The Milwaukee District Attorney said Wednesday that he did not intend to prosecute a Wisconsin police officer who shot a black teenager to death in a shopping mall parking lot in February, sparking new protests over the murder.
Joseph Mensah, a black police officer from the Wauwatosa Police Department, shot teenager Alvin Cole, 17, on February 2 after he refused to put down a firearm and escaped from police following a clash at Mayfair Mall, John Chisholm, the Milwaukee district attorney said Wednesday. He said officers reported that Mr. Cole had pointed the gun at them at one point and that he had fired the gun as he ran away.
A lawyer for Officer Mensah did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Speaking to a crowd of supporters on Wednesday, Mr. Cole’s sister Taleavia Cole called the DA “a fraud” and demanded that Officer Mensah be fired.
“Joseph Mensah shouldn’t work and should never have worked”, he said during a press conference. “The struggle continues. It does not end here. ”
He added: “We have to make sure Joseph is fired immediately. We have to make sure you never get a job as a police officer again. “
Mr. Chisholm’s decision was the third time in five years that prosecutors have chosen not to file a complaint against Officer Mensah for shooting someone to death, and the district attorney’s decision sparked protests Wednesday night, with many demonstrators who ignored 19:00. curfew. Later that night, the police he said a group of protesters threw stones to law enforcement and officers used tear gas to dispel the crowds.
“What started out as a protest has become a major public order disturbance that has caused property damage and threatens to injure people,” police said on Twitter. The department said it “ordered the dispersal” and “did not achieve compliance”.
Just as demonstrations against racism and police violence erupted across the country for months, there have been periodic protests for police killings around Wauwatosa, a city of about 48,000 five miles west of Milwaukee.
The demonstrations were peaceful, with demonstrators marching through the streets of the city center in the pouring rain and chanting the names of other people killed by Officer Mensah. In 2016, he shot a man named Jay Anderson Jr. in his car after he said that Mr. Anderson had taken a gun. In 2015, Officer Mensah and another officer shot dead Antonio Gonzalez, who wielded a sword when confronted by police.
Mr. Chisholm’s decision came the same day that an independent investigator published an 81-page report recommending the firing of Officer Mensah. The investigator, Steven M. Biskupic, said in his report that Officer Mensah had made “inconsistent and misleading” claims about the cases.
In the case of Mr. Cole’s shooting, Mr. Biskupic said that Mr. Cole did not shoot police officers during the chase and accidentally shot himself in the arm.
But when Officer Mensah spoke in a July radio interview about the shooting, he never corrected the host who said “actually the suspect ran out of the mall and shot you,” according to the report.
Keeping Agent Mensah in the force would create “an extraordinary, unwarranted and unnecessary risk” for the department and the city, said Biskupic, a former federal prosecutor.
Michael Levenson contributed to the report.