JAY-Z's Team ROC organizes rally in Wauwatosa demanding justice for Alvin Cole
WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- JAY-Z'S Team ROC, along with Until Freedom and Gathering for Justice, will host a rally at Hart Park in Wauwatosa on Thursday, Oct. 15, to demand justice for Alvin Cole -- a teen shot and killed by Wauwatosa Officer Joseph Mensah back in February.
“It’s clearly a situation that needs to be addressed and that speaks to the larger issues that we face as a nation, with regard to police violence and killing with impunity," said Donia Diaz, director of Team ROC.
At the rally, organizers and speakers -- including family members of the Cole family, State Rep. David Bowen, and members of Until Freedom -- will call for the termination of Mensah for his conduct and Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber for fostering a culture of violent policing after an independent investigator recommended he be fired.
"An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere, and it's to everybody," Rebecca Burrell, founder of Milwaukee-based social justice group Revolution Ready, said.
Other groups, including from around the Milwaukee and Kenosha areas, are helping organize or taking part.
“What happened to Alvin Cole, what happened to his family, what happened to the three in Tosa – Jay Anderson, Antonio Gonzales – it’s a big deal," Burrell continued. "ROC Nation, the Gathering for Justice, is a big deal. So if you bring all those big deals together, our voices can be heard.”
According to the Team ROC news release, participants will also be demanding that the Wauwatosa Police Department implements the mandatory use of body cams throughout the force and end its harassment of the Cole family and their supporters.
And since, several clashes have happened between police and demonstrators in the city with many protesters saying they were targeted.
"There's some ways in which the last week has set us back but there are other ways in which it has also created new relationships, new levels of communication," said Lynne Woehrle, co-creator of Tosa Together. The group was founded four years ago to help make the Wauwatosa more inclusive.
“It’s been very difficult over the last four years to have a real discussion on policing and why it’s problematic in Wauwatosa, so as painful as this has been it really has brought these issues much into the spotlight.”
In part with the rally announcement, former Milwaukee Bucks standout and Wisconsin native Caron Butler has also offered to cover funds that will pay for Cole's headstone and will be working with Team ROC on the donation.
“As someone from the Greater Milwaukee area, I was disappointed to see that Officer Mensah will not face any charges in this case. I’m devastated that Alvin’s family – and all of the people affected by Officer Mensah’s actions – are continuing to wake up in a world in which their loved one is gone and no one is being held responsible. Team ROC and I will continue to do our parts and try to bring some measure of support to Alvin’s family as they continue to seek justice. We hope Governor Evers will step in to help them get the answers they deserve.”
The rally is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday in Hart Park, Park (Chestnut Street Commons near Tosa Skate Park) 7300 Chestnut Street. Those who attend are required to wear face masks.
If you'd like to take action and cannot attend the rally, you're encouraged to sign a petition by clicking HERE.