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.”
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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.
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.
The group, which was declared an unlawful assembly numerous times this evening, has continued to disobey lawful orders to disperse. Tear gas again has been dispersed in the area of N. 102 St. / W. Melvina Av. in an effort to disperse the crowd.— Wauwatosa Police (WI) (@WauwatosaPD) October 8, 2020
10:43 p.m. -- More MCTS bus routes affected
MCTS tweeted: "Additionally, RedLines buses on Capitol Drive can not operate west of 92nd Street."
Additionally, RedLines buses on Capitol Drive can not operate west of 92nd Street. https://t.co/EIjEdvq1vq— RideMCTS (@RideMCTS) October 8, 2020
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.
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. https://t.co/EIjEdvq1vq— RideMCTS (@RideMCTS) October 8, 2020
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.
What started as a protest has become a large disturbance of public order that has caused property damage, and is threatening to cause injury to persons. The Wauwatosa Police has ordered dispersal, and has not obtained compliance.— Wauwatosa Police (WI) (@WauwatosaPD) October 8, 2020
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.
The crowd was ordered to disperse due to being an unlawful assembly, and has refused. Law enforcement has deployed gas to safely disperse the group.— Wauwatosa Police (WI) (@WauwatosaPD) October 8, 2020
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.
We have reports of windows being broken at businesses along North Av between Wauwatosa Av (N 76 St) and Swan Bl (N 92 St).— Wauwatosa Police (WI) (@WauwatosaPD) October 8, 2020
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.
Wauwatosa Police with support from National Guard and Mutual Aid have established a protective perimeter around Wauwatosa City Hall. An unlawful assembly has been declared and announced. #TosaPDProtects— Wauwatosa Police (WI) (@WauwatosaPD) October 8, 2020
Crowd has moved west on North last Wauwatosa. Law enforcement moves to block the west end of city hall pic.twitter.com/XykePxPYaL— Stephanie Haines (@TMJ4Stephanie) October 8, 2020
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:
Crowd marching west on North about to meet this line of police at Wauwatosa Ave pic.twitter.com/6TuT7qC95a— Stephanie Haines (@TMJ4Stephanie) October 8, 2020
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;
Due to pedestrian activity on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, several routes are experiencing temporary detours and delays, including: GoldLine, BlueLine, Route 12, 14, and 30.— RideMCTS (@RideMCTS) October 7, 2020
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.
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.
Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber released a statement following the district attorney’s decision.— Stephanie Haines (@TMJ4Stephanie) October 7, 2020
He says the incident on Feb. 2 is under internal review and Officer Mensah remains suspended. pic.twitter.com/rXcxLUMMUb
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:
MAYFAIR MALL: Just closes its doors at 4p. This is where #AlvinCole was shot and killed by officer #JosephMensah. It’s Cheesecake Factory has occasionally been the site of walk-in protests since the Feb. shooting.— Tony Atkins (@TonyAtkinsTV) October 7, 2020
Now barricades are being put up to seal entry to the property. pic.twitter.com/1UBBpet7Bd
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.
SPEAKING OUT: Three #Wauwatosa groups issued a statement criticizing the City shutdown by @WauwatosaPD.— Tony Atkins (@TonyAtkinsTV) October 7, 2020
"It is with great disappointment that we see our city being closed down out of fear and distrust of what might happen."
Full Statement: pic.twitter.com/irm89YX760
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.
Crowd waiting outside Milwaukee County Safety Building nearly an hour after Alvin Cole’s family and their attorney went in to meet with the district attorney. pic.twitter.com/7K3T5R36sq— Mary Jo Ola (@MaryJoOlaTV) October 7, 2020
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:
Guard members are getting ready and heading into their trucks. Some vehicles are leaving the Wisconsin State Fair Park pic.twitter.com/Jn0PZj8vkn— Adriana Mendez (@AdrianaMendez) October 7, 2020
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.
Wisconsin National Guard members at The Wisconsin State Fair Park are seen in riot gear this afternoon pic.twitter.com/t27FUEQ78b— Adriana Mendez (@AdrianaMendez) October 7, 2020
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.