Officer Won't be Charged in Teenager's Death

Investigator finds Black 17-year-old didn't fire at the officer in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2020 4:06 PM CDT
Officer Won't be Charged in Teenager's Death
Alvin Cole, left, in a family photo.   (Taleavia Cole via AP)

Protesters returned to the streets of Wauwatosa after the Milwaukee County district attorney announced that a police officer won't face charges in the death of a Black teenager. Alvin Cole, 17, was shot by Joseph Mensahin, a Black officer, in February while running away in a mall parking lot; police said Cole had a gun and had fired at them after a confrontation at the mall. "There is sufficient evidence that Officer Mensah had an actual subjective belief that deadly force was necessary and that belief was objectively reasonable," the district attorney said. "I do not believe that the state could disprove self-defense or defense of others." Mensah has since been suspended with pay, per the Journal-Sentinel, though he worked for a time since Cole's death. He's shot three people to death over five years and has not faced charges in any of the cases.

Also Wednesday, an independent investigator recommended that Mensah be fired. That report said Mensah made "inconsistent and misleading" statements about the three cases, per the New York Times. Cole did not shoot at officers, the investigator found, though he shot himself in the arm accidentally. In a news conference about her brother's death, Taleavia Cole criticized the district attorney and called for Mensah's firing. "We’ve got to make sure Joseph is fired immediately," she said. "We've to got to make sure he don’t get a job ever again as a police officer." The police chief for the town outside Milwaukee said an internal investigation of the actions of Mensah and the other officers who were there is being conducted. "The department hears the message from the public and recognizes the evolution required for law enforcement agencies in this age," he said. (More police shooting stories.)

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