The White House has reaffirmed its goal of ending cash bail following the death of six people and injuries of dozens more when Darrell Brooks Jr. allegedly drove his SUV through a crowd attending a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Fox News reported on Wednesday.
Brooks had an extensive criminal history of more than two decades, including multiple felonies.
But despite that, Milwaukee prosecutors earlier this month asked for only $1,000 bail for Brooks after he was arrested and charged for hitting his girlfriend in the face and then running her over with his car just 10 days before the parade massacre.
Prosecutors now admit that bail was “inappropriately low,” and the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office is conducting an internal probe.
The White House said that in their plan the decision to hold defendants should be based on the threat they pose to society, not their ability to pay bail.
“Ending cash bail will not automatically put people charged with crimes on the streets,” a White House official told Fox News.
“It just means that whether you get bail should be based on the threat you pose, and not how much money you have in your bank account,” adding that “there shouldn’t be a separate criminal justice system for wealthy Americans.”
Last month, the White House released a 42-page report entitled “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality,” which called for reforms “to end cash bail and reform our pre-trial system.”
As part of the report, a letter from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris stated that the reforms are needed to promote equality, saying that the United States has “never fully lived up to” the idea that “every one of us is equal in dignity and deserves to be treated equally.”
Biden reacted to the parade attack by saying that the entire community of Waukesha is “struggling to cope with horrific acts of violence.”
The president said families gathered at the Waukesha Christmas parade on Sunday for “the start of the season of hope,” but said that “hope and spirit is going to lift up the victims of the tragedy.”