A police officer in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, will not face charges in the fatal shooting of a Black teen in February, the district attorney in Milwaukee County announced Wednesday. Alvin Cole, 17, was fatally shot by Officer Joseph Mensah, who is also Black.
“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,” District Attorney John Chisholm said in his 14-page review of the incident. “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.”
Cole was shot outside of the Mayfair Mall on February 2 after police responded to a report of a man who was seen with a gun. According to Chisholm’s report, Officer Mensah arrived at the scene, began the pursuit of two subjects, and fired several shots at Cole after he aimed a handgun at him. Chisholm said evidence showed that Cole was in possession of a stolen 9mm handgun.
Mensah, who was placed on leave, has been involved in two other fatal shootings in five years. His actions were determined to be justified in those cases, CBS affiliate WDJT reported.
Before the decision, Governor Tony Evers activated the National Guard in an effort to “support local law enforcement authorities.” After, protesters marched the streets of Milwaukee, demanding justice for the teen and his family.
The Wauwatosa Common Council on Tuesday approved a five-year $760,000 contract to provide police officers with body cameras, WDJT reported. Mensah and the other officers at the scene of the fatal shooting did not have body cameras.
After the announcement, Cole’s family stated that the district attorney “did not justify” the fatal shooting. His sister, Taleavia, demanded more accountability from the district attorney, citing Mensah’s previous shooting incidents.
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