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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 & 2021 Award Winners

Milwaukee Detective Shooting Suspect Charged; Shooter On the Run, Faces 93 Years [READ CRIMINAL COMPLAINT]

“Our detective was released from the hospital today,” police said, revealing the Milwaukee detective shooting suspect was charged.

Criminal charges have been filed against the suspected gunman, Keasean Ellis-Brown, in the shooting of an off-duty detective who was wounded while trying to stop a carjacking last week. The criminal complaint describes how the wounded and heroic detective, who had intervened to protect a woman from Ellis-Brown, had the presence of mind to remember and document the suspects’ license plate despite being shot multiple times.

Two other suspects were charged with other serious offenses relating to the incident.

WRN previously broke the story that the suspected shooter, Keasean Ellis-Brown, was out on $1,000 bail for another very serious felony case in Milwaukee County. Read about that here. The criminal complaint confirms that police believe Ellis-Brown was the shooter, and the other two suspects were in the car.

The complaint reveals that one bullet narrowly missed the detective’s heart. It also says that Ellis-Brown dropped his phone during a botched carjacking of the vehicle of a DoorDash driver, and the detective intervened when he physically attacked the woman to get his phone back.

According to a release from Milwaukee police on January 18, 2022,

On Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office issued criminal charges against Keasean J. Ellis-Brown, Dionta’e L. Hayes and Timonte Karroll-Robinson in connection to the shooting of an off-duty Milwaukee Police Department detective that occurred on January 13, 2022, at approximately 2:00 p.m., on the 200 block of E. Buffalo Street. The detective assisted a female that was being attacked by a suspect, identified in the complaint as Ellis-Brown. The detective attempted to detain the suspect. A struggle ensued, at which time the suspect brandished a firearm. The suspect fired multiple rounds at the off-duty detective, striking him multiple times, and fled the scene, police said.

Here are the specific charges:


Keasean ellis-brown
Keasean ellis-brown

Keasean Ellis-Brown

Ellis-Brown was charged with one count of Attempt First-Degree Intentional Homicide, Use of a Dangerous Weapon, one count of Second Degree Reckless Endangering Safety, Use of a Dangerous Weapon, one count of Attempt Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent – Party to a Crime, one count of Drive or Operate a Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent – Party to a Crime, one count of Carrying a Concealed Weapon and one count of Bail Jumping. If convicted, he could face up to 93 years, 3 months in prison and could be fined up to $60,000.


Timonte karroll-robinson
Timonte karroll-robinson

Timonte Karroll-Robinson

Karroll-Robinson was charged with one count of Drive or Operate a Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent – Party to a Crime, one count of Attempt Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent – Party to a Crime, one count of Harboring or Aiding a Felon, Party to a Crime, one count of Flee or Elude an Officer, one count of Second Degree Reckless Endangering Safety and one count of Obstructing an Officer. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years, 9 months in prison and could be fined up to $85,000.


Dionta’e l. Hayes
Dionta’e l. Hayes

Dionta’e L. Hayes

Hayes was charged with one count of Drive or Operate a Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent – Party to a Crime, one count of Attempt Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent – Party to a Crime, one count of Harboring or Aiding a Felon, Party to a Crime, one count of Obstructing an Officer and two counts of Bail Jumping. If convicted, he could face up to 29 years, 3 months in prison and could be fined up to $70,000.

The Milwaukee Police Department continues to seek Ellis-Brown. If you have any information on Ellis-Brown’s whereabouts, please contact the Milwaukee Police Department at (414) 935-7360 or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-TIPS or P3 Tips App.

Police said: “Our detective was released from the hospital today and is requesting respect for his privacy as he recovers. The Milwaukee Police Department would like to thank all the community members who rendered aid to our detective as well as the professional care and assistance from the Milwaukee Fire Department, Froedtert Hospital staff and numerous law enforcement agencies. We continue to wish our detective a speedy recovery.”


