ABC's GMA Avoids Reporting Police Shooting Victim Fired a Gun

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Thursday morning, ABC News correspondent Alex Perez was again doing his part to stoke racial strife as he informed viewers that a police officer in Milwaukee will not be charged for shooting a 17-year-old African American teen, Alvin Cole.

As Good Morning America ran a full report showing a clip in which a protester called the shooting a "murder," at no point were viewers told that Cole had fired a handgun before being killed by Officer Joseph Mensah.

GMA co-anchor Michael Strahan set up the report: "Now, to protests and clashes breaking out overnight near Milwaukee after the district attorney's decision not to file criminal charges against a police officer in the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old black teenager earlier this year. Alex Perez joins us with the latest."

As Perez began by covering the riots that have occurred in the Milwaukee suburbs, he made sure to work in the words "mostly peaceful" as he recalled:

Police firing tear gas at protesters throughout the night after mostly peaceful evening marches turned violent with groups smashing windows out of businesses and even homes. The unrest erupting after the Milwaukee county district attorney's office's decision Wednesday not to file criminal charges against Wisconsin police officer Joseph Mensah in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole.

The ABC reporter showed a clip of the police confrontation with Cole as he vaguely referred to the cops responding to a "disturbance call" from a shopping center. Then came a clip of Cole's sister, Taleavia, speaking at a protest rally:

TALEAVIA COLE, SISTER OF ALVIN COLE: Joseph Mensah was the last to arrive on the scene when he shot Alvin twice, then three more times while he was laying flat on the ground. 

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yeah, that's murder. That's murder.

TALEAVIA COLE: Face down in the back. You cannot justify that.

Perez further undermined Officer Mensah by recalling that he had killed three other suspects previously, again without giving any details on why. Then came a clip of the Cole family attorney, Kimberly Motley: "Nineteen shots fired in five years' time period, three deaths. We believe that Officer Mensah should be charged with a crime, and we are going to continue to fight for that."

By contrast, on the same day's Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox News host Carlson forthrightly informed his viewers of the involvement of a gun by the perpetrator: "Prosecutors said that Cole had fired a shot with a stolen handgun. When he did that, the police officer -- who, by the way, is also black -- returned fire. Based on all the evidence, the judicial process worked its way through and no charges were brought."

It was also not mentioned that the reason police were called was because Cole allegedly brandished his handgun as he confronted another man.

Alex Perez is notably the same ABC News reporter who, back in June, filed a full report on both GMA and World News Tonight about an alleged hate crime against a biracial teen, Althea Bernstein, but never bothered to update viewers after a police investigation suggested that her claim was a hoax.

This episode of Good Morning America was sponsored by Rybelsus. Their contact information is linked.

Relevant transcripts follow:

ABC

Good Morning America

October 8, 2020

7:35 a.m. Eastern

MICHAEL STRAHAN: Now, to protests and clashes breaking out overnight near Milwaukee after the district attorney's decision not to file criminal charges against a police officer in the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old black teenager earlier this year. Alex Perez joins us with the latest. Good morning, Alex.

ALEX PEREZ: Hey, good morning, Michael. Those protests stretched long into the overnight hours, the governor activating the National Guard ahead of the decision. Breaking overnight, the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa in chaos. Police firing tear gas at protesters throughout the night after mostly peaceful evening marches turned violent with groups smashing windows out of businesses and even homes. The unrest erupting after the Milwaukee county district attorney's office's decision Wednesday not to file criminal charges against Wisconsin police officer Joseph Mensah in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole.

CHIEF BARRY WEBER, WAUWATOSA POLICE DEPARTMENT: The administration of justice demands a legal purposeful review of the facts. That was done in this case. Police officer Joseph Mensah's decision to use deadly force on February 2nd was justified and reasonable.

[clip of shooting]

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Get on the ground now! Get on the ground now!

PEREZ: Prosecutors releasing this edited video of the moment officer Joseph Mensah shot Alvin Cole February 2nd outside a local mall when police responded to a disturbance call. ... Cole's family in disbelief.

TALEAVIA COLE, SISTER OF ALVIN COLE: Joseph Mensah was the last to arrive on the scene when he shot Alvin twice, then three more times while he was laying flat on the ground. 

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yeah, that's murder. That's murder.

TALEAVIA COLE: Face down in the back. You cannot justify that.

PEREZ: Officer Mensah has made waves in the past, fatally shooting three men in the last five years, but he was also cleared from criminal charges in the first two incidents. Mensah remains on the force, but the independent investigator who reviewed the case recommended that he be fired. The attorney for the Cole family insisting the fight is far from over.

KIMBERLY MOTLEY, COLE FAMILY ATTORNEY: Nineteen shots fired in five years' time period, three deaths. We believe that Officer Mensah should be charged with a crime, and we are going to continue to fight for that.

PEREZ:  And all this comes after we saw new protests overnight in Minneapolis after the former officer charged with George Floyd's murder posted bail and was released from jail. The National Guard activated there as well.

(...)

Fox News Channel

Tucker Carlson Tonight

October 8, 2020

8:26 p.m.

TUCKER CARLSON: But we do want to give you some details on the rioting that we just showed you video of.. And it happens practically every day in America, but we just want to target this one specific outbreak of it. So prosecutors announced yesterday they were not going to charge a police officer in the shooting death of a 17-year-old African American man called Alvin Cole. 

Prosecutors said that Cole had fired a shot with a stolen handgun. When he did that, the police officer -- who, by the way, is also black -- returned fire. Based on all the evidence, the judicial process worked its way through and no charges were brought. That's the way it's supposed to work, but nobody cares about the facts because, a long time ago, rich partisans like Michelle Obama told them that facts don't matter, and we're only now starting to see the consequences.

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