Who was Alvin Cole, 17, and why was he shot by Wauwatosa cop Joseph Mensah?

Who was Alvin Cole, 17, and why was he shot by Wauwatosa cop Joseph Mensah?

10/08/2020

ALVIN Cole was a 17-year-old black teenager who was shot and killed by Wisconsin officer Joseph Mensah.

Officials recently revealed that Mensah will not be charged with Cole's death, prompting citywide protests from Black Lives Matter advocates.

Who was Alvin Cole?

Alvin Cole was a 17-year-old black teenager who was shot dead by a police officer in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, on February 2.

Authorities were responding to a disturbance call outside a mall when the incident occured.

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said Cole fired initially before cops returned shots.

Why was he shot?

Cole entered the Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa on the evening on February 2.

An argument broke out between a group Cole was with and a male passer by.

Cole, who was carrying a fanny pack, flashed a gun at the man, who then attempted to wrangle it from him.

At roughly the same time, 911 calls started coming in.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said in a statement released October 7 that Cole began to flee from police when they arrived.

Police can be heard yelling, "Drop the gun," and, "Get on the (expletive) ground," in a squad car video released by authorities.

Chisholm said that Cole shot himself in the arm while he ran.

Shortly after, officer Joseph Mensah, who is also black, opened fire on the teenager.

The gun that was found at the scene was reported stolen in October 2019.

What will happen to officer Joseph Mensah?

The prosecutor reviewing Cole's case revealed on October 7 that Mensah will not be charged for his death.

District Attorney Chisholm wrote in a letter to the Wauwatosa police chief that there was "sufficient evidence" that showed that Mensah's use of deadly force was necessary and that "that belief was objectively reasonable."

"[Cole] was encountered by Wauwatosa police officers in the parking lot of Mayfair Mall, ran from the police, discharged the firearm and was ordered to surrender the weapon," Chisholm wrote.

"He did not surrender the weapon and was fired upon by Officer Mensah causing his death."

"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," he continued.

"With this I conclude my criminal review of the matter," Chisholm wrote about his decision.

"We've always maintained that Officer Joseph Mensah should be held accountable for his actions, and unfortunately today, we disagree with Chisholm's assessment of what he saw," Kim Motley, an attorney for Cole's family, told reporters on October 7.

What did people say in response to his shooting?

Black Lives Matter demonstrators rallied together to protest Chisholm's decision.

Protesters surrounded the Milwaukee County Public Safety Building while Cole's family and attorney met with Chisholm.

One video shows demonstrators throwing what appear to be bricks at business windows.

In another video, protesters are seen hurling items at homes.

Glass is heard cracking as a window shatters after demonstrators throw objects at the houses.

Tony Evers, the governor of Wisconsin, announced that he had activated the National Guard in response to the demonstrations.

The city of Wauwatosa also encated a 7pm-6am curfew until October 12.

Cole was the third person shot by Mensah in his line of duty since 2015, according to the The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The two other shootings were also found to be in self-defense and Mensah was not charged for either.

Former US Attorney Steven Biskupic wrote that keeping Mensah on the force "creates an extraordinary, unwarranted and unnecessary risk to the Wauwatosa Police Department and the City of Wauwatosa."

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