Oct. 11 (UPI) — A curfew continued Saturday in Wauwatosa, Wisc., after three days of unrest over an attorney’s announcement of no charges against an officer in the Feb. 2 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole.
On Saturday, the Wauwatosa Police Department said in a Facebook post that bottles were thrown at officers during protests Friday night in which dozens were arrested. Police released pictures of the contents of a backpack found during an arrest on Friday, which included bottles with flammable fluids, toilet paper and lighter fluid.
Also, on Saturday, a co-founder and publisher of the conservative news outlet the Daily Caller, Neil Patel, criticized the Wauwatosa Police Department, saying that two of his reporters, Shelby Talcott and Richie McGinnis, were beaten and detained by police Thursday while filming Tracy Cole, the mother of Alvin Cole, being arrested.
“They were brutally beaten with clubs for no reason,” Patel said in a statement. “Our reporters have covered more protests and riots than anyone else in America. With the exception of Louisville, and now Wauwatosa, the police have understood that we have a job to do and let us do it.”
Wauwatosa police fired tear gas Friday and arrested 28 people in a crowd of approximately 100 people, including small children, and 20 vehicles, another Facebook post shows.
Two of the arrests were felony arrests, one was a misdemeanor, and 25 were municipal arrests, according to the post. Paramedics evaluated two of the people arrested for minor injuries.
“Law enforcement personnel recovered a handgun, materials to start fires, and a stolen vehicle,” police said.
Police authorized the use of tear gas and munitions, such as pepper balls and paint balls, in self-defense at 8:06 p.m. Friday, after the department said members of a group threw rocks and bottles at law enforcement.
“We can appreciate the anger and frustration that exists among those closely affected by recent events,” the police department post said, adding that all citizens should comply with the curfew.
“Our goal is voluntary compliance,” with the curfew, Police Chief Barry Weber said in a video message.
The unrest began Wednesday after Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced that Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah would face no charges in the incident on February 2 where Cole was fatally shot after police responded to a disturbance call at the Wauwatosa mall, CNN reported.
“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,” Chisholm wrote in a letter Wednesday to the police chief, which includes a link to a YouTube video on the incident.
The City of Wauwatosa issued a curfew between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. shortly after Chisholm’s announcement in preparations for protests and other restrictions, such as banning overnight parking of vehicles.
Tracy Cole was arrested during a crackdown after a tense Wednesday night protest where police said protesters broke windows and threw rocks before officers fired tear gas on the crowd.
Police said first responders took Tracy Cole to the hospital after her arrest with injuries to her forehead and arm, according to her attorney Kimberley Motley. Tracy Cole’s daughters, Teleavia and Tristiana Cole were also taken into custody Thursday night, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
By Thursday, the National Guard had joined police in monitoring the protests.
“We’ve always maintained that Officer Joseph Mensah should be held accountable for his actions, and unfortunately today, we disagree with Chisholm’s assessment of what he saw,” Motley told CNN.
Motley said she represents Cole’s family and the families of two other people killed by Mensah.
“He is still getting paid. He’s suspended with pay, and he needs to be removed as an officer immediately,” she said Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, a former U.S. attorney hired by the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission as an independent investigator found that Mensah was not fit for duty and recommended his termination in a report that Motley shared with CNN.
“The risk and ensuing consequences to the Wauwatosa Police Department and the City of Wauwatosa of a fourth shooting by this officer are too great for this commission to find otherwise,” Steven Biskupic wrote in the report.