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The life and crimes of accused Waukesha Christmas parade killer Darrell Brooks

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The man who turned a quaint, small town Christmas parade into a blood-soaked nightmare that left six dead and over 60 injured is a career criminal who’s spent more than half of his life trapped in a revolving door of incarceration, drug abuse and violence.
Darrell Brooks, 39, allegedly used a red Ford Escape to plow through revelers at an annual Christmas celebration in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, but his life of crime started 22 years ago when he was just 17 years old.
Over the next two decades, Brooks would proceed to wreak havoc across three states as he racked up convictions for abusing his partners, raping and impregnating a teenager and a consistent streak of other violent crimes.
A review of his history — patched together from court documents, criminal records, interviews and public records — reveals that all along the way, not a single social safety net caught him, until it was too late.
The cycle of tragedy
Brooks was just 11 years old when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression while growing up in the inner-city of Milwaukee without his father, court records show.
He was admitted to a mental hospital at 12 and attempted suicide numerous times in his early years after losing his grandmother and watching his father abuse his mom, papers say.
“I didn’t have a father growing up, so my mom was stuck raising me and my older sister. We were on welfare for most of my childhood,” Brooks wrote in a 2007 letter to a judge.

My father was an alcoholic who was very abusive to my mom. My father’s dad was also an alcoholic,” he wrote. “I grew up in the inner-city full of drugs and prostitution.”
Brooks claimed in the letter that his mother, a Christian woman with Southern roots, steered him away from trouble on the streets but despite her best efforts, Brooks would go on to follow in his father’s footsteps.
He eventually became an addict, a habitual domestic abuser prone to violence and threats — and used a vehicle as a weapon on numerous occasions, authorities said.
Brooks lamented to the judge in his 2007 letter that he knew what it was like “to have your own flesh and blood walk out on you” and claimed he just wanted to give his kids what he never had: “a father.”
But by then, Brooks had already abandoned his firstborn son before the child was 3 months old.
He disappeared,” the kid’s mother told The Post during a recent interview. “I’ve done all of this on my own, raised my child by myself.”
The woman initiated a paternity case in Waukesha County for failure to pay child support that is still ongoing to this day.
A life of crime
A year after Brooks was charged with his first felony in 1999 at age 17 for substantial battery intending bodily harm, he was given three years of probation. But he soon found himself tangled up in the law once again, being hit with misdemeanor charges in 2002 and 2003 over separate incidents.
In 2005, he moved to Reno, Nevada, in a bid for a fresh start but within a year, he was charged with statutory sexual seduction and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he raped and impregnated a teen girl who he claims told him she was 18 at the time.
He settled the case by pleading guilty but was ordered not to contact the victim — a requirement he repeatedly violated by calling the teen using a stolen phone card and confronting her at a bus stop, landing him back in jail where he served just 129 days, records show.
As a result of that conviction, Brooks was forced to register as a sex offender in the state and during his time behind bars, he participated in a 2007 documentary called “Crystal Darkness.
He told filmmaker Logan Needham about his struggles with methamphetamines and his failures as a father.
“I thought I would be this wonderful father, the greatest dad ever … I’m going to give him everything that I didn’t have. Then it’s like, reality setting in. You actually become the drug,” Brooks said in the film of his addiction.
Needham told The Post he recalled Brooks “seemed very genuine” in his desire to turn his life around.
“We interviewed people who killed and other really bad stuff, and now they were reaping the consequences from that,” Needham said this week. “It was always very sad. But with [Brooks], I felt like he definitely had remorse. And I think he felt bad about the decisions he had made to land him where he was.”
Needham said over the years, he would sometimes get updates on the inmates he interviewed, but he lost track of Brooks and said he was shocked to hear he was the suspect connected to the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy.
Escalating violence
Between 2009 and 2011, Brooks was in and out of jail for a series of crimes, including resisting or obstructing an officer, strangulation and suffocation.
During a 2011 bust, he was charged with restricting or obstructing an officer for a second time after he was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt.
“During a traffic stop, a Milwaukee police officer jumped inside Brooks’ car, fearing he was about to be run over,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported of the incident.

