Bipartisan Senators Ask Outsiders to Stop Exploiting Deadly Parade for Political Purposes

Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin and Republican Senator Ron Johnson are asking outsiders to stop efforts to exploit last weekend's deadly parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, for political purposes.

"It has come to our attention that outside individuals or groups may attempt to exploit the tragedy that occurred last Sunday in Waukesha for their own political purposes," the Wisconsin senators said in a joint statement.

"As the U.S. Senators representing Wisconsin, one from each political party, we are asking anyone considering such action to cease and desist," they added.

Five people initially died after a vehicle plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha last Sunday. A sixth victim, 8-year-old Jackson Sparks, died from brain injuries suffered at the scene on Tuesday.

Darrell E. Brooks, 39, was arrested in connection with the incident and charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Prosecutors will announce additional charges related to the sixth death and the more than 60 people who were injured soon, said Waukesha Country's district attorney.

Wisconsin, Waukesha senators Tammy Duckworth Ron Johnson
Police canvas debris left following a driver plowing into the Christmas parade on Main Street in downtown November 22, 2021 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Brooks steered side-to-side with the intent of injuring parade-goers, according to a criminal complaint. Officials said he arrived at the parade route in a SUV after leaving the scene of a domestic dispute.

The senators didn't offer an explanation as to why they issued the statement or to whom it was directed. They did, however, express "full confidence in the officials who responded with extraordinary professionalism, competence, integrity and compassion."

"They have many difficult duties to perform in the coming days, weeks, and months, and they should be afforded the respect and support they deserve to undertake their responsibilities without outside interference," said Duckworth and Johnson.

Earlier this week, the Democratic Party of DuPage County, Illinois, cut ties with their social media director, Mary Lemanski, who tweeted that the tragic incident in Waukesha was "karma" for a jury finding Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty.

The deadly parade came just days after a jury determined that Rittenhouse was not guilty of every charge he faced. Rittenhouse fatally shot two men and wounded a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020, during the civil unrest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man.

The senators said the priority is now to "begin the healing process" and conclude an "investigation and afford the accused full due process."

"These will not be easy tasks, and will be made even more difficult if conducted within a politically charged atmosphere," they added in the statement.

11/28/2021 10:53 p.m. ET: Correction: A previous version of this story inaccurately identified Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois as the Democrat who issued the statement with Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. It was Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. We regret the error.