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Decision expected in the police murder of Alvin Cole

By Ryan Hamann |
October 7, 2020
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Members of the Cole family speaking at the March on the DNC in Milwaukee on Augu
Members of the Cole family speaking at the March on the DNC in Milwaukee on August 20. (Susan Ruggles)

Milwaukee, WI - On the afternoon of October 7, it is expected that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm will make a decision on the killing of Alvin Cole. The decision comes over eight months after Cole’s murder. Milwaukee and Wauwatosa - the suburb where Cole was shot by Wauwatosa police - have been gripped by protests and actions of varying size and intensity since the resurgence of the movement for Black lives at the end of May.

While the initial local demonstrations largely centered around out-of-state cases like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, the focus quickly shifted when the Cole family went public with their fight on June 4. Then, on June 6, the family marched for the first time alongside members of the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. The Cole family has been at the forefront of the struggle against police crimes in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa ever since.

While Alvin Cole’s case has not received the same coverage as the murders of Floyd and Taylor, or even the attempted murder of Jacob Blake in neighboring Kenosha, people should be aware of the situation. Cole is not the first person to be killed by Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah. In fact, Mensah is a certified serial killer, having murdered two other people since 2015: Antonio Gonzales in July of that year, and Jay Anderson, Jr. in June 2016. Both of those murders were deemed ‘justified uses of force’ by the Milwaukee County DA’s office, headed by Chisholm.

Similar to the situation in Louisville, Kentucky in the lead-up to the Breonna Taylor announcement, business owners are boarding up their stores in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, and Wisconsin National Guard troops are setting up shop at the State Fair Park.

“The armed response on the eve of DA Chisholm’s decision is only proof that grassroots mobilization is what threatens those in power,” said Lauryn Cross, a leader with the Milwaukee Alliance. “We will continue to demand justice for Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson, Antonio Gonzales, Joel Acevedo and all other victims of police crimes without compromise.”