Empower Wisconsin | Sept 25, 2020
MADISON — Lawmakers representing civil unrest-rattled Wauwatosa are urging liberal Mayor Dennis McBride to make sure the city is secured in advance of a charging decision, expected soon, in the case of a police officer who fatally shot an armed black teen in February.
“This raises the possibility of additional unrest and rioting that would further disrupt the Wauwatosa community and bring our community one step closer to becoming a national stage for riotous behavior like we’ve seen in Kenosha,” wrote state Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and state Rep. Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) in a letter to the mayor.
“Therefore, we are requesting that you immediately reach out to Governor Tony Evers to arrange for National Guard assistance and to President Donald Trump to secure federal law enforcement resources to ensure that the lawlessness we’ve seen in the past doesn’t further disrupt our communities and businesses. We are pleased to assist in coordinating these efforts,” the lawmakers wrote.
Two men — Ronald Bell Jr. and William Lofton — were arrested last month on felony charges of second-degree recklessly endangering safety following a protest that turned violent outside a Wauwatosa residence where Officer Joseph Mensah was staying. Bell also is facing a felony charge of battery to a law enforcement officer.
Wauwatosa Police have said Black Lives Matter protesters “targeted” Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, vandalized his girlfriend’s home and fired a shotgun at the back door.
“Officer Mensah attempted to establish a dialogue with the group but was ultimately physically assaulted outside his home,” the report states, adding that the group was estimated between 60 and 70 people.
Mensah is on paid administrative leave while investigators look into the officer’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole. The black teen allegedly fired a handgun at officers at Mayfair Mall during the Feb. 2 shooting.
Mensah has fatally shot three men in five years; the two previous officer-involved shooting cases have been ruled justified, finding that Mensah acted in self-defense.
Black Lives Matter protesters have made Mensah the face of police brutality and social injustice in suburban Milwaukee, demanding the black police officer be fired and charged with homicide. They’ve received the backing of most on Wauwatosa’s woke city council.
Wauwatosa has been a tinder box of tension as radical activists have led protests that have been anything but “peaceful,” as the lawmakers point out in their letter to McBride.
“Businesses have been disrupted and the livelihoods of their owners threatened, residential neighborhoods have been upended, and many longtime residents of the City of Wauwatosa are left feeling their community is no longer a safe place to live, work, and raise a family,” Kooyenga and Hutton wrote.
And there is growing concern that Wauwatosa could erupt like other cities this week after Kentucky’s attorney general announced Louisville police officers would not face charges in the death of Breonna Taylor. Police fatally shot Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, during a warrant arrest served on her home. Two Louisville police officers were shot in Wednesday night’s violent protests, in which more than 100 people were arrested.
Riots broke out in Portland, Denver and other U.S. cities, as well.
“With the potential for agitators from outside the Wauwatosa community and the state of Wisconsin joining possible unrest, we expect the decision on Officer Mensah to gain national attention,” Kooyenga and Hutton wrote. “In order to prevent Wauwatosa from descending into chaos and capturing the national spotlight as Kenosha did, we respectfully ask that a plan be in place this time to deal with potential unrest and riots.”