WAUKESHA, Wis. — Darrell Brooks was released on a pittance $1,000 bail shortly before the vehicular attack that killed six and injured about 60 Christmas parade participants in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday.
Cedric Cornwall was identified in court documents as the commissioner present at Brooks’ arraignment who agreed to the bail amount for a serious crime of violence, Fox News reported.
Cornwall is an appointed court commissioner in Milwaukee serving at the pleasure of the court’s chief judge. He was hired in 2005. Prior to that he was a public defender and a partner in two private practices.
Cornwall’s track record demonstrates the Brooks case was not unusual. On the same day he set bail for Brooks, he set bail at $500 for a man accused of strangulation, battery and domestic violence, court records show. A day earlier, he set bail at $1,000 for a woman facing three felony charges, including one for child abuse, according to Fox.
In 2006, Cornwall set bail at $100,000 for a foreign exchange student accused of a violent sex crime. However, the commissioner didn’t require the criminal defendant to surrender his passport, according to FOX 6 Milwaukee. That man, Tim Tse, then fled to China. Hong Kong authorities later arrested Tse on an unrelated charge and saw his international warrant, allowing for his eventual extradition back to the United States.
Cornwall had the authority to establish higher bail for Brooks but did not “despite a 50-page rap sheet spanning three states and stretching back to 1999, with numerous convictions for violent felonies — and the open warrant out of Nevada,” Fox reported.
Former prosecutors, police officers and defense attorneys, told Fox News Digital that Brooks’ $1,000 bail from the prior offense seemed too low based upon the allegations. He is accused of punching a woman, stealing her phone and running her over with the same vehicle used during the parade massacre. Moreover, he had pending charges for another firearms felony and an active warrant out of Nevada in addition to priors for skipping bail.
“The State’s bail recommendation in this case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks,” Milwaukee DA John Chisholm’s office said Monday while announcing an internal inquiry. “The bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office toward matters involving violent crime, nor was it consistent with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to setting of bail.”
Even the suspect’s mother reportedly said she regretted helping him regain his freedom, according to a New York Post report citing a conversation with an unnamed ex-girlfriend of the suspect.
“She’s wrecked that people were killed as a result and she’s like, ‘I’m blaming myself, because had I not bailed him out, this wouldn’t have happened,'” she said.
Brooks is currently being held on $5 million bail after District Attorney Susan Opper made good on a pledge from earlier this week and requested a bail so high that Brooks would have no hope of paying it.
Court Commissioner Kevin M. Costello called it “extraordinarily high” but granted it anyway.
“I have no problem with the bail being recommended by the state,” he said. “The nature of this offense is shocking.”
Law Officer reported Thursday that a GoFundMe page was launched to help Brooks obtain funds for bail.
The fundraiser listed a wide variety of racist propaganda and sought to raise the full $5 million, but it was not immediately clear if any donations were made before it was shut down.
GoFundMe confirmed the effort to Fox Business, saying that it had been removed for violating its terms of service.