As Brooks began to drive away while the officer was talking to him, the officer got inside the car and wrestled for control of the steering wheel.”
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Eventually, the officer stopped the car and removed the keys as Brooks ran off. He was later found hiding in a children’s playhouse on the same block and was taken into custody.
In 2016, Brooks was busted again for failing to register as a sex offender and in July 2020, he fired a gun at his nephew during a fight over a cellphone.
Anaji Brooks told police he got into a friend’s car following the dispute and was driving away when his uncle “walked into the front yard with a gun and fired one shot at them,” leaving the man in fear of his safety, court papers say.
Officers soon found Brooks with a stolen Beretta 9mm handgun and a clear plastic baggie with three multi-colored methamphetamine pills inside, records show.
He was charged with two counts of second-degree recklessly endangering safety and use of a dangerous weapon and was ordered to stay away from his nephew and his mother.
In a victim impact statement obtained by the Daily Mail, the nephew wrote that the encounter “made me come to the conclusion that this man wasn’t family or kin to me.”
Brooks was facing 10 years behind bars for the crime — the heaviest sentence he faced so far but when the court was unable to guarantee him a speedy trial due to a backlog of cases and COVID-19-related delays, he was released in February 2021 on a $500 bail.
From there, Brooks went to Georgia, where he was arrested for misdemeanor battery with a designation of family violence a little over three months after he got out of jail, prosecutors said in a Waukesha courtroom
The final straw
Following Brooks’ troubles in Georgia, he made his way back to Wisconsin, where his penchant for violence bubbled up again while he was staying at the American Inn motel in Milwaukee’s Lenox Heights neighborhood with his ex-girlfriend.
Brooks allegedly accosted the woman and knocked her cellphone out of her hand and then went after her in his Ford Escape when she fled.
He caught up with her at a BP gas station about a half mile from the motel and demanded she get in his car, court records allege. When she refused, he struck her in the face and then ran her over with his car, leaving the woman with “swelling to her lip and dry blood on her face” and “tire tracks on her left pants leg,” police said.
The ex-girlfriend later told cops that Brooks had allegedly threatened to kill her on multiple occasions, had previously tried to choke her and was jealous and controlling, according to police reports obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Brooks denied the allegations and suggested to police the woman made them up because she was drunk.
He ended up being charged with recklessly endangering safety, bail jumping, battery and disorderly conduct in the incident but was given an “inappropriately low” bail of $1,000, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm later said, leaving him free to wreak havoc on the Christmas parade about three weeks later.
Around 4:35 p.m. that Sunday, the Waukesha Police Department was alerted to another domestic disturbance involving Brooks and the ex-girlfriend in the vicinity of White Rock School
But by the time cops could respond, it was too late.
As Brooks desperately drove away from the school, he barreled toward the Christmas parade, smashed through barricades and plowed through revelers and marchers celebrating the annual event with “no emotion on his face,” police said. He left six people dead — the youngest being 8-year-old Jackson Sparks — and dozens more injured, many who are still hospitalized.
“There are not words to describe the risk that this defendant presents to our community,” prosecutor Susan Opper told Waukesha County Court Commissioner Kevin Costello during Brooks’ initial hearing.
Not only flight risk but the dangerousness that he presents, his history of violence and the allegations in this complaint where it is stated plainly that on several occasions he was told to stop by police officers,” she said. “Everything was done to get him to stop, and he just simply continued down the roadway, causing death and destruction in his path.”
Brooks was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide but Opper said he will be hit with a sixth charge following the death of the youngest victim, 8-year-old Jackson Sparks, who had been in critical condition after the attack.
Each homicide count carries a potential sentence of life behind bars without parole.
“I’m an old guy who has been doing this for almost 40 years,” the court commissioner said during the hearing. “The nature of this offense is shocking … I’ve not seen anything like this in my very long career.

All 11 occupants of passenger van injured in Wisconsin crash

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EAU PLEINE, Wis. (AP) — Authorities say all 11 occupants of a passenger van were injured when the vehicle rolled over on an icy road in central Wisconsin.