Milwaukee Detective Shooting Suspect Criminal Complaint

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According to the complaint, on Jan. 13, 2022, the off-duty Milwaukee police detective was shot multiple times inside the Shake Shack restaurant located at 220 E. Buffalo St. in Milwaukee.

One of the bullets narrowly missed the detective’s heart. He had put himself on duty to assist with an attempted car theft.

The complaint alleges:

The woman whose car the suspects were trying to steal works as a DoorDash driver. She said she had a food order to pick up at Shake Shack, and she had her three children with her. They asked to use the restroom. She turned off her car and exited, walking into the Shake Shack to ask if her children could use the restroom. As she was asking, the staff told her that someone was taking something out of her car. She looked and saw a black male running from her car and getting into a silver car stopped at the intersection, the complaint says.

The person got into the front passenger seat and the car turned north on Water Street.

She saw an iPhone on the ground; it belonged to the suspected shooter, Ellis-Brown. A suspect got into the front driver’s seat of her car and looked back and said oh f*** when he saw the children.

The detective heard what happened. The phone was ringing, and she put it in her pocked. Ellis-Brown walked into the Shake Shack. He turned to her and demanded his cell phone, grabbed her and pushed her against the wall, reaching into her pocket to remove the phone, the complaint says.

The detective “said something about the police and grabbed the suspect off of her.” He was saying “stop Police!” and was attempting to wrestle the suspect to the ground and got him to the ground,” said the complaint.

The complaint further alleged:

Ellis-Brown was reaching for his waistband, and the victim heard two gunshots and then three additional shots. She saw the officer on the ground. He kept repeating the license plate of the suspects and mentioned it was an out-of-state plate.

Another woman was interviewed who is a nurse. She could see the detective with a male later identified as Ellis-Brown. Ellis-Brown was holding the pistol, and she heard gunshots. The suspect ran from her and fired his gun three to four times in the air after leaving Shake Shack as well.

She entered the restaurant and saw the detective lying inside with a handgun in his hand. She rendered aid. He asked her to copy down the license plate. He had gunshot wounds to his lower back and the middle portion of his abdomen.

He appeared to be shot at close range. There were four gunshot wounds, two to his abdomen, one to his groin and one to his back. The detective described how the suspect was demanding that the woman give him his phone back.

The vehicle the suspects were in was stolen in Menomonee Falls.

The vehicle was later spotted and led police on a chase at high speeds, disregarding red lights. Two of the suspects exited the car and were spotted running along Chambers Street.

Those suspects were Diontae Hayes and Timonte Karroll-Rovinson, the complaint says.

When arrested, Hayes was in possession of suspected marijuana.

According to the complaint, Hayes told police the suspects went to the area of Shake Shack at Ellis-Brown’s request. Ellis Brown jumped in the driver’s seat but then realized there were kids in the car. He dropped his phone. After the shooting, he told them that he tussled with an undercover cop.  He drove him back to his house.

Hayes stated he ran but Karroll-Robinson did not because he had recently been shot.

It’s common in Milwaukee for groups of individuals to work together to steal vehicles either for joyriding or to sell to other criminals, such as drug dealers or armed robbers. They are used to commit other crimes, such as burglaries, says the complaint.

The shooting occurred at Water Street. We’ve written many stories about shootings along Water Street and how dangerous that street became, especially during the summer. See our Water Street coverage here.

The Third Ward is an area of Milwaukee that had undergone a renaissance and is a popular area for lunch crowds. The brazen shooting happened in broad daylight as the city continues to reel from spiking violent crime and city and county officials more focused on using anti-police rhetoric than solving the problem. Motor vehicle theft rose 132% in Milwaukee in 2021.

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Texas Public Safety Director: ‘Wrong Decision’ Not to Confront Uvalde Shooter Sooner

(The Center Square) – The commander in charge of the police response to Tuesday's mass shooting at an Uvalde elementary school made the "wrong decision" to not send officers into the classroom to confront the gunman who shot and killed 19 children and two fourth grade teachers, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said Friday.

