Complaint filed to remove Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm from office

NOW: Complaint filed to remove Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm from office

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A group of citizens has officially submitted a petition to Governor Tony Evers, calling for him to remove Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm from office.

The petition is signed by several people described as "Milwaukee County resident taxpayers," and asks Gov. Evers to remove Chisholm because his office recommended the release of Darrell Brooks on $1,000 bail.

Days after his release, Brooks is accused of driving through the Waukesha Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens more. 

Chisholm admitted the bail recommendation was "inappropriately low" but blamed the failure on a "mistake" made by a young prosecutor.

The petition could initiate an investigation.

Orville Seymer organized the signing. He says the petition was drafted by an attorney. Now he and others want the governor to act on it. Seymer said, "I hope he sees the handwriting on the wall and removes John Chisholm from office, or at least tell him to resign."

The petition was filed late Friday, signed by six people. It calls on Governor Evers to investigate and then remove Chisholm. The three-page petition reads in part: "These tragedies are the direct result of District Attorney Chishom's [sic] negligence in protecting the citizens of Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin."

Seymer said, "This has been ongoing for quite some time now. And people get low bail to get out and they kill people. It's got to stop."

Several Republican lawmakers representing the Waukesha area have also called for Chisholm's removal. But Governor Evers can only remove a district attorney if a person in that county files a valid complaint, and if an ensuing investigation then finds “inefficiency, neglect of duty, official misconduct or malfeasance in office."

The governor has been hesitant to speculate, saying earlier this month he'd wait for a formal letter. On Dec. 6 Governor Evers said, "It's simple. I get a letter from somebody from the county requesting that process be initiated, I will initiate it."

But the process was not initiated Monday. The governor's office confirmed it did receive the petition, but a spokesperson said it has not been fully reviewed, adding names and addresses for the signees are required but were not included.

So far, DA Chisholm has refused calls to step down. Back on Dec. 2 he said, "Quitting in the face of fire is not the proper approach to take."

Requests for comment from Attorney General Josh Kaul, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and District Attorney Chisholm's office were not returned.

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