They were transported to area hospitals for treatment.
The Portage County Sheriff’s Office said the crash happened on US Highway 10, about half a mile east of the town of Eau Pleine. The van left the roadway, overturned and came to rest in the center median.
The conditions of the injured are not known. One occupant of the van was ejected and one was partially trapped and had to be extricated, the sheriff’s department said.
The crash was reported about 8:45 a.m. Thursday. Authorities said the van is designed to carry 15 passengers, WAOW-TV reported.
Multiple emergency departments responded to the scene. Two helicopters were contacted but weren’t able to respond due to inclement weather.

LA firefighter accused of wiping butt with vaccine mandate letter that was handed to him

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A Los Angeles firefighter is under investigation over his response to the city’s vaccine mandate. The unidentified LAFD employee, who was served with a non-compliance letter from the fire department, pulled down his pants and wiped his buttocks with it, before leaving it on the ground.

The incident allegedly occurred at Fire Station 69 in Pacific Palisades.

The Los Angeles Stentorians, who represents African American firefighters in the city, called the incident a “terminable” offense.

“The LA City Stentorians are sickened and disgusted by this horrific display of unprofessionalism,” they said in a statement.

The LA Times reports that The Stentorians took additional measures by urging the city’s mayor, City council and fire commission to respond promptly to the act. LAFD spokeswoman voiced that the department is taking the firefighter’s response serious

“No matter how our members react, all city employees must abide by the city ordinance — either file for an exemption, get vaccinated, or face termination,” a LAFD spokesperson told the LA Times.

More reactions came from the president of the fire commission, Jimmie Woods-Gray, who was “beyond appalled.”

As of now the unidentified firefigher has been placed on a paid administrative leave.

The city’s new vaccination mandate calls for employees to sign compliance notices. Those who are still waiting to get vaccinated or want exemptions, must provide proof of vaccination by Dec. 18.

Those who refuse to comply must go unpaid and be taken off duty.

A common thread in Waukesha tragedy, Kenosha shootings: Government failure

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When is a racial hate crime not a racial hate crime? When it doesn’t advance the left’s, and the Democrats’, narrative.

When white teenager Kyle Rittenhouse shot three white men who were violently assaulting him, it somehow got treated by the press and politicians as a racial hate crime. President Joe Biden (falsely) called Rittenhouse a white supremacist, and the discussion of his case was so focused on racial issues that many Americans mistakenly thought that the three men Rittenhouse shot were black.

But when a black man, Darrell Brooks, with a long history of posting hateful anti-white rhetoric on social media drove a car into a mostly white Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens, the press was eager to wish the story away. (The New York Times buried it on page A22.) Even when a Black Lives Matter activist connected it to the Rittenhouse verdict, observing “it sounds like the revolution has started,” the media generally downplayed it.

Were the races reversed, of course, we all know that the press would be turning its coverage up to 11, with deep dives into Darrell Brooks’ associations, beliefs, friends and family and more. But doing that here wouldn’t fit the narrative.

In fact, though, there is a thread connecting the Rittenhouse shootings and the Waukesha mass murder. But the thread isn’t so much racism as awful Democratic politicians.

After police shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, sparking unrest, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) didn’t call up the National Guard and secure the streets. Instead, he sent out an inflammatory tweet, saying, “What we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.”

What followed was a night of arson and rioting. Evers nonetheless sent only a trickle of National Guard over the next two days and declined federal assistance. The result was a huge amount of violence and property destruction (largely affecting the city’s working-class and poor neighborhoods) and a background of unrest that led Kyle Rittenhouse to try to guard businesses and help the injured — a teenager setting out to do what the government refused to do.

Likewise, the Waukesha mass murder was the result of government failure. Darrell Brooks had already been charged with deliberately running over his girlfriend at a gas station and, incredibly, had been released on a mere $1,000 bail. All told, Brooks had been charged with three felonies, plus resistance to arrest and bail jumping.

All that and only $1,000 bail?

But an opposition to cash bail is a cornerstone of Democrats’ criminal-justice policies. They’re not always wrong — there’s a real problem of poor people who can’t raise bail being held in jail for often trivial offenses. But Brooks wasn’t charged with trivial offenses. He was charged with violent, potentially murderous crime.

Then they let him go, and he committed a violent, actually murderous crime.

John Chisholm, the district attorney, has since admitted that the bail required was “inappropriately low.” Well, yes.

