Was the Waukesha, Wisconsin, Christmas parade massacre Sunday a terrorist attack touched off by the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case? There’s no direct evidence as of yet that it was, but one prominent Milwaukee-area Black Lives Matter activist thinks it was — and not only that, he believes it was a good thing.
According to the Daily Caller, in a video streamed on Facebook from the scene of the tragedy early Monday morning, Vaun Mayes said he heard from an anonymous source that it was retribution for the Rittenhouse verdict and that “it sounds possible that the revolution has started.”
Darrell E. Brooks Jr., a 39-year-old man from Milwaukee, was taken into custody by police after he allegedly plowed his red SUV into pedestrians and parade marchers on Sunday evening. Five were killed and at least 40 injured, according to Fox News.
It’s unclear what police believe Brooks’ motive was as of Tuesday morning. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Waukesha’s police chief said they had no evidence the massacre was an act of terrorism. Investigators believe he was party to a “domestic disturbance” before the incident, potentially involving a knife. However, Brooks is a career criminal with a 44-page criminal record and multiple charges open against him.
Nevertheless, the timing of the incident and the proximity of Waukesha to Kenosha, Wisconsin — where Rittenhouse was acquitted for killing two rioters and wounding a third during unrest last summer — led many to speculate about whether those were just coincidences.
Brooks had allegedly voiced his support for Black Lives Matter, used black nationalist rhetoric, espoused anti-Semitic views and his disdain for Donald Trump under social media accounts taken out under his nom du rap “MathBoi Fly,” according to reports from Heavy and independent journalist Andy Ngô. Ngô also reported Brooks posted on Facebook about knocking out white people in the wake of the Rittenhouse verdict.
Darrell Edward Brooks, the man who was taken into custody by police over the #Waukesha Christmas parade mass casualty incident, expressed hatred of former president Donald Trump in one of his rap tracks. He also expressed black nationalist antisemitic views. #BLM pic.twitter.com/BhT7BrX5mL
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) November 22, 2021
#Waukesha Christmas parade massacre suspect Darrell Edward Brooks posted about knocking white people out, including the elderly. He also expressed apparent frustration over the #Rittenhouse verdict. pic.twitter.com/5499EHEFMF
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) November 22, 2021
Correlation is hardly causality, however, and this speculation is just that: speculation. It’s enough for Mr. Mayes, however, who seems to wholeheartedly approve of the act.
“We may have to wait and see what they say about why this happened,” Mayes said in the video from the scene of the Waukesha attack. “But it sounds like possible that the revolution has started in Wisconsin. It started with this Christmas parade.
“Now, I don’t know. Maybe, maybe it’s something I’m missing,” he continued. “I said I wasn’t gonna speak on no rumors, but y’all is repeating some of the stuff that has come up, and I can tell you that the initial person that reached out to me said that they believe this has to do with the verdict.
“So I made an assumption of which side it would be from, but I don’t know.”
Black Lives Matter activist Vaun L Mayes @YungLz at the scene of the Waukesha parade attack:
“It sounds like the revolution has started,” mentions hearing from a source who believes Darrell Brooks may have been motivated by the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.pic.twitter.com/ayp3BjbfZ7
— Nobody (@TheNoboddy) November 22, 2021
If you have an hour and change of your life to waste and want to go down a full-on rabbit-hole of crazy, this is the full livestream from the Black Lives Matter leader.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic language that some viewers will find offensive.
Mayes isn’t a minor figure in the Black Lives Matter movement. In a June article, the Milwaukee Shepherd-Express — an alternative newspaper in Wisconsin’s most populous city — described the 34-year-old Mayes as, “One of the most prominent activist leaders” in Milwaukee.
“A controversial public figure who sometimes clashes with police and politicians, he works behind the scenes helping residents resolve issues, raise funds for families and especially mentor juveniles through his own non-profit programs,” the Shepherd-Express’ Tom Jenz wrote.
However, if an alternative newspaper is describing a Black Lives Matter activist as “controversial,” you know it’s usually pretty bad. In Mayes’ case, he’s arguably best known for charges stemming from a bizarre incident in June of 2020 when a house in Milwaukee was set on fire after a vigilante crowd became convinced two missing local teens had been taken there. (They hadn’t been, but the low-level anarchy engendered by the mob ended with two people being shot and windows being smashed.)
According to WDJT-TV in Milwaukee, Mayes was arrested for burglary and criminal trespass and released a week later — with an adulating crowd waiting for him.
Vaun Mayes has been released from jail to a crowd of people waiting for him.
According to the DA’s office, Mayes was arrested for Burglary as Party to a Crime & Criminal Trespass to Dwelling.
After reviewing the case, the DA’s office has decided to pend it for more review. pic.twitter.com/ngwHVZVlUD
— Brittany Lewis (@brittlewisnews) June 30, 2020
According to WITI-TV in Milwaukee, the district attorney later declined to press charges “related to that arrest due to the lack of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.”
On Friday, Mayes received significant coverage from local media outlets for his reaction to the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. In his speech, the Black Lives Matter activist said “today a message was sent, sent to every supremacist or person who just opposes and disagrees with cause for reform … you clearly told them to pick up your weapons, arm even your child, go to your nearest protest, antagonize and offend people.
“And if they react, armed or unarmed, say you fear for your life, and you can shoot them without reprimands.”
Mayes also claimed that “Kyle Rittenhouse was an abuser of women — that’s documented on video” and that he “expressed his — him wanting to take the life or shoot at people with a weapon during what he considered to be rioting and looting.”
That’s not just a random YouTube video; it’s from WITI, which felt this was worth covering.
It’s also worth noting a particularly haunting portion of Mayes’ Friday remarks: “There are states right now — Florida and others — either passing laws or attempting to pass laws where protesters can be driven over without reprimand. This ruling is no different than that.”
Just days later, Vaun Mayes appears on a livestream claiming — absent any direct evidence, mind you, including from authorities — the Waukesha massacre is a sign “that the revolution has started in Wisconsin. It started with this Christmas parade.”
These weren’t even protesters blocking cars, just innocent bystanders and parade participants. But he certainly seems to approve — and the silence surrounding that approval from a local media is deafening, particularly how willing they were to give him coverage up until Friday and for years before that.
What Mayes said may have been unfounded, but no one can ignore the incendiary nature of the remarks and the ominous note they strike, particularly at this fraught juncture.
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