WAUWATOSA, Wis. - Wauwatosa City Hall and the Wauwatosa Public Library will close early Wednesday, Oct. 7, and the Wauwatosa School District is moving to virtual instruction ahead of an expected announcement from the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office on whether to file criminal charges against Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, who has killed three people in five years, the first two shootings ruled justified.
Mensah is on administrative leave, with pay, stemming from the February officer-involved shooting death of 17-year-old Alvin Cole outside Mayfair Mall. The attorney for Cole's family said she'll be meeting with the district attorney Wednesday afternoon. The case has sparked protests over the summer, and many believe the decision, whatever it may be, will lead to more.
FOX6's cameras captured a handful of boarded businesses in the area near 65th Street and North Avenue on the eve of the expected decision.
"I think no matter what the decision that D.A. Chisholm makes tomorrow, no one wins," said Kimberley Motley, attorney for Cole's family.
Wauwatosa police said Cole ran from officers and fired a handgun first before he was shot by Mensah on Feb. 2. However, attorneys for Cole's family say they have video evidence and witness statements that prove that is not true. The Cole family acknowledges Cole had a gun but says he didn’t point it at Mensah and it was not loaded, according to their attorney.
Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah
"From our perspective, he never pointed his weapon at Officer Mensah," said Motley. "There was no bullets in it. There was no magazine in it. Who points an emp/ty gun? We believe Officer Mensah shooting and killing Alvin Cole was not justified."
On July 15, the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission suspended Mensah based on a complaint by the family of Jay Anderson, fatally shot by Mensah in 2016, after attorneys argued the case violated law enforcement code, which should result in Mensah's firing. Mensah has since appealed that suspension.
Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride
“We just want to make sure people remain peaceful,” said Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride about the potential for protests following Wednesday's decision. “We expect unrest, and we have plans in place to deal in an appropriate fashion, commensurate with whatever level of protests happen.”
Municipal court has been canceled Wednesday, and the Wauwatosa School District has shifted to virtual instruction for the remainder of the week. Wauwatosa City Hall will close at noon Wednesday. FOX6 News has learned some businesses at Mayfair Mall will close early, as well, including Cheesecake Factory, which will shut down at 3 p.m.
Mayor McBride said he's been in contact with Governor Tony Evers' office, neighboring police departments and the Wauwatosa Police Department.
"They are fully prepared to deal with any level of unrest that may occur," said McBride.
Other fatal shooting incidents involving Mensah
Including the Cole shooting, Mensah has been involved in three fatal shootings in five years.
The first happened on July 16, 2015. Antonio Gonzalez, 29, was fatally shot after police said he refused to drop a sword. Mensah and a second officer were cleared in this case later in the year.
Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson, Antonio Gonzalez
Less than a year after that shooting, on June 23, 2016, Jay Anderson was fatally shot in Madison Park in Wauwatosa by Mensah. Police said Anderson had a gun in his possession in the park and Mensah feared for his safety. About six months later, the district attorney announced no charges would be filed against Mensah in this case.