The chief of the Uvalde Consolidated School District Police Department, who was in charge of the initial response at Robb Elementary School, thought the shooter, 18-year-old Uvalde resident Salvador Ramos, was barricaded inside that classroom and that no other children were at risk, McCraw said.

“Obviously, based on the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were still at risk,” McCraw said. “From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period.”

Nearly 20 officers stood in a hallway outside of the classroom for more than 45 minutes before federal Border Patrol agents arrived and used a master key to open the door and kill the gunman, he said.

Outside the school, parents, neighbors and others said law enforcement waited close to an hour before confronting Ramos and killing him. Videos posted online showed a chaotic scene of parents pleading with officers who remained outside to enter the school as the active shooting incident was ongoing.

Victor Escalon, South Texas regional director in the Department of Public Safety, said at a Thursday news conference that the first officers on the scene did enter the school once they arrived but were shot at and began evacuating students and school personnel.

"Four minutes [after Ramos entered the school and began shooting students], local police departments, the Uvalde Police Department, the Independent School District Police Department are inside, making entry," Escalon said. "They hear gunfire, they take rounds, they move back, get cover. And during that time, they approach where the suspect is at."

After two officers were shot, Escalon said, law enforcement decided to start evacuating as many students and school personnel as they could.

About an hour after the shooting started, a tactical team from U.S. Border Patrol arrived, entered the building and killed the suspect, authorities said.

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(The Center Square) – One of Wisconsin’s top critics of the 2020 election in the state is not staying silent about the resignation of one of Wisconsin’s Election Commissioners.

Commissioner Dean Knudson on Wednesday resigned his seat on the state’s Election Commission out of frustration with the continued focus on the last presidential vote in Wisconsin.

“Integrity demands acknowledging the truth even when the truth is painful. In this case, the painful truth is that President Trump lost the election in 2020 – lost the election in Wisconsin in 2020. And the loss was not due to election fraud,” Knudson said during Wednesday’s WEC meeting.

Knudson is a former Republican lawmaker, and helped create the Wisconsin Elections Commission back in 2015.

"I'll put my conservative record up against anyone in the state of Wisconsin, and yet now I've been branded a RINO," Knudson added, employing the acronym for Republican In Name Only.

But Republican state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, on Thursday questioned Knudson’s conservative bona fides.

“Wisconsin Election Commissioner Dean Knutson resigned yesterday citing lack of support from the GOP. He blamed conspiracy theories and misinformation about the 2020 election, but in reality, he simply didn’t do his job, which was to oversee the agency that Wisconsinites depend on for fair and honest elections,” Brandtken said.

Brandtjen has led one of the investigations into the 2020 election from her Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections since early 2021.

Brandtjen said Knudson allowed:

Bloated voter rolls to continue.Madison’s Democracy in the Park"Over $8 million in Zuckerberg money for targeted "get out the vote’ efforts.Ballot trafficking and drop boxes.Illegal suspension of special voting deputies, knowingly.WEC lawsuits against Justice Gableman and Brandtjen instead of cooperating with the investigations.

“Stripping our elections of the safety measures the legislature has put into statute is not what we expect from the Elections Commission; in fact, we expect the exact opposite,” Brandtjen added.

Knudson’s resignation means Republicans will have to appoint another commissioner. That search is underway.

His resignation also came as Commissioner Bob Spindell, who is a vocal 2020 election critic, is set to take over as commission chairman. That vote was supposed to happen Wednesday, but has now been postponed.

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Milwaukee School Counselor Under DPI Investigation For Opposition to Transgender Ideology

(The Center Square) – An elementary school counselor from Milwaukee is refusing to resign or change her mind about gender identity, even after the state opened an investigation that could cost her her job.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction sent Marissa Darlingh a letter on April 29, explaining that she was under investigation for what she said at a rally in Madison just six days before.

