Mensah, Wauwatosa sued; Alvin Cole family disputes shooting claims

The family of Alvin Cole, the teen shot and killed by Joseph Mensah, has brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against the former police officer and the city of Wauwatosa.

More than two years after the 17-year-old took his last breath, Cole's family continues to look for what they see as justice.

"The bottom line, the family is asking for accountability," said Attorney Kimberley Motley. 

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

In February 2020, police were called to Mayfair Mall for a disturbance. Police dashcam video shows Cole running. At the time, Mensah said Cole fired shots toward him, and he fired back.

The new federal civil lawsuit disputes that. It claims Cole accidentally shot himself in the arm, fell to the ground and dropped his gun. They say, 10 seconds later, Mensah shot Cole five times – killing him.

Fatal officer-involved shooting outside Mayfair Mall (February 2020)

The shooting sparked protests and rallies. Motley alleges Mensah is one of the most dangerous law enforcement officers in the U.S. 

"Joseph Mensah is sort of, statistically, an anomaly. He is one of the deadliest officers in the United States, we believe," said Motley.

Motley said the number of shootings, combined with what she says is a history of racism in Wauwatosa and within the police department, led to the shooting.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

"We think it’s toxic and that there’s a lot of deliberate indifference," she said.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office declined to file criminal charges against Mensah in each of the three fatal shootings that happened while he was on duty.

Motley represents the family of all three people killed – Cole, Jay Anderson Jr. and Antonio Gonzales – and has brought federal lawsuits in each case.

Joseph Mensah; Antonio Gonzales, Jay Anderson Jr., Alvin Cole

Mensah is no longer with the Wauwatosa Police Department; he is now a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy.

In a statement to FOX6 News, Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride said:

"The incident on which this lawsuit is based was traumatic. Nevertheless, based on all the facts of the case, which have been stated in numerous investigations, and on the fact that we've received favorable outcomes in related civil lawsuits, we believe this case will be decided for the city."