In a Facebook live stream posted by one of Cole’s daughters, an unseen officer responded, “Well, that’s too bad.”
Cole, 48, and her daughters were joining a second night of protests after Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm decided on Wednesday not to charge the officer who shot and killed Alvin Cole, 17, in February after Cole allegedly refused orders to drop a gun. Joseph Mensah, the Black police officer who shot Cole, has not faced charges in two other fatal shootings since joining the Wauwatosa Police Department in 2015.
Tracy Cole’s arrest came during a crackdown after a tense Wednesday night demonstration when police said protesters broke windows and threw rocks, before officers shot tear gas into the crowd. On Thursday, the National Guard joined police to monitor the protests, which were smaller and more peaceful.
Wauwatosa police said that after Tracy Cole’s arrest, first responders took her to the hospital. Kimberly Motley, a lawyer for the Cole family, said Cole hurt her arm and forehead. Cole’s daughters Taleavia and Tristiana Cole were also arrested, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“Tracy & Tristiana Cole just released from the hospital,” Motley said in a tweet just after 11 p.m. “Absolutely outrageous that they were attacked for peacefully protesting! Police refusing to give answer on where Taleavia Cole has been taken.”
Wauwatosa police didn’t immediately respond to a message from The Washington Post late on Thursday.
Alvin Cole was killed Feb. 2 after police responded to a call alleging he had flashed a handgun during an argument at a shopping mall. Police said the teen ran and that his gun fired in the commotion, striking him in the arm. Alvin Cole failed to drop the gun after officers ordered him to, officials said. Then, Mensah shot and killed him.
Chisholm on Wednesday said the evidence didn’t support charging Mensah. “I do not believe that the State could disprove self-defense or defense of others in this case and therefore could not meet the burden required to charge Officer Mensah,” Chisholm wrote in his report.
But a former U.S. attorney hired by the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission also recommended on Wednesday that Mensah be fired, saying the officer “creates an extraordinary, unwarranted and unnecessary risk to the Wauwatosa Police Department,” the Journal Sentinel reported.
“Joseph Mensah should not be working and should have never been working,” Taleavia Cole said at a news conference Wednesday. She added: “We’ve got to make sure Joseph is fired immediately. We’ve got to make sure he don’t get a job ever again as a police officer.”
The decision not to criminally charge Mensah has rocked a community just 45 miles north of Kenosha, Wis., where the police shooting of Jacob Blake sparked massive protests, riots and a fatal shooting in August.
In Wauwatosa, the protests shrank considerably on Thursday, with a little more than two dozen people gathered in the Milwaukee suburb. Tracy Cole gave a speech to the group where she questioned the heavy police and National Guard presence at the rally.
“We ain’t tearing down nothing,” she said, the Journal Sentinel reported. “The state troops are here with full-body gear ready to tear us down. But you know what? It’s just going to make us stronger.”
After her speech, the protesters violated a 7 p.m. curfew, police said in a Facebook post. Officials did not say whether the crowd broke any other laws, but the Wauwatosa Police Department posted an update at 8:35 p.m. saying officers had made “several arrests of members from a crowd violating lawful orders.”
The Cole family was inside their car when police approached them on Thursday night and told them they were violating the curfew. During the ensuing struggle, which was recorded by one of Cole’s daughters, Tracy Cole repeatedly told the officers not to touch her. One officer told her she is under arrest, and a physical struggle ensued.
“You’re going to get Tased,” an unseen officer shouted. “Get on the ground.”
“I’m Alvin Cole’s mother,” she responded.
Officers then arrested her, putting handcuffs on her as she lay in the street, according to the recording. Cole repeatedly told officers she was struggling to breathe and said her arm might have been broken.
When a man began interviewing Tracy Cole about her injuries several minutes after the arrest, she again said she was Alvin Cole’s mother. The man did not respond.
“They don’t care,” another woman said in the recording. “They done killed Alvin.”