“DPI has opened an investigation to determine whether to initiate educator license revocation proceedings against you,” the letter stated. “It has been alleged that you engaged in immoral conduct.”

Darling was one of several speakers at a feminist rally in Madison on April 23 where she used a commonly expressed profanity repeatedly as she discussed transgenderism.

“I oppose gender ideology ever entering the walls of my school building,” Darling said. “Over my dead ... body will my students be exposed to the heart of gender identity ideology. Not a single one of my students under my ... watch will ever, ever transition socially, and sure as hell not medically.”

DPI’s letter said the investigation will “determine if there is probable cause to support allegations of immoral conduct.”

DPI gave Darlingh the option to resign ahead of the investigation, but Darlingh opted instead to fight.

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty sent a letter to DPI that promises a lawsuit if the state tries to suspend Darlingh’s license because of her opposition to transgenderism or her use of profanity.

“The state is, quite simply, trying to punish a public-school counselor for her views on gender ideology. This is a classic, clear-cut, violation of the First Amendment and the state can expect a federal lawsuit if it proceeds,” WILL’s Luke Berg said.

Darling said she will not back down, and will not change her mind about transgenderism even after the investigation is complete.

“My views on the harms of gender ideology to children are informed by a desire to serve and protect children,” Darling said in a statement. “That’s why I got into education. I will love and serve every child under my care, no matter what. But I won’t recant under threat from the state.”

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Liberal Groups & Labor Unions Want Milwaukee to Reject RNC 2024 Bid

(The Center Square) – A number of Wisconsin’s progressive advocates and big labor unions want Milwaukee to abandon plans to host the Republican National Convention because they don’t like Republicans’ politics.

Voces de la Frontera Action, Power to the Polls, the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Never Again is Now, and SEIU all signed on to an open letter Tuesday asking Milwaukee’s city council to reject a contract that would be necessary for Milwaukee to host the RNC in 2024.

“We the undersigned community organizations want to send a clear message to city, county and state leaders: the Republican National Convention is not welcome in Milwaukee,” the groups wrote. “The Republican Party, both nationally and in Wisconsin, has become an organization that supports White Supremacists, the violent attempted coup at the US Capitol to overthrow a democratic election, and continues to engineer new ways to undermine fair and democratic elections.”

The open letter comes as city leaders in Milwaukee are set to vote on the RNC contract on Wednesday.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson on Tuesday said the city can host the Republican convention without endorsing the Republican Party’s political views.

"I think that the RNC presents a tremendous opportunity for us in Milwaukee," Johnson told reporters. "I think it presents a great opportunity for Milwaukee to be in the national conversation, to be a city that other large conventions and other large events look to. I want the RNC to be the bedrock for a new and stronger convention and tourism economy that we can build here in the city of Milwaukee."

Johnson said his support for the RNC is a “business decision.”

CJ Szafir with the Institute for Reforming Government said the opposition is “on-brand” from progressives and big labor in the state

“It's terribly disappointing that progressive and labor groups are opposed to Milwaukee hosting an event that could bring up to 45,000 visitors to the city, creating as much as $200 million in economic impact. This would directly benefit Milwaukee small businesses and workers, which ironically is who these groups claim to care about,” Szafir told The Center Square. “A political convention is one of the great American historic events and to have the RNC come to Milwaukee in 2024 would give Milwaukee the global spotlight that it deserves. This should get bipartisan support.”

Milwaukee and Nashville, Tennessee are the final two cities in the running for hosting the RNC in 2024. A decision on the winning city is expected later this summer.

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(The Center Square) – The stock market came back from a midday drop on Friday, the day ending with the S&P 500 Index 18.6% below the record high set in early January.

A bear market would have begun if the decline reached 20%.

