District Attorney Won’t Charge Tosa Police Officer
Chisholm declines. But investigator hired by Wauwatosa recommends officer be fired.
Chisholm announced his decision late Wednesday afternoon.
The 17-year-old Cole was shot and killed by Mensah in the parking lot outside the Cheesecake Factory restaurant at Mayfair Mall on February 2nd. Cole was alleged to be involved in a disturbance at the mall with friends and responding officers were warned that one of the individuals was possibly armed.
Mensah was on the scene for less than 30 seconds and was the only officer to fire a weapon. Mensah said that Cole pointed the weapon at him.
The officer has killed three people in the line of duty, Antonio Gonzales in 2015, Jay Anderson, Jr. in 2016 and Cole in February. In each incident, the District Attorney’s office has investigated the shooting and cleared him of wrongdoing.
Mensah is Black. Anderson and Cole were also Black.
The officer was suspended with pay on July 15th, a decision he has publicly fought. A crowdfunding campaign, with donations from multiple public safety unions, raised over $78,000 for a legal defense fund for the officer.
Protests for racial justice that have run for over 100 days since early May repeatedly targeted Wauwatosa because of Mensah. In August the officer was involved in a protest outside his Wauwatosa home. A weapon was discharged with conflicting stories between Mensah and protesters, including a state representative, on who caused the gun to fire. As of October, he was reported to be living in Greenfield.
Meanwhile, an independent consultant to the Wauwatosa Police & Fire Commission recommended Wednesday that Mensah be fired for “just cause.” The report, authored by former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, says Mensah made inconsistent and misleading statements to the media and could use deadly force a fourth time. Mensah poses “unnecessary risk to the Wauwatosa Police Department and the City of Wauwatosa,” wrote Biskupic.
Biskupic’s report found that Mensah did not improperly use deadly force.
In anticipation of potential unrest following Chisholm’s decision, Wauwatosa officials requested support from the Wisconsin National Guard. Governor Tony Evers granted the request, and told the press Wednesday afternoon that he did not know what Chisholm’s decision was. The Wauwatosa Police Department building was barricaded on Wednesday, and a number of businesses were boarded up. The Wauwatosa School District converted to virtual instruction for the last three days of the week. Mayfair Mall closed early. The Milwaukee County Courthouse, in downtown Milwaukee closed early, as a crowd gathered outside of the adjacent Safety Building awaiting news of Chisholm’s decision.
Recent protests in Milwaukee, with the exception of the incident outside Mensah’s home, have been overwhelmingly peaceful. But overnight protests in Kenosha in August that followed the recorded shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer resulted in substantial property destruction. An Illinois teenager crossed state lines and killed two protesters. He has been charged with homicide.
- Evers Reflects on Year of Pandemic, Protests - Shawn Johnson - Dec 28th, 2020
- The Year of the National Guard - Jenny Peek - Dec 28th, 2020
- Baldwin Questions U.S. Marshall’s Role in Tosa Protests - Isiah Holmes - Dec 19th, 2020
- Op Ed: Vote No on COPS Grant - Markasa Tucker - Dec 18th, 2020
- People’s Revolution Marks 200 Days of Protest - Graham Kilmer - Dec 15th, 2020
- Supervisor Clancy Applauds Activists on 200th Day of Protests - Sup. Ryan Clancy - Dec 14th, 2020
- The “Molotov Cocktail” That Wasn’t - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 23rd, 2020
- City Hall: Police Chief, Alderman Fight Over Use of Canines - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 23rd, 2020
- Will BLM Movement Sway State Voters? - Bridgit Bowden - Oct 20th, 2020
- City Hall: Community Groups Propose Changes - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 19th, 2020
Read more about 2020 Racial Justice Protests here
- ACLU Calls for National Search for Tosa Police Chief - Isiah Holmes - Feb 23rd, 2021
- Waukesha Faith Group Questions Mensah Hiring - Isiah Holmes - Feb 18th, 2021
- Rep. Bowen Statement on One-Year Anniversary of the Killing of Alvin Cole - State Rep. David Bowen - Feb 2nd, 2021
- About Those Phones Taken By Tosa Police - Isiah Holmes - Feb 1st, 2021
- ACLU Blasts Waukesha Sheriff on Mensah Hiring - Isiah Holmes - Jan 27th, 2021
- Mensah Now a Waukesha Sheriff’s Deputy - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 26th, 2021
- Statement from the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office on Joseph Mensah Hiring - Waukesha County Sheriff's Office - Jan 26th, 2021
- Wauwatosa Police Created ‘Protester List’ - Isiah Holmes - Jan 20th, 2021
- Op Ed: How We’ve Handled the Tosa Protests - Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride - Dec 5th, 2020
- Tosa Police Found ‘Significant Training Issues’ in Shooting by Mensah - Isiah Holmes - Dec 1st, 2020
Read more about Case of Officer Joseph Mensah here