The Wisconsin National Guard announced Wednesday that it concluded its mission in Wauwatosa, where unrest occurred over the past week following the local district attorney’s decision not to charge Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah for the Feb. 2 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole at Mayfair Mall.
According to a release Wednesday, the Guard’s mission had actually concluded two days prior, on Monday. The release stated that “The Wisconsin National Guard remains ready and committed to assisting in Wauwatosa or any other community if future needs arise and local authorities request the Guard’s assistance.”
Wisconsin National Guard troops mobilized after local authorities in Wauwatosa requested the Guard’s assistance in advance of a charging decision in the case of an officer-involved shooting that occurred in Wauwatosa in February.
On Oct. 7, District Attorney John Chisholm announced he was not issuing charges against Mensah for killing of Cole, leading to people protesting in the streets. Cole, according to investigators, was wielding a firearm, had fallen to the ground, had accidentally shot himself in the arm but still held onto the gun moments before being killed by Mensah.
“The troops served in a State Active Duty status in a supporting role to local civil authorities to help preserve public safety. The National Guard was not the lead agency in this response, and while the troops remained under the command and control of the National Guard’s chain of command, they served in direct support of local officials and did not operate autonomously,” according to a release from the National Guard.
Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s Adjutant General, said in a statement: “Our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen have repeatedly answered the call in 2020 to help their fellow citizens in times of need, whether that’s been at COVID-19 testing sites, deploying overseas, or helping maintain public safety in Wisconsin’s communities.”
The National Guard also assisted in Kenosha after protests turned destructive following the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer. No charging decision has yet been made for that officer and no official date has been set for when the decision will be issued, although national attention is expected to return to Kenosha when that decision is made.
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