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Live updates: Suspended Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah will not be charged in fatal shooting of Alvin Cole

Posted at 3:39 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 00:39:05-04

MILWAUKEE -- Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah will not face criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Alvin Cole, District Attorney John Chisholm announced Wednesday evening.

Mensah shot and killed Cole on Feb. 2 outside of Mayfair Mall. Police said the 17-year-old had fired at officers first before being shot. A report from an independent investigator found, however, that "Cole did not fire at Officer Mensah or any other officer. Cole shot himself in the arm while running away from the officers.”

Bookmark this page and come back often for the latest updates:

11:39 p.m. -- Video shows crowd throw objects through apartment windows in Wauwatosa

A video obtained by TMJ4 News shows a crowd of people throwing objects through the windows of an apartment building in Wauwatosa Wednesday evening, following the decision not to charge Officer Joseph Mensah in the shooting death of Alvin Cole.

In the video, the crowd throws what appear to be heavy objects through the windows, while others in the crowd implore them to stop.

Video shows crowd throw objects through apartment windows in Wauwatosa following Joseph Mensah decision

Along with the apartments, several businesses along North Ave. were damaged Wednesday night, with several windows smashed along Swan and North.

10:55 p.m. -- Wauwatosa police use tear gas for a second time

Wauwatosa police say they have used tear gas for a second time against a crowd, after they disobeyed disperse orders, according to police. The gas was fired in the area of North 102 Street and West Melvina Avenue, according to WPD.

10:43 p.m. -- More MCTS bus routes affected

MCTS tweeted: "Additionally, RedLines buses on Capitol Drive can not operate west of 92nd Street."

10:30 p.m. -- Several storefront windows have been smashed along North Avenue in Wauwatosa

10:04 p.m. -- Milwaukee County Transit System routes affected by unrest

Milwaukee County Transit System says routes are being affected. "We have been instructed not to operate buses west of 60th Street on North Avenue, Burleigh Street, or Center Street until further notice. This means that Routes 21, 22 & 60 can not operate west of 60th Street," according to the department.

9:55 p.m. -- Police say large disturbance may lead to injuries

Wauwatosa police say a large disturbance that began as a protest is threatening to cause injury to people. "The Wauwatosa Police has ordered dispersal, and has not obtained compliance," according to WPD.

9:49 p.m. -- Police use gas on protesters

Wauwatosa police officers have deployed gas on protesters who they say have not dispersed after an unlawful assembly was declared.

9:30 p.m. -- Police say people are throwing rocks at officers and buildings

Wauwatosa police tweeted that people in a group are throwing large rocks at law enforcement and buildings, in the area of Swan Bl and North Avenue. "Residents in this area are advised to shelter in their homes, lock their doors, and move away from windows," according to police.

WPD added that the group of people was ordered to disperse due to the curfew, but has refused, according to police.

9:13 p.m. -- Reports of shattered windows along North Avenue

Wauwatosa police tweeted that there are reports of windows being broken at businesses along North Avenue between Wauwatosa Avenue and Swan Blvd.

9:01 p.m. -- Police form perimeter around Wauwatosa City Hall, declare unlawful assembly

Officers from the Wauwatosa Police Department have formed a "protective perimeter" around Wauwatosa City Hall and have declared an unlawful assembly. Most protesters have now moved past City Hall, according to Stephanie Haines.

8:43 p.m. -- Protesters approaching police line in Wauwatosa

Stephanie Haines reports that a crowd of protesters is marching west on North Ave. in Wauwatosa and is about to encounter a line of police officers in riot gear:

6:33 p.m. -- US Attorney Krueger releases statement on Mensah decision

United States Attorney Matthew Krueger warned protesters to stay peaceful in a statement released Wednesday evening:

Federal law enforcement in Wisconsin is sworn to protect First Amendment rights, which include the rights to speak and assemble “peaceably.” In the past year, however, in addition to witnessing peaceful protests, some Wisconsin communities have suffered episodes of violent civil unrest. Federal law enforcement is joined with state and local authorities to address any further violence," Krueger said in the statement.

"Federal law imposes serious penalties for arson, rioting, firearms offenses, and other violent crimes, which we will prosecute to the fullest extent possible. No one else in Wisconsin should become a victim of needless violence or face destruction of a business as a result of unrest,"

6:09 p.m. -- Protests delay downtown Milwaukee bus routes

If you rely on MCTS for your commute, note that your trip through downtown Milwaukee may be delayed this evening as protests continue;

5:59 p.m. -- Protesters march onto the freeway

Following the announcement, dozens of protesters marched onto the freeway, calling for justice for Cole and the firing of Mensah and DA Chisholm.

Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office reports that all lanes of traffic are closed on I-43 Northbound to I-94 Westbound; from the I-43 Southbound to I-94 Westbound ramp; I-794 Westbound at I-43/94 South and the ramp from I-794 West to I-94 West.

