Wisconsin Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D) and Ron Johnson (R) issued a joint statement Saturday asking people not to "exploit the tragedy that occurred last Sunday in Waukesha for their own political purposes," CNN reports.
Six people are dead and more than 60 injured after a driver plowed his SUV into a Christmas parade. Prosecutors have charged Darrell E. Brooks with homicide.
The senators' statement comes after several conservative commentators accused mainstream media of painting the killings — which took place just two days after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in Kenosha following a public and racially charged trial — as part of a getaway attempt gone wrong rather than what they argue is intentional mass murder. A caption on an NBC video referred to the event as an "accident." Some conservative pundits have suggested that the attack should be treated as a terrorist incident, in light of apparent social media posts made by Brooks dating back to 2015 that seemed to "align with the beliefs of the Black Hebrew Israelites," a fringe religious movement, the New York Post reports.
The criminal complaint against Brooks cites one witness who observed the vehicle driving in "a zig-zag pattern" and another who said he believed the driver showed "a direct intent to hit as many parade participants" as possible. Shortly before allegedly driving his car through the parade, Brooks was released on bail of $1,000 after allegedly attempting to run over a woman with his car less than three weeks earlier.