At first glance, the trial of Waukesha Christmas Parade killer Darrell Brooks, Jr. seemed like a television news director’s dream: A horrific, sensational crime, an unhinged defendant representing himself while delivering a near-constant stream of in-court outbursts, and a no-nonsense, charismatic judge trying her best to keep things from devolving into total chaos.
If ever there was must-see TV, this was it. Only it wasn’t, because if there is one thing America’s national media desires more than covering a lengthy three-ring circus of a trial, it is suppressing anything that might reflect poorly on Democrats or their policies — especially this close to an election. As enticing as showing highlights of a shirtless Brooks pacing the courtroom and ranting about being a “sovereign citizen” might have been, doing so would have forced the media to admit the institutional failures that unleashed Brooks on the people of Waukesha.
Just five days before Brooks slammed his SUV into the parade, killing six people — including an 8-year-old boy — and injuring more than 60 others, he was freed from jail on just $1,000 bail even though he faced two open violent felony cases: One for firing a gun at his nephew and a friend at a crowded summertime party and another for using his SUV to run over his girlfriend’s foot during an argument two weeks before the massacre.
Six months earlier, he was also freed on a signature bond following a domestic violence arrest in Georgia. He had also been wanted in Nevada for six years for failing to comply with the state’s sex offender registry after a statutory sexual seduction conviction for impregnating a 15-year-old girl.
A reasonable person would presume that a man facing that many criminal charges in that many states would be held until trial, but there has never been anything reasonable about how the justice system has dealt with Darrell Brooks, Jr. From the time he was 17 years old and began committing serious felonies until almost literally the moment he committed mass murder, he was given break after break from a system that appeared hellbent on keeping him out of prison and on the streets.
His sickening crimes, highlighted by the tragicomic farce he made his trial, served as inconvenient reminders of the grave consequences of the left-wing approach to law and order. When the police are defunded, cash bail is eliminated, crimes aren’t prosecuted, and prison populations are cut in half, the Darrell Brooks’ of the world operate with no fear of any consequences for their increasingly sociopathic actions.
Brooks himself is the personification of the failure of leftist criminal justice reform, and to cover his trial would have been to acknowledge this devastating truth. The three nightly network newscasts devoted just two minutes each to reporting on Brooks’ conviction last week on all 76 charges he faced, and none of their reports mentioned the fact that Brooks was out on bail when he committed mass murder.
In Wisconsin, however, where the trial understandably generated enormous public interest, Democrats have found themselves unable to escape accountability. Incumbent Gov. Tony Evers, who is running for re-election four years after campaigning on a promise to halve the state’s prison population, saw his lead over tough-on-crime Republican challenger Tim Michels evaporate over the duration of the three-week trial. His lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes, who as a member of the Wisconsin Legislature authored a bill to eliminate cash bail and has repeatedly called for defunding the police, has been all but written off in his effort to unseat Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.
Johnson, long thought to be the most vulnerable Republican in the Senate, has built up a sizable polling lead almost entirely on the strength of Barnes’ vulnerability on the crime issue. In one of the most powerful ads of the race, the grandmother of a young girl badly injured in the Waukesha Christmas Parade directly ties the soft-on-crime policies Barnes supports with the tragedy.
Given the disastrous consequences for Democrats of publicizing their failures in the state in which they occurred, is it any wonder that the national media gave cover to other swing-state liberals like Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman and Ohio’s Tim Ryan by effectively suppressing what amounted to a three-week infomercial for rejecting their crime policies?
With each outburst by Brooks, who occasionally became so disruptive while defending himself that he had to be banished to an adjacent courtroom with a video link and a muted microphone, it became clearer that he never had any business being out of jail. By contrast, presiding judge Jennifer Dorow, a well-known tough-on-crime conservative, illustrated the ease with which monsters like Brooks can be dealt with if only one possesses the will to do so. She was so effective in shutting down his nonsensical arguments and shutting up his deranged ranting that many in Wisconsin wish she would run for higher office.
If Brooks was the personification of a failed criminal justice system, Judge Dorow represented the abiding faith that there are still people in it who care about maintaining law and order.
They just need to be voted into office.