Accuracy in Media

The arraignment of Darrell Brooks for the killing of five people marching in a Christmas day parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, revealed a criminal complaint that alleges that Brooks acted intentionally in trying to hit victims and not, as the media has implied, accidentally in an effort to avoid being arrested.

NBC News said Brooks was “fleeing a domestic incident”.

NBC News Chicago headlined: Driver of SUV That Plowed Into Christmas Parade Crowd Was Fleeing Crime

The Washington Post said Brooks was “fleeing the scene of an alleged altercation involving a knife”.

USA Today reported he was “fleeing a domestic disturbance.

The Week: at the scene of a reported knife fight, then fled.

Boston Herald was fleeing a crime.

The record in the criminal complaint and the arraignment reveals otherwise.

“I am an old guy who’s been doing this for almost 40 years,” said court commissioner Kevin Costello, the judge for the Brooks arraignment. “The nature of this offense was shocking. Actually the detail I was not expecting today that two detectives, not laypeople, detectives, not only tried to stop this but rendered an opinion that this was an intentional act … I’ve not seen anything like this in my very long career.”

In fact, the criminal complaint does vaguely refer to a hearsay conversation relayed by one of the detectives that could fit a possible crime scene from which Brooks was allegedly fleeing.

“Detective Casey heard via the Waukesha police radio that a reserve officer was informed by a citizen that two people were fighting in the area of White Rock School.”

But that’s legally akin to saying “his sister’s cat’s cousin knew a guy” who saw that fight.

Multiple media reports have said the local police chief — and anonymous law enforcement authorities — said that Brooks was involved in a domestic dispute, or a crime, depending on the version.

But even the Waukesha chief acknowledges that they never investigated the possible dispute because of the need to respond to the parade incident.

Whatever happened before the parade, it’s doubtful that someone with an arrest record as long as Brooks would have waived his American right under the Constitution to not incriminate himself when talking to the police.

And it’s inconceivable if that if he did say something about the events of the day that it wouldn’t be in the criminal complaint.

But one thing is for sure: If Brooks was fleeing the scene of a previous crime or domestic dispute, the fact would have been mentioned when the court was considering the unprecedently high $5 million bail.

Killing people to avoid being captured for a petty crime is kind of an important consideration when a judge looks at the flight risk of and the danger to society by any defendant — the two main considerations in bail hearings.

The prosecution, in trying to secure such a high bail, would’ve surely mentioned the flight, if one occurred.

This rush to rashly frame a motive by the media reveals a press that’s desperate to push conclusions for wholly political reasons that are at odds with reality.




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