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Charges will not be filed against Officer Joseph Mensah in the shooting death of 17-year-old Alvin Cole at the Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa in February. Cole was shot in February after bringing a gun to the Mayfair Mall. Both Mensah and Cole are black.
The verdict was announced from the steps of the Milwaukee County Safety Building, after the family spent more than an hour meeting with District Attorney John T. Chisholm.
Cole's girlfriend, Tionna Williams, led protestors in a chant in front of the Milwaukee County Safety Building, saying "the whole damn system is guilty as hell."
Before the verdict was announced, protestors gathered in front of the Milwaukee courthouse.
The courthouse closed prior to the announcement.
The National Guard was activated to go to Wauwatosa this afternoon, ready to be deployed if necessary after the verdict.
The Wauwatosa Police issued a statement prior to the release of the information stating that they were "fully prepared to protect the lives and property of all residents and businesses." And advising people to "respect the rights of all citizens."
Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride, who has been working with the local law enforcement as well as Wisco. Governor Tony Evers' office, confirmed the right of the people to peacefully protest. Protestors gathered in advance of the verdict at the courthouse.
Businesses in the area boarded up in preparation for a potential onslaught of protests.
Mensah, who is currently suspended from the force, has been involved in three fatal shootings over the past five years, and in each of those other cases, the shootings were ruled as justified.
The Cole family released a statement in advance of the verdict, with Kimberley Motley, Cole family attorney, saying "Just thank everybody for supporting the family. We will continue to fight. Like I said, this fight is far from being over. We strongly believe that officer Joseph Mensah was not justified in shooting Alvin Cole and we hope that DA Chisolm will charge him for doing that."
It was on February 2, 2020 that Alvin Cole was fatally shot outside the Mayfair Mall in Milwaukee, Wisc. Cole had brought 9 mm semi-automatic weapon to the mall and fired it before Wauwatosa police responded to the scene, at 5:41 p.m. on that day.
The person who called in the incident to police said "I’m one of the officers at Mayfair Mall. We just had a…um, a domestic trouble by Sephora, and I believe, um, there was, uh, somebody that, um, was ending up saying that somebody had a gun with them? Um, we just want, um the police to get involved just in case they do have it. Um, that person, I don’t have a description, but they got out of entrance three."
The shooting of Cole was captured via dashcam footage from the responding Wauwatosa Police Department. Shots can be heard on the video.
Chief Barry Webber said that "anyone who brings a handgun into a crowded shopping mall and threatens another guest of the mall is cause for concern. In this case it was a 17-year-old with a gun."
Webber said that it is undisputed that Cole shot first, and that police returned fire. The weapon recovered had been reported stole the previous October. On the dashcam video, one shot can be heard first, which was reported to have come from Cole's weapon, and then five shots are heard returning fire from the officers on the scene.
The family said that Cole did not shoot first, and that he did not have "30 live rounds," as Webber stated he did.
Cole's family met with the district attorney's office in Milwaukee, and protestors gathered outside the building where that meeting took place. The family demanded criminal charges against Officer Joseph Mensah, saying that Cole had not fired and that there was no reason for Mensah to open fire.
Wisconsin has seen its fair share of civil unrest and riot violence this summer, after Jacob Blake was shot and paralyzed by police in August. The small city of Kenosha, where Blake was shot after being called to the scene over a domestic disturbance of which was a part, burned for three days.