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Protesters take over Wauwatosa meeting discussing police reforms

Posted at 5:36 AM, Jun 26, 2020

WAUWATOSA — Protesters took over a Wauwatosa Equity and Inclusion Commission meeting Thursday, demanding accountability from the Wauwatosa Police Department. The meeting was set to discuss several police reforms to recommend to the Common Council.

The protesters demanded that the Wauwatosa Police officials present at the meeting apologize to Tracy Cole, the mother of 17-year-old Alvin Cole.

"The only person who said, my deepest condolence, was the medical examiner," Cole said.

"I can't imagine what it's like to lose a child," said Wauwatosa Police Capt. Luke Vetter in the meeting. "I can't because I've never been in that position. And in my occupation, I've had to deal with it. So there's a very small portion of me that can only just begin to imagine the pain that's involved in that."

"Why the officers did not deal with you as cautiously and as respectfully as they did the night this incident occurred, I cannot answer that now, I cannot. All I can say is that we grieve the loss of any life that we deal with whether that's subjects we're dealing with, victims we come across of the family that has involved and the family that they touched."

Joseph Mensah is under investigation for Cole's shooting death. It happened in a Mayfair Mall parking lot in February. Mensah was also involved in two other fatal shootings. Antonio Gonzales died in 2015 and Jay Anderson died in 2016. Both instances were ruled as justified shootings.

Before the meeting, the protesters marched through Mayfair Mall, forcing stores to close. They called for justice for Cole, Anderson and Gonzales.

The Wauwatosa Equity and Inclusion Commission began in 2019 and is made up of a group of diverse people from the community. On the agenda, the commission was set to discuss a number of police reforms to recommend to the Common Council, including requiring body cameras, banning no-knock warrants and chokeholds, and analyzing and publishing demographic data for every encounter in which an officer checks identification or runs license plate numbers.

Wauwatosa Police officers currently do not wear body cameras, unless they are motorcycle officers.

The Wauwatosa Common Council is scheduled to meet Monday, where it is set to discuss body cameras.

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