Drivers are advised to find a different route at this time.

5:39 p.m. -- City of Wauwatosa issues curfew starting Wednesday night

The City of Wauwatosa is issuing a curfew between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. each night, beginning Wednesday night and concluding Oct. 12.

According to the city (verbatim):

  • This means that people should stay home between these hours – except for people who are going to or from work, such as government officials, social service workers, and credentialed members of the press acting in their official capacities.
  • There is no overnight parking of vehicles during this time, as to allow emergency service vehicles to respond when and where necessary.
  • Gasoline stations are closing between the curfew hours. Gas stations and hardware stores are prohibited from displaying and selling materials which could be used to start or accelerate the burning of buildings or the containers used or capable of being used to transport and dispense such materials.
  • City Hall and the Wauwatosa Public Library will be closed to the public October 7 – 12. See full details about how to access city services, including absentee ballot drop off location.

More info here.

5:33 p.m. -- Reaction to decision pouring in from local leaders

Reaction to the decision not to charge Officer Joseph Mensah is pouring in from around the state. We're tracking responses from Wauwatosa's mayor, police chief, County Executive David Crowley, and much more.

Bookmark this page for the latest local reactions.

5:25 p.m. -- Protesters begin marching in downtown Milwaukee

Lauren Linder reports that protesters have begun marching down State St. in downtown Milwaukee:

5:06 p.m. -- Mayor of Wauwatosa issues statement following Mensah decision

Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride has issued a video statement following DA Chisholm's decision not to charge Mensah.

"We all must do everything we can to keep our community peaceful," McBride says in the video. "Violence is not the answer."

5:01 p.m. -- Alvin Cole's family speaks following decision not to charge Mensah

Tracy Cole, Alvin Cole's mother, spoke outside the Public Safety building following the news that Joseph Mensah would not be charged in her son's death. "Chisholm did not justify my son's murder," Cole said.

4:52 p.m. -- Officer Mensah will not be charged in Alvin Cole's death

Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm will not charge Officer Mensah in Alvin Cole's death, saying "I do not believe that the State could disprove self-defense or defense of others in this case and therefore could not meet the burden required to charge Officer Mensah. With this I conclude my criminal review of the matter."

4:39 p.m. -- Barricades set up at Mayfair Mall

TMJ4's Tony Atkins reports that barricades are being set up to seal entry to Mayfair Mall:

4:26 p.m. -- Wauwatosa groups criticize City preparations for charging decision

Three Wauwatosa groups have issued a statement criticizing the City's preparations ahead of the Joseph Mensah charging decision.

4:04 p.m. -- Crowd waiting, chanting outside Public Safety building

It has been nearly one hour since Alvin Cole's family entered the Public Safety Building to meet with DA Chisholm. A crowd of peaceful protesters has remained outside, chanting nearly the entire time.

3:52 p.m. -- ACLU observing protests at Safety Building

Local ACLU observers have arrived at the Safety Building to monitor protests. So far, they have been entirely peaceful. Additionally, we may hear from Alvin Cole's family attorney after a charging decision is made this afternoon.

3:31 p.m. -- National Guard members leave State Fair Park

Some members of the National Guard are leaving State Fair Park in West Allis, according to Adriana Mendez:

3:11 p.m. -- National Guard members seen in riot gear

TMJ4's Adriana Mendez reports that members of the Wisconsin National Guard are wearing riot gear at State Fair Park.

3:03 p.m. -- Cole family enters Public Safety Building

The family of Alvin Cole has entered Milwaukee's Public Safety Building, en route to a meeting with County DA John Chisholm where they will learn whether or not Mensah will be charged in Alvin's death.

2:30 p.m. -- Mayfair Mall closes early

Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa is closing four hours early Wednesday, on the same day that a decision is expected whether or not to charge suspended Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah in the fatal shooting of Alvin Cole.

According to the mall's website, it will be open from 11-4 p.m. Wednesday. The mall is closing four hours earlier than when it usually does on a weekday.

It was at Mayfair Mall when Mensah shot and killed 17-year-old Cole last February. Mensah's attorney argues that Cole pulled out a gun first.

When responding Wauwatosa police officers ordered Cole to drop the weapon, it appears he did not. That's when Officer Mensah fired his gun several times at Cole, killing him, according to investigators.

Authorities and businesses alike in the Wauwatosa area are preparing for protests over a decision. Gov. Tony Evers has activated the Wisconsin National Guard to assist local law enforcement.

2:04 p.m. -- Milwaukee County Courthouse closes early

The Milwaukee County Courthouse will close early Wednesday ahead of an expected announcement regarding whether suspended Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah will be charged in the fatal shooting of Alvin Cole earlier this year.

A message posted on the courthouse's website said the courthouse, Safety Building, and Criminal Justice Facility will each be closing to public access at 2 p.m.

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