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New lawsuit filed against former Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah, the city, and former police chief

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Posted at 6:50 AM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 19:06:20-04

WAUWATOSA — A new lawsuit names former Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, along with the City of Wauwatosa and former Wauwatosa police chief Barry Weber, alleging the 2016 killing of Jay Anderson Jr. at the hands of then-officer Mensah was intentional and a part of a pattern of failures in policing and leadership by the city.

The lawsuit was filed at 3:07 a.m. Wednesday. The lawyer representing the plaintiff, Jay Anderson's child, says that is the exact time Jay Anderson was killed. The suit alleges that the fatal shooting of Jay Anderson, while in his car in a Wauwatosa park in 2016, was deliberate.

The issue of police overreach is central to this conversation, and there is an extensive history of the public questioning past cases when Mensah decided to use force.

He fatally shot three people in his nearly five years as an officer with the Wauwatosa Police Department.

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Prosecutors did clear him of any criminal wrongdoing in each of the three deaths, ranging from 2015 to 2020, and declined to file charges.

This past July, a Milwaukee County judge ruled there was probable cause for Mensah to be charged in the shooting death of Anderson.

This new suit alleges that the Wauwatosa Police Department has a pattern of embracing and promoting racism that dates back to the 1980s, and that it's failed to accurately assess Officer Mensah's actions after each of the three fatal shootings he was involved in. The shooting deaths range from 2015 to the most recent, the shooting death of Alvin Cole in 2020.

The Wauwatosa Police Department says it has already enacted steps to improve transparency and reduce police violence in the department.

This includes:

  • Training for city employees on implicit bias
  • Banning chokeholds and carotid restraints
  • Posting police policies on the city's website
  • Purchasing body cams

In response to a request for comment from TMJ4 the Wauwatosa Police Department said, because of pending litigation, the department can only confirm that they are aware of the lawsuit.

TMJ4 will provide updates as they become available.

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