’s atrocities, Mr. Brooks clearly didn’t deserve to be back on the streets of Waukesha. And yet there he was, mainly due to an approach pushed by district attorneys across the country backed by liberal billionaire financier George Soros, an approach that champions such so-called “criminal justice reforms” as abolishing bail for hardened criminals.
Milwaukee’s District Attorney John Chisholm, one of a number of DAs around the country whose campaigns Mr. Soros has helped bankroll, has worked for the last 15 years to change the city’s approach to incarceration. In 2018, he tweeted how Milwaukee was making a commitment not to keep individuals held on cash bail in jail. When the pandemic hit, Milwaukee’s “woke” Community Justice Council recommended criminals needed to be let out of jail immediately. The city obliged, reducing its jail population by about 40%.
Mr. Chisholm has also used his Twitter feed to cheer-on other Soros-endorsed district attorneys around the country, including San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin. Mr. Boudin will face a recall election next year amid a popular backlash over rising crime rates within the city and a lack of prosecutions.
“It’s my perception that Chesa lacks a desire to actually and effectively prosecute crime, in any fashion,” Brooke Jenkins, a homicide prosecutor, told the New York Times in June. “While he ran on a platform of being progressive and reform-focused, his methodology to achieving that is simply to release individuals early or to offer very lenient plea deals.”
Philadelphia is also feeling the pain of another Soros-backed DA, Larry Krasner. This summer, Philadelphia had the highest per capita homicide rate among the 10 largest cities in the U.S.
Mr. Krasner’s playbook is much the same as those of Mr. Chisholm and Mr. Boudin – simply not to prosecute many criminal cases, citing what they claim are the evils of past mass incarceration policies and the effects of racism on the criminal justice system. Mr. Krasner has done this largely through the city’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD), to which he refers most gun-related cases too. ARD allows those charged to avoid the criminal justice system, being placed on probation instead. Once they complete the rehabilitation, their original criminal charges are dismissed.
Since at least 2015, Mr. Soros has plowed millions of dollars each election cycle to support progressive district attorneys across the country. All of his candidates support reducing the prison population and directing criminals to diversion/rehabilitation programs outside of the criminal justice system.
Mr. Soros’s political donations have largely propelled his candidates to victory – as there’s no major donor on the Republican side to counter his massive local cash infusions. For example, in 2015, Mr. Soros gave more than $930,000 to James Stewart, the current Caddo Parish District Attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana, a donation more than 22 times the local median household income. Republican candidates simply haven’t been able to compete.
There are indications, however, the tide is turning. The American public is beginning to feel this “woke” criminal justice reform in the form of rising crime rates in their communities. Homicides in the U.S. are surging this year, on top of a 30% rise in murders in 2020, according to FBI statistics.
As a result, this fall New York City elected tough-on-crime new Mayor Eric Adams, Minneapolis residents chose not to blow up their current law enforcement agencies, and “defund the police” efforts across the nation fizzled at the ballot box.
Mr. Soros’s “criminal justice reform” will be hard to reverse – simply because he’s spent years enacting his plans. However, never underestimate the power of the American citizen. Just like those informed mothers and fathers who wised up to what was being taught in their children’s classrooms and demanded accountability from their local school boards, residents of Los Angeles, Philadelphia — and Milwaukee — also can see what’s going on regarding the safety in their cities.
Come the next election day, Mr. Soros is going to have a much tougher battle on his hands.
• Kelly Sadler is the commentary editor at the Washington Times.