After 5 nights of protests and curfew lifted, Wauwatosa officials discuss next steps
WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- After five straight nights of protests in Wauwatosa, things are finally beginning to quiet down. The citywide curfew expired at 6 a.m. Monday morning, Oct. 12.
Wauwatosa officials held a news conference Monday morning. The topics ranged from use of force by officers during the protests, to what this means for the future of Mensah with the department.
Both the mayor and police chief explained the process that's currently underway. They also shared their reaction to the independent investigator's report saying Mensah should be fired.
WATCH IT HERE
"Our primary goal is, was and always has been to make sure no one got hurt," says Mayor Dennis McBride. "Fortunately, with the cooperation of the community and with the good work of the police department, we accomplished that."
After five nights of protests in Wauwatosa, the curfew has been lifted. There were no injuries, but police used tear gas to disperse protesters Friday night.
They said it was because protesters threw rocks and bottles at officers.
"If people are going to throw things at police officers, we're going to respond appropriately," says Chief Weber. "The fact remains that if somebody is going to throw rocks and bottles at police officers, which did happen, we're going to respond with force to make sure that doesn't continue."
Chief Weber says they are reviewing police reports, but right now it looks like there were 64 to 65 arrests made during the four days of protests.
This includes the Cole family on Thursday night.
The majority of the protesters arrested were for breaking the curfew.
The mayor adds there were some people arrested for felonies.
"There were a number of felonies," says Mayor McBride. "One person arrested with Molotov cocktails in his backpack."
Protesters have taken to the streets since Wednesday, Oct. 7, following the decision not to charge Wauwatosa Officer Joseph Mensah in the shooting death of Alvin Cole.
Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride says each night has become more peaceful than the night before.
“I wanted to compliment the protesters and I want to compliment the police force, it was a much better night I hope," Mayor McBride said. “If we have another peaceful night, "I'm sure we are going to let it lapse and we will go forward and hope everything approaches back to what is normal.”
The mayor and the police chief also addressed Mensah's employment status.
They say that's now out of their hands. It's up to the Fire and Police Commission. An investigator for the commission last week recommended Mensah be fired.
"There is a process in place," says Chief Weber. "Joseph Mensah has been cleared by the district attorney in three different cases. There has been no reason up to this point, none that I can see, that he should be removed from the force. He has acted legally and lawfully."
The mayor says he will not pressure the Fire and Police Commission to meet and make a decision. Both have said they will wait and see what their final decision is.
According to the city's website, the commission is scheduled to meet on Oct. 21.