Charging decision expected in fatal police shooting of teen

October 6, 2020 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A prosecutor is expected to announce a decision Wednesday on whether to charge a police officer in the fatal shooting of a Black teenager outside a suburban Milwaukee mall in February.

The death of Alvin Cole, 17, was the third fatal shooting involving Wauwatosa Officer Joseph Mensah in the last five years. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm ruled the previous two shootings were justified self-defense.

Cole was shot by Mensah, who is also Black, outside Mayfair Mall after a disturbance was reported inside the shopping center Feb. 2.

Police said Cole ran from police and fired a handgun first before he was shot by Mensah. Cole’s family disputes the accusation that he fired the gun and has called for Mensah to be fired.


Mensah was suspended with pay by the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission in July and has since appealed that suspension.

The attorney for Cole’s family, Kimberley Motley, said Chisholm planed to share his decision with them Wednesday afternoon, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The Associated Press left a message with Chisholm’s office Tuesday seeking an update on the investigation and a possible announcement.

Cole’s death sparked protests in Wauwatosa throughout the summer, including in and around the mall. The imminent decision has prompted Wauwatosa officials to shut down City Hall and the library for about three days, beginning at noon Wednesday, in anticipation of possible protests.

“We have mutual aid agreements with other departments in the area so we have robust plans in place to deal with any unrest,” said Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride. “We expect unrest and we have plans in place to deal in an appropriate fashion, commensurate with whatever level of protests happen.”

Motley also filed a motion in court Monday against the Wauwatosa Police Department alleging a violation of open records laws. Motley in June requested records for Mensah, including his personnel files, any citizen complaints and investigation reports.

“They have been obstructing us in receiving documents that they are supposed to supply us,” Motley said.

Wauwatosa police did not immediately respond to a message left for comment on Motley’s allegations.

Mensah was cleared for fatally shooting Jay Anderson Jr. in 2016 and Antonio Gonzales in 2015. Mensah shot Gonzales eight times after he refused to drop a sword, according to police.

In the case of Anderson, Mensah approached a parked car where he was sleeping and said he saw a gun in the car and thought Anderson was reaching for it so he shot him six times.