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50 people sue City of Wauwatosa over handling of protests

Wauwatosa Officer Joseph Mensah and Alvin Cole
Posted at 8:59 AM, Mar 07, 2021

WAUWATOSA, Wis — Fifty people are suing a Wisconsin city over the way it handled protests last fall after authorities announced that a police officer would face no charges for the fatal shooting of a Black teenager.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney had announced in October that Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah would face no criminal charges in the February 2020 shooting death of 17-year-old Alvin Cole outside a mall.

The lawsuit was filed Saturday against the city of Wauwatosa, its police chief and mayor.

It claims that the City of Wauwatosa’s Emergency Order for a curfew was unlawful and violated the constitutional rights of protesters.

It also claims the Wauwatosa police officers, unnamed at this time, "effectuated arrests, caused bodily harm, created fabricated arrest records, [and] or ticketed" plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit suggests that the events that transpired last year are a direct result of the City of Wauwatosa's historical background of racial issues.

It states, "From 1920 through at least the 1950’s Wauwatosa was known as a restrictive zoning city in which African Americans were not welcome. For decades well into the 1960s it was not uncommon to see signs in Wauwatosa excluding black people or seeing property deeds which explicitly, “excluded non-whites from "purchasing, owning, leasing or occupying."

Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride says the lawsuit has no merit.

"His intent was to stop these protests. To end them before they began. To declare them unconstitutional for the simple reason that they called his and his administration’s misconduct into question," the complaint claims.

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