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Milwaukee: Families deliver complaints and march against Wauwatosa Police Department

By staff |
June 21, 2020
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Antonio Gonzales's mother.
Antonio Gonzales's mother. (Kyle Charters)
Taleavia Cole, Alvin's sister.
Taleavia Cole, Alvin's sister.

Milwaukee, WI - The families of Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson, Jr., and Antonio Gonzales (“Thee 3”), along with organizers from the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, the Community Task Force MKE, and their supporters, mobilized in the early afternoon of June 18.

Their purpose was to deliver complaints to Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber and to Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride before marching to Mayfair Mall. The event was focused on winning justice for “Thee 3”, all murdered by the same person: Joseph Anthony Mensah of the Wauwatosa Police Department.

Responding to a July 2015 911 call placed by a landlord about a distressed tenant, Mensah arrived and killed Gonzales in his own backyard, shooting him eight times. Less than a year later, in June 2016, Mensah killed Anderson in his car while he was parked and sleeping, shooting him five times in the head and shoulder.

Mensah’s use of force was deemed warranted in both cases. He then shot Cole several times in the back as he fled through a parking lot outside Mayfair Mall in February 2020. These three murders account for all deaths at the hands of Wauwatosa police in at least the last seven years, yet Mensah remains employed with the WPD.

The June 18 action began with attorney Kimberly Motley, who is representing both the Anderson and Cole families, delivering their complaint to Wauwatosa Mayor McBride at City Hall. Everyone then got in their cars and drove over to the Wauwatosa Police Department to deliver the other complaint.

The people were greeted with concrete barricades that had been set up outside the entrance to the building, as if the police were trying to prevent a crowd from swarming their headquarters. The group split, with some filing into the reception area and some remaining on the outside. The family hoped to deliver their complaint directly to Chief Weber.

However, the chief was “not available” when the families and their supporters arrived on site. The people gathered inside the building began chanting, using megaphones to ensure that Weber heard them when they called for his job and the job of the killer cop his department employs.

Shortly after, both groups came together to take the streets with the Gonzales, Anderson, and Cole families. Antonio Gonzales’s mother arrived before the march began and stated, “I have been in the darkness for too long, and I am now stepping into the light.”

The group then marched to Mayfair Mall, chanting and holding signs. The chants included “My house, my sword,” (a reference to the Gonzales killing), “Run, no gun,” (Cole’s words just before Mensah shot and killed him), and “Arrest Joseph Mensah.” At the end of the march Taleavia Cole, Alvin’s sister, addressed the crowd. She thanked them and stated that Milwaukee needs community control of the police through an all-elected civilian police accountability council in order to prevent killer cops like Mensah from killing again.

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