Wauwatosa, Wisconsin cop won’t face charges in deadly shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole


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Milwaukee County District Attorney John T. Chisholm told Cole’s family on Wednesday that the officer, Joseph Mensah, will not face criminal charges for the shooting, Kim Motley, the family’s attorney told CNN.

“We’ve always maintained that officer Joseph Mensa should be held accountable for his actions, and unfortunately today, we disagree with Chisholm’s assessment of what he saw,” the attorney told reporters on Wednesday.

Cole was shot and killed outside a Wauwatosa mall on February 2 when police responded to a disturbance call, police said. Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber told reporters at the time that Cole fired a gun before an officer returned fire.

Weber called Cole’s death a tragedy in a statement on Wednesday and said the department “sympathizes with his family as they, and others, continue to grieve the loss of their loved one.”

“The administration of justice demands a legal and purposeful review of the facts. That was done in this case,” Weber said. “Police officers are put into difficult situations that require a decision to be made in fractions of seconds.”

Motley said the family learned about the decision in a meeting with Chisholm on Wednesday and said the district attorney is not stating Cole’s shooting was justified.

Family want officer fired

Motley said she represents Cole’s family and the families of two other people who she said were killed by Mensah. The families are calling for Mensah to be fired and charged in all three cases, Motley said.

All three families have filed formal complaints against Mensah for incidents that took place in Wauwatosa, Motley said.

At a press conference Wednesday, Motley said Mensah should have never been a police officer.
“He is still getting paid. He’s suspended with pay, and he needs to be removed as an officer immediately,” she said. “We do not have to wait for a hearing. It can happen today, right now.”

Mensah has been on administrative suspension pending a decision by the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission, Weber said.

CNN has reached out to the district’s attorney office and Mensah’s attorney for additional comment.

Earlier on Wednesday, a former US attorney hired as an independent investigator by the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission determined that Mensah is not fit for duty and recommended his termination. Motley shared the investigator’s report with CNN.

Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah

“The risk and ensuing consequences to the Wauwatosa Police Department and the City of Wauwatosa of a fourth shooting by this Officer are too great for this Commission to find otherwise,” Steven Biskupic wrote in his report.

City officials have issued a curfew in Wauwatosa in anticipation of possible protests following the announcement in Cole’s case. The curfew will last between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. starting Wednesday and will end Monday morning.

“It is very important to note that the City of Wauwatosa recognizes the importance of peaceful protests and their role in moving society forward. We must balance this with our charge to ensure that our community, lives, and property are protected,” the city said in a statement.

Protesters were already gathering in downtown Milwaukee Wednesday, waiting to hear whether Mensah will face criminal charges. Wauwatosa is a suburb of Milwaukee located west of the city.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has deployed the Wisconsin National Guard to Wauwatosa after “officials there requested the Guard’s assistance to help ensure public safety,” according to a statement from the Wisconsin National Guard.

The Wauwatosa Police Department tweeted Wednesday that police are ready for any protests that may occur within the city.

“Our police and other city services are fully prepared to protect the lives and property of all residents and businesses. Please respect the rights of all citizens, and do your part to maintain safety and order in our community,” the agency tweeted.

CNN’s Raja Razek contributed to this report.

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