Police in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin declared an unlawful assembly and deployed teargas on Wednesday night as hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets and refused to leave after a citywide curfew took effect. Instead, dozens of individuals began to damage buildings in the downtown as well as attack police officers, according to Fox 6 in Milwaukee.
Wauwatosa police said gas was deployed by law enforcement Wednesday night, Oct. 7 after “an unlawful assembly” was declared near North Avenue and Swan Boulevard. More gas was deployed shortly before 11 p.m. near 102nd Street and Melvina Avenue, police said, “in an effort to disperse the crowd.”
Police said individuals were “throwing large rocks at law enforcement and buildings” near North and Swan, advising residents to shelter in their homes.
Shortly after 8:30 p.m., outside Wauwatosa City Hall, protesters were met by police, deputies and National Guard members in riot gear, where the protest was deemed “an unlawful assembly.”
BREAKING: Damage reported along Swan and North. Glass left behind as business owners repair. The sting of tear gas still lingers in the air. @tmj4 pic.twitter.com/K0kc0BNKFU
— Tom Durian (@TMJ4Tom) October 8, 2020
After a summer in which many Democratic mayors and governors gave people space to riot and loot during protests over the death of George Floyd, as we’ve gotten closer to the election many of those same politicians are now taking a tougher tack with those intent on destruction. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, for example, failed to call out the National Guard for days after riots rocked the town of Kenosha in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by local police, but the Guard was already on hand in Wauwatosa before the sun set on Wednesday.
The violent demonstrations in Wauwatosa were expected, sadly, after Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced that no charges would be filed in the death of 17-year old Alvin Cole, who was shot and killed by Wauwatosa officer Joseph Mensah back in February.
“In this case, there is sufficient evidence that Officer Mensah had an actual subjective belief that deadly force was necessary, and that belief was objectively reasonable. I do not believe that the State could disprove self-defense or defense of others in this case, and therefore, could not meet the burden required to charge Officer Mensah.”
“We have a very strong policy of not charging anybody if we don’t believe we can prove it,” Chisholm told FOX6 News.
According to Chisholm, in order for police officers to use deadly force, they must be trying to stop a suspect who is armed with a weapon, has a means of delivering lethal force, and displaying intent to use that force. The D.A. says in the case of Alvin Cole, all three factors came into play.
“Mr. Cole went to Mayfair Mall armed with a 9mm,” said Chisholm. “He had a confrontation with a patron. While he was running from them, he discharged the firearm, and from that point on, he was ordered to surrender the firearm and never did so.”
According to Chisholm, police were called to Mayfair Mall Feb. 2 because of an incident involving a person who had a gun. That person, later identified as Cole, was seen leaving the mall and ran from police when they tried to arrest him. While running, an investigation by the Milwaukee Area Investigative Team led by Milwaukee police revealed Cole fired the gun and went to the ground. He was told by police officers to “disarm” and was eventually shot by Mensah.
Within hours of the D.A.’s announcement hundreds of protesters had gathered in both Milwaukee and Wauwatosa to voice their anger over the lack of charges against Mensah, but the peaceable assembly soon devolved into random acts of violence and property damage, as Townhall.com’s Julio Rosas reported from the scene.
On the ground in Wauwatosa for @townhallcom and some in the BLM crowd are smashing storefront windows. pic.twitter.com/rYwNrlmtMq
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) October 8, 2020
Early Thursday morning business owners and volunteers were busy downtown trying to clean up the damage from the night before.
The minute the curfew lifted, volunteers showed up to begin the cleanup process.
Several volunteers tell me they want people to see the good that’s in Wauwatosa. pic.twitter.com/1owfsCuSCx
— Cassidy Williams (@CassidyWtv) October 8, 2020
The good people of Wauwatosa far outnumber those in the city intent on destruction, but it doesn’t take a large crowd to inflict a lot of harm to business and property owners, as we’ve seen in city after city over the past few months. Sadly, the damage and destruction from the “mostly peaceful” protests will linger long after many of the agitators have moved on to their next stop.