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WUWM's Teran Powell reports on race and ethnicity in southeastern Wisconsin.

'A Dysfunctional City': Wauwatosa Rally Calls For Justice For 3 Killed By Mensah, Condemns Officials

Teran Powell
The families of Antonio Gonzalez, Jay Anderson Jr., and Alvin Cole shared the stage at the Rally for Justice thanking people for their support, telling stories of their loved ones, and demanding justice for them all.

The city of Wauwatosa was the backdrop for another protest on Thursday. A few hundred people gathered for the Rally for Justice in Hart Park. They’re continuing calls for justice in the cases of the two men and one teen killed by Officer Joseph Mensah – Antonio Gonzalez, Jay Anderson Jr., and Alvin Cole.

The crowd also condemned Wauwatosa’s Mayor Dennis McBride and Police Chief Barry Weber for how they've responded to protesters over the last week, including the arrests of members of Alvin Cole’s family. Protests erupted following an announcement that Mensah would not be charged with Cole’s death.   

Several organizations were involved with the event, including The People’s Revolution, Voces de la Frontera, Team Roc, and the United Black and Brown Men and Women of Kenosha.

Activist Tamika D. Mallory, co-founder of Until Freedom, was one of the speakers. She says it was the arrest of Cole’s mother, Tracy Cole, that made her team come stand with the family.

Credit Teran Powell
Tamika D. Mallory, the co-founder of Until Freedom, speaks during Thursday's rally.

She says Tracy Cole’s arrest adds insult to injury. She says it’s hard to believe authorities would want to “attack a mother rather than giving her justice.”

"They will do anything but give us justice. They'll try to give us money. They will try to talk us to death. They will lie and say that they're going to give us reform," Mallory says. "But the bottom line is when it comes to hardcore justice, there's always a fight between us and the system."

Brian Anderson, a Wauwatosa resident, also spoke. He started his speech saying, “Wauwatosa, you are what a dysfunctional city looks like.”

He criticized Mayor McBride’s leadership and police who he says “continue to use force, violence, and brutality to terrorize citizens and protesters.”

Credit Teran Powell
The Rally for Justice event on Thursday.

"He has turned over leadership of Wauwatosa to three individuals whose poor consent and advice have thrust this city into chaos and have made this city a laughingstock of this state and region," Anderson says. "Chief of Police Barry Weber, city administrator Jim Archambo, and city attorney Alan Kesner have helped turn Wauwatosa into a police state where badged and uniformed thugs use unrestrained violence to silence those who dare to speak out."

As far as the police presence in the city during nights of protest, McBride says the main priority was always people’s safety and ensuring that there wouldn’t be damage to property. He says there had also been threats of violence that law enforcement wanted to be prepared for. They did not want Wauwatosa to become another Kenosha.

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Teran is WUWM's race & ethnicity reporter.
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