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Jay-Z offers to pay bail bonds for those arrested while protesting police shooting in Wisconsin

Posted at 8:01 AM, Oct 12, 2020

WAUWATOSA, Wisc. — An organization founded by rapper Jay-Z has offered to pay the bail bonds and citation feesfor those who were arrested in Wauwatosa Thursday night while protesting the decision not to charge a local police officer who shot and killed of 17-year-old in February.

Jay-Z is funding the bail bonds and citation fees through Team ROC, the social justice arm of the rapper's entertainment company Roc Nation. The group also funded billboards calling for justice for Jacob Blake in the Kenosha area earlier this year.

Wauwatosa police said 24 people were arrested Thursday night while were protesting the decision to not charge Officer Joseph Mensah in the fatal February shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole. Those arrested included Alvin Cole's mother, Tracy, and Alvin's sisters.

In a statement issued Friday, Jay-Z and Team ROC called for Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to select a special prosecutor to "ensure justice is served."

Team ROC says it also attempted to erect billboards to call for justice for Cole in Wauwatosa, but claims its request was apparently denied by the owner of the billboards, identified by the organization as the Lamar Advertising Company.

Team ROC says it also ran an advertisement in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last summer, calling for Mensha's immediate prosecution and firing. Mensah is currently suspended from the Wauwatosa Police Department but has not been fired.

"Our hearts break for the family of Alvin Cole and the Wauwatosa community," Team ROC Director Dania Dia said in a statement. "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. We will continue to stand with these families and support the peaceful protestors as we collectively fight for the legacies of Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson and Anthony Gonzales, who all died at the hands of Mensah. It's imperative that Governor Evers appoint a special prosecutor to immediately rectify this miscarriage of justice."

This story was originally published by Jackson Danbeck on WTMJ in Milwaukee.