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VIDEO: Rioters Rampage Through Wauwatosa After Cop Has Too Many Justified Shootings

Wauwatosa, WI – Rioters smashed windows in business and residential homes during a riot in Wauwatosa after the district attorney announced he would not be bringing charges against Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah for the February shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole.

Wisconsin National Guard troops had already been staged in the area in anticipation of civil unrest after Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm made his announcement late Wednesday afternoon.

Videos posted to social media showed hundreds of protesters gathered before their assault on the city.

Less than an hour after it was revealed that there would be no charges brought against Officer Mensah, protesters swarmed Interstate 94 in Milwaukee and brought that road to a standstill.

Police in riot gear chased after the protesters but it wasn’t long before their focus shifted to the large group marching in the streets toward and in Wauwatosa.

At about 9 p.m., long past the 7 p.m. emergency curfew in the city, Wauwatosa police announced they had established a perimeter around Wauwatosa City Hall with the National Guardsmen and had declared an “unlawful assembly,” WTMJ reported.

Officials tweeted out warnings to residents “to shelter in their homes, lock their doors, and move away from windows,” WTMJ reported.

Cell phone videos posted to social media showed the protesters smashing windows of businesses and public buildings as they marched through Wauwatosa.

Then more videos showed rioters marching down residential streets, trespassing on private property, and vandalizing homes.

Police deployed more tear gas shortly before 11 p.m. “in an effort to disperse the crowd,” WTMJ reported.

The unrest in Wauwatosa began after the officer-involved shooting of Cole in February.

Activists learned that it was the third shooting in five years for Officer Mensah and demanded charges be brought against him and that he be fired.

However, Officer Mensah had previously been cleared and the two earlier shootings were ruled justified.

The Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission hired former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic to conduct an independent investigation into Officer Mensah, who was previously cleared in the 2016 justified shooting of Jay Anderson Jr., after Anderson’s family filed a complaint calling for the officer’s termination.

Although Biskupic’s report to the police and fire commission did not lead to criminal charges for Officer Mensah, he did recommend that the officer be terminated, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The former prosecutor said in his report that permitting Officer Mensah to remain an officer “creates an extraordinary, unwarranted and unnecessary risk to the Wauwatosa Police Department and the City of Wauwatosa.”

He claimed that Officer Mensah had made “inconsistent and misleading” public statements that would compromise his ability to testify about the shootings in court, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Activists were outraged that Officer Mensah wasn’t immediately charged and pointed out that, thus far, the district attorney hasn’t actually used the word “justified” to describe the Cole shooting.

However, a justified shooting is a shooting where there is insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.

“This case is reviewed as a homicide and I apply the same standard of review to this case as I would to any homicide,” Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said in a statement on Oct. 7. “The standard is to determine in our professional judgment if there is sufficient admissible evidence to convince the trier of fact beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Mensah killed Alvin Cole unlawfully.”

“Under Wisconsin law, any time self-defense or defense of others is at issue, and it is clearly at issue here, I have an obligation to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of force was not objectively reasonable and, that at the time the force was used, Officer Mensah did not subjectively believe he faced a threat of death or great bodily harm or his belief was not objectively reasonable from the perspective of a trained police officer,” Chisholm explained.

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said that the police department agreed with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office’s decision and called their investigation a “legal and purposeful review of the facts” in a statement he made to the media immediately following the announcement.

Chief Weber said there was an ongoing internal review of the Feb. 2 incident and said he did not know when it would be completed.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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