Milwaukee: Families of Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson, Jr., march with Milwaukee Alliance demanding ‘Justice for Thee 3’
Milwaukee, WI – On the afternoon of June 6, over 200 people rallied on the corner of North 76th and West Burleigh Streets near the Milwaukee-Wauwatosa border to stand with the family of Alvin Cole, as well as members of the family of Jay Anderson, Jr. Both Cole and Anderson, along with Antonio Gonzales, were all murdered by Joseph Anthony Mensah, a member of the Wauwatosa Police Department (WPD). Despite these three killings, Mensah still works for WPD. The rally was called co-organized by the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (MAARPR).
Alvin Cole was killed by Officer Mensah in early February, shot in the back several times as he fled from police who had their weapons drawn. Alvin was yelling “No gun, no gun!” as he ran. He was 17 years old. The family had remained silent since the incident but have resolved that they can no longer do so upon learning about who the officer was that killed Alvin. Officer Mensah also killed Jay Anderson, Jr., in June 2016 and Antonio Gonzales in July 2015.
“He's a child. How dare Joseph take my son from me. My baby boy,” said Tracy Cole, Alvin’s mother. “I cannot sleep. I cannot function. I cannot think because you took my baby from me.”
Linda Anderson, Jay’s mother, also spoke, demanding justice for her murdered son and for the other two victims of Officer Mensah.
“It's been the worst four years of my life not having my son with me. His anniversary death date is on the 23rd of this month,” Anderson said. “We have got to put [Mensah] in jail. He does not need to be out on the street to take somebody else's life. It's sick! It's disgusting!”
The rallying call is justice for “thee three” – Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson, Jr., and Antonio Gonzales. The Cole family has defined justice as the immediate firing of Officer Mensah from WPD, followed by an arrest, a trial, and a conviction on three counts of murder. They want to make sure that no one else can be hurt by this killer cop. But their cause doesn’t stop there.
The Cole family, vocally led by Alvin’s sister Taleavia, together with MAARPR, is calling for the creation of an all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council, or CPAC, to ensure that these police killings don’t continue to plague communities across Milwaukee.
“We want change. We want laws changed,” Taleavia Cole said. “We want change in who investigates these police shootings, because obviously, these police are working with each other.”
After the rally, Lauryn Cross, a leader with MAARPR, joined the Cole family in leading a march to the site of Alvin’s murder, the parking lot of a local restaurant next to Wauwatosa’s Mayfair Mall. A strong contingent joined the march organized by supporters in the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an African American labor organization. The march was tailed by a long line of dozens of cars. More people joined the march and the car caravan as it proceeded to the end point.
When the march reached the scene of Alvin’s murder, people rallied around for instructions from organizers and the family. The 200 plus people were then told by Taleavia Cole to call WPD and demand that they fire Officer Mensah immediately. The lines were quickly overwhelmed. The Cole family is encouraging people in Milwaukee and all over the country to continue calling WPD at 414-471-8430 to demand that Chief Barry Weber fire Mensah.
The family is meeting with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm on June 11. They intend to host a press conference afterward. The Milwaukee Alliance is planning to organize a rally in support of the family outside the site of the meeting.