UPDATE: Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission suspends Officer Mensah, who killed 3 people in 5 years
Updated: 8:30 p.m. on July 15, 2020
WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission has suspended Officer Joseph Mensah following a vote on Wednesday evening, July 15.
BREAKING: Wauwatosa PFC votes to suspend Off. Jospeh Mensah @CBS58— Mark McPherson (@NewsMarkMcP) July 15, 2020
The commission also voted to start an independent investigation into Officer Mensha, which will be lead by former U.S. Attorney Steve Bickupic.
Officer Mensah has been involved in 3 fatal shootings, killing Antionio Gonzalez in 2015, Jay Anderson Jr. in 2016, and Alvin Cole earlier this year.
The commission held a special meeting Wednesday to address a complaint on behalf of the Anderson family.
An attorney for the Anderson family called for Mensah's suspension, saying it wasn't safe to have him on the street. "We kindly ask that the Fire and Police Commission suspend Officer Mensah immediately without pay, and that his service weapon be taken from him because he poses a significant risk to the public," said Kimberley Motely.
But a lawyer for Mensah argued the suspension request should be dismissed. "In the end I’m confident that the commission will come to the same conclusion that every other investigatory body has come to and dismiss this complaint," his lawyer said.
The commission disagreed, and voted unanimously for suspension. They ordered the Police Chief to administer the suspension immediately.
The family of Alvin Cole was happy with the outcome. "I was very pleased," said Alvin Cole's mother, who said she won't stop at a suspension. "I want Joseph convicted, I want him to go to jail," she said.
"This is a step for us, another victory and there’s many more to come, the fight continues," said Taleavia Cole, Alvin's sister.
Published: 4:26 p.m. on July 15, 2020
WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride says, even though none of Officer Joseph Mensah's deadly shootings have been ruled a crime, it’s best for the community to remove him from the force.
“It’s an extraordinary situation for an officer to be involved in three shootings, whether they’re justified or not," McBride said.
McBride said the situation is unusual not just for Wauwatosa, but for departments across the country. The power to fire Mensah resides with the Wauwatosa Police and Fire commission.
But the city’s common council voted yesterday to work as quickly as possible to transition Mensah out of the department. Releasing a statement that "It is imperative, however, for the interests of all parties that the City facilitate the transition of Officer Joseph Mensah from employment by the Wauwatosa Police Department."
McBride signed the document Wednesday. Mensah is off the streets and has been put on administrative duty while the process takes place.
“If he goes back on the street, he could be the target of some violence, and he may not have the confidence of the people he polices anyways, so it could be a difficult, almost untenable situation for him,” McBride said.
The complaint the Police and Fire Commission is fielding relates to the 2016 killing of Jay Anderson Jr. The family filed the complaint in 2020 after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Mayor McBride said Mensah will receive due process and asks the public to be patient.
“If there’s a ruling by September I would be surprised. That would be the most optimistic.”
Mensah’s deadly shooting of Alvin Cole at Mayfair Mall in February, is currently under a separate review by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.