Jeramey Jannene

Wauwatosa Cop Joseph Mensah Resigns

Effective November 30th. Controversial officer killed three people in five years. All ruled justified self-defense.

By - Nov 18th, 2020 12:47 pm
Joseph Mensah. Photo from gofundme.

Joseph Mensah. Photo from gofundme.

Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah will resign. Mensah has been suspended with pay since July, a decision which he was suing to overturn.

The controversial cop killed three people over five years in the line of duty: Antonio Gonzales in 2015, Jay Anderson, Jr. in 2016 and Alvin Cole in February. In each incident, the District Attorney’s office has investigated the shooting and ruled it justified self-defense. The most recent decision came in October, which set off days of protest in Wauwatosa.

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 not the first officer to respond to the scene.

Kimberley Motley, attorney for the Cole family, called the resignation long overdue. She said she had questions about where Mensah could work next.

The fight for justice, Motley added, is not over.

Before District Attorney John Chisholm‘s decision came in, a third-party investigator recommended Mensah be terminated. 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,” Biskupic warned.

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.

Mensah’s resignation is effective November 30th. It comes as a separation agreement submitted to the Wauwatosa Common Council. The council voted to accept the agreement Tuesday night.

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, as to who caused the gun to fire. As of October, Mensah was reported to be living in Greenfield.

None of Mensah’s shootings were captured on body cameras because the Wauwatosa Police Department did not have such equipment at the time of the incidents for any officers but motorcycle patrols. As a result of the protests in the city, the city is advancing a plan to equip every officer with a camera.

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Categories: Public Safety

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