Waukesha parade suspect removed from courtroom several times after repeatedly arguing with judge

Darrell Brooks is accused of killing 6, injuring dozens more when he allegedly drove into Waukesha Christmas parade

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, October 21, 2022
Latest coverage from the Waukesha parade attack trial
Latest coverage from the Waukesha parade attack trialVictims of the Waukesha Christmas parade attack spoke at a sentencing hearing for Darrell Brooks.

WAUKESHA, Wis. (WLS) -- The Waukesha Christmas parade trial resumed Friday, as defendant Darrell Brooks continued his own defense and again disrupted proceedings.

Waukesha parade attack suspect Darrell Brooks continued to disrupt court during his trial on Friday.

Judge Jennifer Dorow broke for lunch early after Brooks got into a heated exchange with her for about 30 minutes.

'Stop it! Stop it!': Wisconsin parade attack suspect yells at judge

Waukesha parade attack suspect Darrell Brooks yelled at the trial judge after questioning his ex-girlfriend.

When the proceedings resumed, Brooks was again removed from the courtroom and placed somewhere else.

Brooks later returned to the courtroom and stared Dorow down after arguing with her again.

'Frankly, it makes me scared': Wisconsin parade attack suspect stares down judge

Waukesha parade attack suspect Darrell Brooks had a "stare-down" with the judge, who said it made her scared.

Dorow then said she needed to take a break.

"Frankly, it makes me scared," Dorow said.

Brooks returned, but Dorow later removed him from court again after he accused her of lacking integrity.

Wisconsin parade attack suspect removed from court after yelling at judge

Waukesha parade attack suspect Darrell Brooks was removed from court again after accusing the judge of lacking integrity.

"How can you even call yourself a judge?" Brooks yelled at Dorow.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday, and Brooks gave his opening statement and started calling witnesses in his defense.

WATCH | Waukesha parade attack suspect gives opening statement

Waukesha parade attack suspect Darrell Brooks delivers his own opening statement to the jury. Brooks is representing himself in the trial.

Brooks faces 76 charges, including six homicide counts, in connection with the Nov. 21 incident in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb.

Things broke down Thursday morning just before prosecutors rested their case. Brooks became agitated when District Attorney Susan Opper introduced a rap video that Brooks starred in that shows him standing in front of the SUV in an attempt to link him to the vehicle.

Brooks argued that Opper sprung the video on him without notifying him that it could be part of the evidence.

"This is mind-boggling," he said.

He also complained that Opper and other prosecutors have been laughing at him under their breath since the trial began.

WATCH: Waukesha defendant argues with judge

The Waukesha parade attack trial judge called a recess after defendant Darrell Brooks argued with her about calling a witness.

Opper told Dorow that she laughed Thursday because the video had been mislabeled and nothing prohibits her from pulling anything out of her briefcase and offering it as evidence. She said she was tired of Brooks questioning the ethics of both the judge and the prosecution team.

"He continues to suggest and impugn the integrity of this court without a basis. He doesn't like it because the evidence is stacking up and stacking up (against him)," Opper said. "I do not appreciate his impugning the integrity of these proceedings, your honor's efforts to run a fair trial and our efforts to run a fair trial."

Dorow said she was tired of Brooks rolling his eyes at her, gesturing at her and fighting with her.

"I don't like your tone and the way you're talking to me," Brooks said.

Dorow responded by telling him to sit down and stop talking.

"What you mean, stop talking?" Brooks said.

Dorow then called a recess. In the past she has ordered Brooks removed to an alternative courtroom where he can watch the proceedings via video but she can cut off his microphone to prevent him from disrupting court. She stopped short of that on Thursday but told Brooks that she was looking forward to the lunch break.

"Did I raise my voice?" the judge told Brooks as he paged through a book without looking at her. "I absolutely did. Was I frustrated? I absolutely was."

WATCH | Darrell Brooks' heated exchange with judge in Waukesha parade attack trial

A judge removed Waukesha parade attack suspect Darrell Brooks and the jury because of comments he made during witness testimony.

Opper rested her case Thursday after 2 1/2 weeks of testimony, including from multiple police officers and others who attended the parade. They variously testified that they saw the SUV enter the parade, were hit by the SUV or saw Brooks behind the wheel.

Brooks gave a tearful opening statement Thursday as he defended himself at trial but didn't outline any defense theories that might save him from prison.

RELATED: Waukesha parade attack trial continues after Darrell Brooks calls for case to be dismissed

Brooks told jurors he hadn't rehearsed anything and would speak from the heart. However, he didn't lay out his version of what happened, allude to how he would defend himself or reveal who would testify on his behalf.

Opening statements are usually when prosecutors and defense attorneys offer the jury a roadmap of their version of the case, often presenting their theories about guilt or innocence and noting which witnesses will take the stand and what they'll say.

Brooks called what happened at the parade "a tragedy" while reminding jurors that there's two sides to every story.

"It's easy to look at the magnitude of something like this and form opinions," he said. "I think it's easy to disregard a lot of factors. ... It's easy to forget the other side of the coin."

He then started choking back tears and dabbing his eyes with a tissue. He said the entire community is suffering, including his family.

"There's been a lot of words thrown out there about the alleged, lot of speculation, lot of ridicule. Words like 'demon.' Words like 'molester,'" he said.

Brooks has been wearing a surgical mask in court but removed it during his speech. "It's important that you see me for who I am. No mask. For who I am. This is the moment for that. I pray that your eyes and ears remain as open as possible," he told jurors.

Finally, he broke down in tears, sat down at the defense table and bowed his head.

Dorow then called a short break to allow Brooks to gather himself.

When court resumed, Brooks called the state of Wisconsin to the stand. Throughout the proceedings he has maintained the government doesn't have jurisdiction over him and only a "living human brain" can bring a claim against another in court. When told the state isn't a person, he asked that the case be dismissed. Dorow told him to call his next witness.

Brooks called Nicholas Kirby, who testified that he helped Brooks' ex-girlfriend escape as Brooks was assaulting her in his SUV minutes before he drove into the parade.

Brooks is accused of driving into the Waukesha Christmas parade route last year, killing six people and injuring more than 60 others.

Brooks, who has no legal training, is representing himself at the trial. He has repeatedly disrupted the court proceedings with defiant and outlandish behavior.

WATCH | Darrell Brooks rants that case should be dismissed

Waukesha parade attack suspect Darrell Brooks went on a tirade for 50 minutes Thursday morning, arguing that the case should be dismissed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.