Slain Black man's family vows legal fight against police

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The family of a Black teen killed by a Wisconsin police officer is vowing to keep fighting after a prosecutor declined to file charges in the case
Slain Black man's family vows legal fight against police

MADISON, Wis. -- An attorney for the family of a Black teen killed by a suburban Milwaukee police officer vowed Thursday to keep fighting and working to prove racism pervades the officer's department, after a prosecutor declined to file charges in the case.

Attorney Kimberley Motley said she plans to file a federal lawsuit against Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah in 17-year-old Alvin Cole's death. Motley sued in state court on Tuesday seeking department documents that she believes will show Mensah's supervisors are racist and that officers have racially profiled Black drivers for years. She also wants Mensah and Chief Barry Weber fired.

Meanwhile, Cole's sister has demanded the resignation of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm after he declined to file charges against Mensah. Cole is the third person Mensah has killed since he joined the Wauwatosa department in early 2015. He has been cleared of wrongdoing each time.

"From the family's perspective, we just want justice," Motley said. "We want Officer Mensah to be held accountable."

Mensah's attorney, Jonathan Cermele, hasn't returned messages seeking comment.

Mensah, who is Black, shot Cole during a chase outside a Wauwatosa mall in February. According to investigators' reports, Cole had a gun and fired it; Chisholm said it appeared he shot himself in the arm. Officers said Cole refused commands to drop the weapon, prompting Mensah to fire.

Mensah shot and killed Antonio Gonzales in 2015 after police said Gonzales refused to drop a sword. A year later Mensah shot Jay Anderson Jr. In that case, Mensah found Anderson in a car parked in a park after hours. Mensah said he saw a gun on the passenger seat and thought Anderson was reaching for it, so he shot him. Mensah wasn't charged in either shooting. Anderson was Black. Gonzales was Hispanic.

The Cole shooting sparked protests all summer in Wauwatosa, a city of 48,000 just west of…
TODD RICHMOND Associated Press
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