The stock market tumble is a continuation from declines earlier this week, a week that saw record high gas prices continue to rise. Other contributing factors in the index most closely associated with workers 401(k) accounts are rising interest rates, inflation, the war in Ukraine and China's economy.

“Since 1928, the S&P 500 has had 1 bear market every 4 years on average,” Charlie Bilello, founder of Compound Capital Advisors, wrote on Twitter. “With the S&P down 20% from its peak in January, this is now the 3rd bear market we've experienced in less than 4 years.”

New polling shows the majority of Americans expect a recession as energy prices and inflation continue to soar. Quinnipiac University released new polling this week that showed most Americans are pessimistic about the nation’s economic future.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans (85 percent) think it is either very likely (45 percent) or somewhat likely (40 percent) that there will be an economic recession in the next year, while 12 percent think it is either not so likely (8 percent) or not likely at all (4 percent),” the poll said.

Overall, Americans did not think the economy was doing well before the stock market declines this week.

“Roughly 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) say the state of the nation's economy these days is either excellent (2 percent) or good (17 percent), while 4 in 5 Americans (80 percent) say it's either not so good (34 percent) or poor (46 percent),” the poll reported. “This is Americans' most negative description of the state of the nation's economy in a Quinnipiac University poll since President Biden took office.”

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Justice Clarence Thomas: ‘We Are in Danger of Destroying The Institutions … Required For a Free Society’

(The Center Square) – It’s been two weeks and there’s still no word on who leaked the U.S. Supreme Court draft brief indicating that the court was set to overturn Roe V. Wade and returning the issue of abortion back to the states.

At a recent event in Dallas, Texas, hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution, and the Manhattan Institute, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke about the leak and his concern for the rule of law and credibility of the court.

A roughly 8-minute clip of his talk was published by C-SPAN, in which he said, “I think we are in danger of destroying the institutions that are required for a free society. You can’t have a civil society, a free society without a stable legal system.

“You can’t have one without stability in things like property or interpretation and impartial judiciary. I’ve been in this business long enough to know just how fragile it is.”

Prior to the draft opinion being leaked this year, Thomas said it was impossible to think that even one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone.

“No one would ever do that,” he said. “There’s such a belief in the rule of law, belief in the court, belief in what we were doing, that that was beyond anyone’s understanding or at least anyone's imagination, that someone would do that.”

Now, “look where we are,” he said. “That trust and belief is gone forever. When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally. You begin to look over your shoulder. It's like kind of an infidelity, that you can explain it, but you can't undo it.”

New York University professor Melissa Murray holds a similar sentiment. She told the New York Times last week that the leak “violates the omertà that traditionally has shrouded the court’s deliberations. To the public, this not only looks like the kind of maneuvering that we’ve come to expect from politicians, it also strips the court of the mystique it has generally enjoyed.”

Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts’ reputation is also at stake. He has a lot riding on whether or not the leaker is identified and punished, Dan McLaughlin at National Review Online notes.

“John Roberts’s Court is at stake here,” he argues. “If decisions can be leaked in draft form with impunity in order to influence their outcomes, this will become a regular feature of high-profile cases, placing the Court under even worse pressures and threats than already exist.”

The Supreme Court isn’t the only institution that’s changing, Thomas said. Universities, colleges, law schools have all changed over the last few decades. Today, the climate on most campuses doesn’t allow for peaceful debate of differing views, instead policies of censorship are creating a “chilling effect” on speech.

He recently met with students attending the University of Georgia, where he said students expressed that they can’t publicly affirm pro-life or traditional family views because of the climate on campus.

At Yale Law School, his alma mater, students could once freely speak about anything, “it was anything goes, you do your thing I do my thing,” he said. Now. there’s censorship, he said.

"I wonder how long we're going to have these institutions at the rate we're undermining them,” Thomas said. “And then I wonder when they're gone or they are destabilized, what we'll have as a country – and I don't think that the prospects are good if we continue to lose them."

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