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Wauwatosa Police Kept, Shared List Of Floyd, Cole Protesters

Wauwatosa protesters
Scott Olson
Getty Images
Protesters confront police as they demonstrate near the Wauwatosa City Hall on Oct. 9, 2020 in Wauwatosa.

Police in Wauwatosa built a list of protesters who took to the streets last year following the deaths of 17-year-old Alvin Cole and George Floyd, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinelreported Wednesday.

The list includes the names of prominent Milwaukee area activists Frank Nitty, Vaun Mayes and Kahlil Coleman as well as state Reps. David Bown and Jonathan Brostoff.

Attorney Kimberley Motley, who is representing the families of three people who died at the hands of former Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah, also is on the list.

Wauwatosa Police Department spokeswoman Abby Pavlik said investigators used the list as a tool for identifying potential witnesses, victims and suspects. The list also allowed them to follow up with people identified after the fact, Pavlik said.

The department shared the list with other law enforcement agencies “as a matter of situational awareness” because the demonstrations crossed jurisdictional borders, Pavlik said.

Motley said she thinks the department is using the list to target people and it represents another example of police abusing their powers.

Protests were a common occurrence in Wauwatosa last year following Cole's death in February and Floyd's death in May.

Mensah, who is Black, shot and killed Cole as he was fleeing from police following a disturbance at a mall. Mensah shot and killed two other people in the line of duty in 2015 and 2016. He was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in each case and is now a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy.

Floyd died in Minneapolis after police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the Black man's neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of murder in April.

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