Chisholm, though, is a pioneer of the Democrats’ war on cash bail and a champion of what can only be called “inappropriately low” bail as a matter of policy. He’s been a leader among “progressive prosecutors” who have taken a lax approach to law enforcement in cities like San Francisco and New York. In a 2019 paper, he wrote, “When we pay too little attention to the underlying causes and characteristics of individuals in the criminal justice system, we make significant errors, which can lead to greater problems.”

Prosecutors, infected with progressive politics, paid too little attention to Brooks’ characteristics, an error that left six people dead and many more injured. Now Brooks is being held on $5 million bail.

Incredibly, however, just one day after the Waukesha mass murder, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bx-Queens) demanded federal intervention against what she called “excessive bail.” Excessive bail can be a problem. But so is a revolving-door justice system that leaves the public at risk.

Both the Kenosha shootings and the Waukesha mass murder happened because the government failed to do its job. Those are the wages of progressive politics. For the likes of Evers, Chisholm and AOC, the wages are good. But the rest of us pay.

Waukesha parade attack: Washington Post pummeled for tweet saying massacre was ’caused by an SUV’

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The Washington Post went viral over a tweet suggesting the SUV involved in the Waukesha parade attack was responsible for the massacre.

Darrell Brooks was charged with intentional homicide after driving his SUV through a crowded street commemorating the holiday season, resulting in the deaths of six people ages 8 to 81 and injuring dozens more.

However, a tweet from the Post seemed to place the responsibility on Brooks’ vehicle than the career criminal himself.

“Here’s what we know so far on the sequence of events that led to the Waukesha tragedy caused by [an] SUV,” the paper tweeted.

In the article chronicling the events of the parade, the Post continued to rely on the vehicle as the apparent cause of the bloodshed.

“A quarter-mile from the rotary building, at 4:39 p.m., an officer told a dispatcher a maroon Ford Escape ‘just blew by [him]’ at White Rock and Hartwell avenues, the intersection where barricades blocking traffic to the parade were removed just a minute before, according to police audio and time codes provided by Broadcastify,” the Post wrote in the report published Tuesday. “A few moments later, the SUV rammed through the parade participants, killing five and injuring more than 40 people, including children.”

Even after Brooks was finally mentioned in the fifth paragraph, the following paragraphs read, “The SUV then drove down Main Street, hitting more than 40 people and killing at least five of them… Down the road, instead of following the parade route and make a turn to get to Wisconsin Avenue, the SUV went straight through North West Avenue, passing over the barriers.”

Waukesha parade horror suspect Darrell Brooks Jr. has a long criminal history. (Waukesha PD)

Critics pummeled the Washington Post on social media for villainizing the SUV.

“Did the SUV drive itself? This headline is a disgrace,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo, reacted.

“What did they charge the SUV with?” Spectator contributing editor Stephen Miller asked.

“Oh, was it autonomous?” Washington Examiner deputy editor Grant Addison wondered.

“It wasn’t caused by an SUV; it was caused by the driver of an SUV,” Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison tweeted.

“Hope the SUV has a good lawyer,” Washington Free Beacon reporter Chuck Ross quipped.

“Blaming guns for shootings and SUVs for truck attacks. At least there’s consistency,” Daily Caller correspondent Anders Hagstrom wrote.

“I beg of someone to seriously argue that this isn’t deliberate,” Tablet Magazine’s Noam Blum tweeted.

“It was not caused by an SUV. This was an intentional attack by a terrible person. There’s no reason to frame it as an accident at this point nor is there a reason to blame it on anything but the driver,” political commentator Josh Jordan responded.

The tweet was deleted Thursday morning and replaced with one that read, “What we know so far on the sequence of events that led to the Waukesha tragedy.”

The Post added, “We’ve deleted a previous tweet for this story that included language that was changed after publish.

Waukesha parade attack: Washington Post pummeled for tweet saying massacre was ’caused by an SUV’

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The Washington Post went viral over a tweet suggesting the SUV involved in the Waukesha parade attack was responsible for the massacre.

Darrell Brooks was charged with intentional homicide after driving his SUV through a crowded street commemorating the holiday season, resulting in the deaths of six people ages 8 to 81 and injuring dozens more.

