WAUWATOSA WI – The town and residents of Wauwatosa, WI are preparing for another round of possible violence as the DA prepares to release her decision on charging Officer Joseph Mensah for the shooting death of Alvin Cole, 17, at the Wayfair Mall in early February.
With the announcement expected in the early afternoon, officials announced that both the City Hall and Public Library will close early, and the decision was made to move to virtual instruction for all public schools today.
Local News station TMJ4 tweeted these photos earlier this morning showing National Guard staging in the State Fair Park.
Alvin Cole’s shooting came as officers responded to Wayfair mall after receiving a call for a disturbance inside the mall. Police said Cole had run from responding officers and had fired a handgun first, before being shot by Officer Joseph Mensah.
Cole’s family disputes the assertion that he fired the gun and has since led a call for Mensah to be fired. Complicating the situation, the shooting of Alvin Cole is the 3rd fatal officer-involved shooting by Mensah in the last 5 years.
The previous shootings, of Jay Anderson Jr. in 2016 and Antonio Gonzales in 2015 were ruled self-defense by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.
Fueled by the family and national tensions, Wauwatosa has been the sight of protest throughout the summer, a fact that spurred the decision to shut down City Hall and the Public Library for a 3-day period starting today at Noon.
Kimberly Motley, the attorney for Cole’s family, told the media that Chisholm planned to share his decision with them this afternoon.
In June Motley filed and Open Records request for records relating to Mensah including investigative reports, personnel files, and any citizen complaints. Motely stated “They have been obstructing us in receiving documents that they are supposed to supply us,” as a result Motley filed a motion in court Monday, alleging the Wauwatosa Police Department of violating open records laws.
One protest this summer, led by Black Lives Matter organizers, occurred in front of Officer Mensah’s home. The protesters became enraged after Mensah stepped outside to try and speak with the protesters. In an incident that could have ended much worse, shots were fired into the home from outside, missing Mensah and his children that were inside the house.