JAY-Z posted bond and paid the fees for dozens of protesters who were arrested in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin on Thursday (Oct. 8). The protests took place after authorities declined to charge the officer who fatally shot 17-year-old Alvin Cole on February 2. His mother, Tracy Cole, was one of the people who were arrested.
A spokesperson for Team Roc, the social justice arm of his company Roc Nation, told CBS News that the group and the music mogul also paid the court fees for Tracy, her daughters Taleavia, Tristiana and Tahudah, and others who were arrested at the demonstration. The group said the mother was hurt during the arrest by police officers using “excessive force.”
“Our hearts break for the family of Alvin Cole and the Wauwatosa community. Not only did the District Attorney’s Office fail to hold Officer Joseph Mensah accountable for killing Alvin, but the local police also arrested and injured Alvin’s mother Tracy and his sisters as they peacefully protested alongside Jacob Blake’s father,” the executive director for Team Roc, Dania Diaz, said in a statement.
The protests took place after it was revealed that no charges were brought against Joseph Mensah, the officer who shot Cole. The teenager was shot and killed outside a Wauwatosa mall when police responded to a disturbance call. Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said at the time that Cole fired a gun before an officer shot back.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John T. Chisholm’s decision to not charge Mensah sparked the protects. Wauwatosa police said in a news release Friday that about two dozen people were arrested Thursday, and two people required medical attention.
Team Roc reacted to the decision on the group’s Instagram page, writing: “In today’s disappointing ruling, DA Chisolm found Officer Mensah not guilty. Contrary to the decision, Officer Mensah was not justified in killing Alvin Cole. 17-year-old Alvin Cole was kneeling when Mensah shot him twice in his back and fired at him three more times while he was face down on the ground. Alvin Cole was not a threat. Officer Mensah killed Alvin Cole with impunity, his 3rd killing on the force in 5 years.”
JAY-Z and Team Roc are also asking Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting. In July, the rapper took out a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel calling for Mensah’s prosecution. The Grammy winner and Team Roc sent a letter to Chisholm demanding he prosecute Mensah and planned to support the call to action with a billboard.
According to The Source, their effort was blocked by the Lamar Advertising Company, which claimed the message of “Officer Mensah Must Be Held Accountable” “could have an effect on a future action” or be an “issue with criminal implications.”