However, a tweet from the Post seemed to place the responsibility on Brooks’ vehicle than the career criminal himself.

“Here’s what we know so far on the sequence of events that led to the Waukesha tragedy caused by [an] SUV,” the paper tweeted.

In the article chronicling the events of the parade, the Post continued to rely on the vehicle as the apparent cause of the bloodshed.

“A quarter-mile from the rotary building, at 4:39 p.m., an officer told a dispatcher a maroon Ford Escape ‘just blew by [him]’ at White Rock and Hartwell avenues, the intersection where barricades blocking traffic to the parade were removed just a minute before, according to police audio and time codes provided by Broadcastify,” the Post wrote in the report published Tuesday. “A few moments later, the SUV rammed through the parade participants, killing five and injuring more than 40 people, including children.”

Even after Brooks was finally mentioned in the fifth paragraph, the following paragraphs read, “The SUV then drove down Main Street, hitting more than 40 people and killing at least five of them… Down the road, instead of following the parade route and make a turn to get to Wisconsin Avenue, the SUV went straight through North West Avenue, passing over the barriers.”

Waukesha parade horror suspect Darrell Brooks Jr. has a long criminal history. (Waukesha PD)

Critics pummeled the Washington Post on social media for villainizing the SUV.

“Did the SUV drive itself? This headline is a disgrace,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo, reacted.

“What did they charge the SUV with?” Spectator contributing editor Stephen Miller asked.

“Oh, was it autonomous?” Washington Examiner deputy editor Grant Addison wondered.

“It wasn’t caused by an SUV; it was caused by the driver of an SUV,” Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison tweeted.

“Hope the SUV has a good lawyer,” Washington Free Beacon reporter Chuck Ross quipped.

“Blaming guns for shootings and SUVs for truck attacks. At least there’s consistency,” Daily Caller correspondent Anders Hagstrom wrote.

“I beg of someone to seriously argue that this isn’t deliberate,” Tablet Magazine’s Noam Blum tweeted.

“It was not caused by an SUV. This was an intentional attack by a terrible person. There’s no reason to frame it as an accident at this point nor is there a reason to blame it on anything but the driver,” political commentator Josh Jordan responded.

The tweet was deleted Thursday morning and replaced with one that read, “What we know so far on the sequence of events that led to the Waukesha tragedy.”

The Post added, “We’ve deleted a previous tweet for this story that included language that was changed after publish.

Small plane crashes in Pennsylvania leaves 1 dead, 1 injured

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GROVE CITY, Pa. (AP) — A small plane crashed near a landfill in western Pennsylvania, killing one person and injuring another.

The single-engine Cessna 210 went down around 5:45 p.m. in a wooded area near the Grove City airport in Mercer County, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities have not said if the plane had departed from the airport or if it was trying to land when the crash occurred.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the FAA and state police.

The names of the two people aboard the plane have not been released. The injured person was being treated at a hospital for burns and related injuries, authorities said. but further details on their condition were not disclosed.

NYC man out on bail walks up to 13-year-old boy, shoots him the neck: ‘Should not have happened

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A New York City man, who was out on parole for a prior gun-related conviction, on walked up to a 13-year-old boy on his way to school and shot him in the neck, authorities said.
Hubert Wiggs, 36, was not only out on parole for a 2010 firearms and illegal drug conviction, but he was also out on bail for possession of an illegal firearm in 2019, NYPD Assistant Chief Kenneth Lehr said during a presser following the incident.
So this individual today is on the street while on parole for a firearm, while out on bail for another firearm,” Lehr said. “And today he’s walking around the Bronx with a firearm. And we have a 13-year-old boy shot in the neck, and for the grace of God he’s alive here today.”
Lehr added that these incidents continue to occur and that this shooting “should not have happened.
A controversial bail reform law New York implemented in January 2020 made release before trial automatic for most people accused of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Authorities have said the law has made it difficult to keep criminals off the streets and that suspects are routinely released for serious crimes.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea posted about Tuesday morning’s incident on social media, writing: “1 inch to the side & this is a very different story.”
The shooting happened just after 7:30 a.m. on East 223rd Street, near Bronxwood Avenue in the Bronx, police said. The boy was walking to a train station on his way to school in Manhattan when Wiggs allegedly met him in the middle of the street and fired one shot, striking the boy in the neck.
The boy initially kept walking until he realized he was injured and looked for help, sources told FOX5 New York. He was rushed to Jacobi Hospital.
Officers arrived at the scene and saw a man quickly put something on the ground and pick it up, police said. Officers quickly determined the object was a gun and ordered the man to drop the firearm.
Wiggs was taken into custody without incident. Police recovered a six-shot revolver at the scene.
Wiggs faces a slew of charges in connection to the shooting, including attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.

