No charges filed against Joseph Mensah in killing of Jay Anderson Jr.
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Special prosecutors will not bring charges against Joseph Mensah in the killing of Jay Anderson Jr. They say there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the shooting was not lawful.
Mensah has said Jay Anderson Jr. was reaching for a gun when he shot and killed him after finding Anderson sleeping in a park after hours in June 2016.
Anderson was one of three people Mensah killed during a five-year stint at the Wauwatosa Police Department.
Mensah resigned from the Wauwatosa department in November 2020 and joined the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department.
Local prosecutors initially declined to charge Mensah in any of the deaths.
The Anderson family attorney filed a rarely used legal effort in order to get a judge to appoint special prosecutors to reexamine the case and bring charges against Mensah.
Ultimately, the prosecutors concluded they could not be able to reach a guilty verdict if they presented charges.
"We cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mensah’s fear that Anderson was about to shoot him was unreasonable," the prosecutors wrote in a 25-page report of their decision. "Nor can we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mensah’s use of deadly force to save himself from death or great bodily harm was unreasonable."
Judge Glenn Yamahiro said the case was complex but accepted the prosecutors' decision.
"I continue to believe that this entire tragedy was avoidable," Judge Yamahiro said. "That's a separate and completely distinct question from what is provable beyond a reasonable doubt.
The special prosecutors said the key factors in their determination were the dashcam video of the incident and the conclusions reached by a focus group intended to simulate a jury.
"It was overwhelming, among the whole collection of people that saw this, that if they had been in Mensah's position, or if any reasonable person had been in Mensah's position, they would've been afraid that they were about to be shot," said Scott Hansen, one of the special prosecutors.
The Anderson family and their attorney expressed disappointment and dismay.
"We think there was more than enough evidence to support probable cause to charge Mensah with a homicide," attorney Kim Motley told reporters after the hearing.
Motley and the family said they will continue to pursue a civil lawsuit in federal court.
"We're not finished," Jay Anderson's mother, Linda, said. "I'm not finished fighting. I want Joseph Mensah in jail. So we're going to continue to fight."