Wisconsin Unrest Erupts After Decision Not To Charge Officer In Alvin Cole Shooting

Police deployed tear gas at least twice after unrest erupted in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin following a prosecutor's announcement that a Black police officer won't be charged over the killing of a Black teenager.

Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah fatally shot 17-year-old Alvin Cole outside Mayfair Mall on February 2 after police responded to a disturbance.

On Wednesday, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm declined to file charges against Mensah.

In a letter to the Wauwatosa police chief, Chisholm said that Cole had run from officers while carrying a stolen 9mm handgun, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. He said evidence showed Cole had also fired a shot while fleeing and refused commands to drop the weapon.

"In this case, there is sufficient evidence that Officer Mensah had an actual subjective belief that deadly force was necessary and that belief was objectively reasonable," Chisholm wrote.

Kimberley Motley, an attorney for the Cole family, noted that Chisholm "did not say that the shooting was justified," according to The Associated Press. "And that's really important."

Motley also represents the families of the two other people killed by Mensah, who was suspended without pay from the department earlier this year pending an internal review.

After the decision, the city of Wauwatosa issued a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, in effect until October 12, but many ignored it to march in peaceful protest on Wednesday night.

Water bottles thrown at police, a woman yells stop, but too late. Law enforcement dispenses less lethal ammo, including some type of smoke/gas pic.twitter.com/BxUjBAHqtU

— Jeramey Jannene (@compujeramey) October 8, 2020

Individuals in the group are throwing large rocks at law enforcement and buildings in the area of Swan Bl / W North Av. Residents in this area are advised to shelter in their homes, lock their doors, and move away from windows.

— Wauwatosa Police (WI) (@WauwatosaPD) October 8, 2020

Later, police formed a perimeter around Wauwatosa City Hall and declared an unlawful assembly as a large group of protesters confronted the police line.

"Water bottles thrown at police, a woman yells stop, but too late. Law enforcement dispenses less lethal ammo, including some type of smoke/gas," Jeramey Jannene, a reporter at the scene, tweeted.

Wauwatosa Police tweeted that some in the group were "throwing rocks at law enforcement and buildings" in the area of Swan Boulevard and North Avenue and said they used tear gas to disperse them.

Posts on social media showed that some people had vandalized businesses, including a pharmacy and a gym.

Videos posted on Twitter by Julio Rosas, a reporter for conservative outlet townhall.com, showed some people apparently targeting businesses and residences. Police shared the videos, saying the group was an "unlawful assembly."

"Residents in this area are advised to shelter in their homes, lock their doors, and move away from windows," the department tweeted.

Some rioters in Wauwatosa, WI are now smashing windows of homes. People in the crowd tried to stop them from targeting homes. pic.twitter.com/vIiDQDPzTr

— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) October 8, 2020

At another stand off between police and BLM marchers, the crowd inched their way towards the cops, using a car as cover. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. pic.twitter.com/5lQDwfE1BB

— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) October 8, 2020

In another tweet, they added: "While not all members of the group intend harm, everyone must disperse immediately. Police are working to disperse this group."

The police said they deployed tear gas again in the area of North 102nd Street and West Melvina Avenue, at around 11 p.m.

According to the Journal-Sentinel, protesters faced off against police for several minutes, chanting "Arrest the police" and "Fire Mensah."

"The group, which was declared an unlawful assembly numerous times this evening, has continued to disobey lawful orders to disperse," police tweeted. "Tear gas again has been dispersed in the area of N. 102 St. / W. Melvina Av. in an effort to disperse the crowd."

Elsewhere, people looted a Speedway gas station, according to another video shared by Rosas.

The video showed display stands knocked over inside the gas station's convenience store and people leaving with armfuls of goods. The Journal-Sentinel reported the gas station is at North 92nd Street and West Burleigh Streets in Milwaukee.

It was not immediately clear if any arrests were made. The Wauwatosa Police Department has been contacted for additional comment.

Protest
A sign before a march in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 29, 2020. Unrest erupted in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin after the DA declined to charge a Black officer in the shooting of a Black teenager. Stephen Maturen/AFP via Getty Images