No charges in fatal police shooting of teen in Wauwatosa

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 5:05 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 5:51 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV/AP) - A Black Wisconsin police officer who fatally shot a Black teenager outside a suburban Milwaukee mall in February will not be charged in his death.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that Wauwatosa Officer Joseph Mensah was justified in shooting 17-year-old Alvin Cole outside of Mayfair Mall after a disturbance was reported inside the building on Feb. 2. Authorities say Cole ran from the police and fired first before he was shot.

The Milwaukee Co. District Attorney’s Office determined Mensah either believed his life was in danger or he was at risk of great bodily harm when he shot Cole on February 2 and that belief was “objectively reasonable.”

“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,” District Attorny John Chisholm wrote.

Cole’s family disputes that he fired the gun and has called for Mensah to be fired. An independent investigator also recommended officials fire Mensah. Former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic stated the risk of a fourth shooting was too high.

In its statement following the DA’s announcement the Wauwatosa Police Dept. said the officer remains on administrative suspension pending Police and Fire Commission proceedings. The department is also conducting its own review of the shooting.

Cole is the third person Mensah fatally shot in the last five years. Milwaukee County’s top prosecutor ruled that the previous two shootings were justified self-defense.

Prior to the announcement, Gov. Tony Evers authorized the National Guard to head to Wauwatosa, following a request from local authorities, The Guard did not say how many soldiers would be going for operational security reasons.

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