Darrell Brooks appears in court following Wisconsin parade attack
A fundraiser for 39-year-old Darrell Brooks has reportedly been removed by GoFundMe after the page violated its terms by asking for donations totalling $5m (£3.7m) to free the accused from bail.
Mr Brooks, who police believe wanted to strike “as many people as possible” when he raced his car through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, was described in the fundraiser as a “friend”.
A criminal complaint filed on Tuesday has meanwhile accused Mr Brooks of having “no emotion” when he drove down the parade route, killing six people and wounding at least 47 others.
He was said to have fled from police responding to a call about a domestic dispute between him and another person hours earlier, and prosecutors plan to charge him with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
He is being held on $5m bail.
More than $1.5m has been raised to support victims of the attack and their families. The six people killed are: Tamara Durand, Jane Kulich, Wilhelm Hospel, Leanna Owen, Virginia “Ginny” Sorenson, and Jackson Sparks.
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Brooks told judge in 2007 he was not a monster, report says
The 39-year-old man accused of killing six people and injuring dozens more on Sunday in Wisconsin, allegedly told a judge in 2007 that he was not a monster after being charged for sexual assault.
According to court documents obtained by the New York Post, Darrell Brooks also asked the judge in that case to show leniency, because he had been diagnosed as bipolar and was manic depressive at the age of 12.
The revelation comes amid speculation around Mr Brook’s criminal record, and that he may claim he was mentally unwell when he is tried for driving an SUV through a Wisconsin Christmas parade.
Gino Spocchia25 November 2021 17:37
GoFundMe says ‘friend’ has been banned after Brooks fundraiser
A spokesperson for GoFundMe has confirmed that it “removed the fundraiser before any funds were raised because it violates GoFundMe Terms of Service.”
The platform added that the individual behind the Darrell Brooks fundraiser has also “been banned from using the GoFundMe platform for any future fundraisers,” in a statement to The Independent. “Fundraisers with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously. Our team works with law enforcement to report issues and assists them in any investigations they deem necessary,” the spokesperson said.
It follows criticism of the platform for allowing the fundraiser to be set-up not long after Wisconsin police charged Mr Brooks with five counts of homicide for the Christmas parade deaths.
Gino Spocchia25 November 2021 17:02
Who were the victims from the parade?
There have been six confirmed deaths since the SUV was allegedly driven by 39-year-old Darrell Brooks into the Christmas parade in Wisconsin.
As Alisha Rahaman Sarkar writes, three of them were affiliated with a dancing group for older women called the “Milwaukee Dancing Grannies”.
“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness,” the group said in a Facebook post on Monday.
Gino Spocchia25 November 2021 16:32
Previous bail amount criticised, amid GoFundMe removal
Police in Waukesha have confirmed that Darrell Brooks had been involved in an act of violence earlier on Sunday, and was out on a $1,000 (£750) bail for obstructing an officer and domestic abuse.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office said that bail, set earlier in November, was “inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges”, and after the tragedy in Waukesha.
The $5m bail was then set as a target on a GoFundMe, which removed the page after receiving criticism from social media users.
Gino Spocchia25 November 2021 16:02
GoFundMe reacts to Brooks fundraiser
A spokesperson for GoFundMe confirmed to Fox Business on Wednesday that a fundraiser for Darrell Brooks had broken its terms and conditions, and that it had been pulled.
James Norton, who claimed to be a friend of his, allegedly started the fundraiser, and as Law Enforcement Today reported, had a target of $5m (£3.7m) in aid of freeing him.
As Gino Spocchia writes, GoFundME told reporters that “Fundraisers with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously”.
The page was last visible on Tuesday, screenshots on social media suggest.
Gino Spocchia25 November 2021 15:32
Could there be a plea deal?
Several experts, believe Mr Brooks could in fact reach a plea deal, according to The Associated Press.
“If I were in this case, what I’d be trying to do was to see how I can put out this fire as quickly as possible,” said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor who now works in private practice in Chicago.
“If you let it linger, it’s only going to get worse.”
Gino Spocchia25 November 2021 15:02
What is Darrell Brooks’s criminal history?
Darrell Brooks, who has been charged with crimes more than a dozen times since 1999, had two outstanding cases against him before the tragedy in Wisconsin on Sunday.
Reports indicate that included one earlier in November in which he’s accused of intentionally striking a woman with his car in Milwaukee County.
He had been free on a $1,000 bail for that case, which prosecutors now say was inappropriately low. And on Sunday, Mr Brooks was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes before he drove into the parade route, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
Gino Spocchia25 November 2021 14:21
What defence could Darrell Brooks use in court?
It is not known, if anything, what 39-year-old Darrell Brooks has told investigators since his arrest on Sunday for the deaths of five people at a Christmas parade in Wisconsin, and another confirmed on Tuesday.
Tom Grieve, a Brookfield defense attorney and former Waukesha County prosecutor, said Mr Brooks could use a defence of suffering from a mental disease or defect in court, which would lead him being sent to a mental institution rather than a prison, if convicted at trial. Mr Grieve continued by saying that video footage from Sunday, and other evidence, however supported a more serious penalty – which will be difficult for the defence to disprove. “The fact he didn’t step on the brakes: That was intentional. The fact that his foot was on the gas: That was intentional. He could have stopped . He’s the only person who could put his foot on the brake pedal and he didn’t,” Mr Grieve said.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
Gino Spocchia25 November 2021 13:32
Grandmother recalls what she witnessed
Tricia Tucker, 52, saw the whole disaster unfold, and as Sheila Flynn writes, was attending the parade with her children, grandchildren, and other friends and relatives on Sunday when the festive day turned to tragedy.
“I’m screaming for everybody who can hear me to run into my place,” she says of what happened. “I’m just grabbing the kids to get them off the street”.
Gino Spocchia25 November 2021 12:47
Wisconsin parade: Terrifying video shows SUV passing inches behind dancing little girl
Harrowing footage captured the moment a little girl narrowly avoided being struck by the SUV that barreled through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.
The youngster, dressed in pink snow gear, is seen dancing to a marching band a few feet from the sidewalk when the car allegedly driven by Darrell Brooks passes inches behind her.
The crowd erupts in screams and gasps as the car continues down the route before striking dozens of people, killing five and wounding 48.
Megan Sheets has more:
Eleanor Sly25 November 2021 11:20