Ahmaud Arbery supporters cheer, weep outside Georgia courthouse

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Supporters of Ahmaud Arbery cheered and wept outside a Georgia courthouse after the three people who chased him down and shot him last year were convicted of his murder.
The emotional scene saw crowds of people hugging one another and lifting their arms in the air after prosecutors won a conviction at the trial for the trio of killers. Other people were seen wiping away tears.
Among those in the crowd was Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, who stood with Rev. Al Sharpton and said her son “will now rest in peace” after the verdict was read.
“I never saw this date back in 2020. I’ve never thought this day would come. But God is good. Everybody, thank you,” Cooper-Jones said outside the Glynn County Courthouse.
The trio of killers, Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan all face life in prison after being convicted of murder and other charges for the killing of Arbery in February 2020.
They all face life in prison. A judge will decide if their sentence comes with the possibility of parole.
Travis McMichael fatally shot Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020, after he, his father and Bryan chased after him in their cars near Brunswick, Ga.
Arbery, 25, a former high school football player, had been jogging in the neighborhood when the trio spotted him and started to pursue him.
They claimed they believe Arbery looked like someone suspected of burglaries in the neighborhood, but police have said no break-ins were reported.
Arbery was unarmed when he was murdered.

Arbery’s mother: ‘He will now rest in peace’ after verdict

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After three men were convicted of murder for the death her son, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother said that she never thought she’d see the day come.

“It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight. But God is good,” Wanda Cooper-Jones told a crowd gathered outside the courthouse in Glynn County. “To tell the truth, I never saw this day back in 2020. I never thought this day would come. But God is good.”

Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted of murder in the February 2020 death of the 25-year-old Black man, who was chased and fatally shot while running through their coastal Georgia neighborhood in an attack that became part of the larger national reckoning on racial injustice.

Cooper-Jones’ attorney, Lee Merritt, hailed his client’s unflinching fight for justice.

“Eighteen months ago when she learned about the murder of her son, they told her that she would just have to deal with it alone,” Merritt said. “They told her that there would be no arrest, that there would be no accountability, that there would be no justice. And she made her son a promise before she laid him in the ground, that his mom would fight for justice for him.”

Of the son she called Quez, Cooper-Jones said, “He will now rest in peace.”

When Travis McMichael was pronounced guilty of murder, Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., let out a “gut-wrenching grunt,” his attorney Ben Crump said.

“He could not contain it any further because think about how long he and Wanda have been enduring all the innuendo, all the allegations, all the character assassinations,” Crump said.

Arbery’s parents fought for him and were “an example of how to deal with tragedy and grief,” Crump said, reminding the crowd that even as they celebrated the verdict, Arbery’s parents remain devastated by his death.

“Even though this is not a celebration, it is a reflection to acknowledge that the spirit of Ahmaud defeated the lynch mob,” Crump said.

Marcus Arbery thanked God, his family and the family’s supporters and said he doesn’t want to see any other father have to live through what he lived through. But as he reflected on the verdict, he said, “Today is a good day.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton spent some time sitting with Arbery’s parents in the courtroom. After a protest over his presence from Bryan’s attorney, he called Black pastors to Brunswick last week for a rally outside the courthouse last week.

After the verdict, he noted that “there will be an empty chair at Wanda’s table” Thursday.

“Ahmaud will not be at Thanksgiving tomorrow, but she can look at that chair and say to Ahmaud, ‘I fought a good fight,’” Sharpton said, applauding both parents’ fight for their son. “Even though it will be a sober and solemn Thanksgiving, you can thank God, who didn’t let your boy down.”

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