Wauwatosa Police Chief Subpoenaed To Testify In Mensah Case

Family Members Of Shooting Victim Ask Judge To Independently File Charges

Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah
This undated photo provided by the Wauwatosa Police Department in Wauwatosa, Wis., shows Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah. In a report released Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020, an independent investigator recommended officials in the Milwaukee suburb fire Mensah, who has shot and killed three people in the last five years. Gary Monreal/Monreal Photography LLC/Wauwatosa Police Department via AP

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber will testify in a hearing against the former officer who killed three people in the line of duty.

The officer, Joseph Mensah, was cleared by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, in all three on-the-job shootings.

Chisholm’s most recent decision in October, to clear Mensah in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole, sparked a week of protests and arrests in Wauwatosa.

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But family members of Jay Anderson, who was shot by Mensah in 2016, are asking a judge to independently file criminal charges against Mensah.

On Thursday, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Glenn Yamahiro said reports submitted by Anderson family attorney Kimberley Motley show the Wauwatosa police interfered nine times with the investigation after the Milwaukee Police Department took over the case.

This includes removing Anderson’s identification from his body after he was killed, conducting interviews with witnesses and recovering digital surveillance from the scene, Yamahiro said.

“It does raise issues. Some interviews took place days after the shooting,” Yamahiro said. “It is inconsistent as to what it means to turn over the investigation of the shooting.”

Anderson was fatally shot six times by Mensah on June 23, 2016. Surveillance video from an elementary school shows him driving into Madison Park in Wauwatosa at 1:37 a.m. and parking his car. About an hour and a half later, Mensah approached the vehicle, tapping on the passenger side window at around 3 a.m.

According to the district attorney’s report, Mensah noticed Anderson had a handgun in the front passenger seat while the men were speaking.

Mensah drew his weapon and ordered Anderson to put his hands up. Anderson raised his hands, but according to the report, “on at least four occasions Mr. Anderson started to lower his right arm while leaning toward the front passenger seat where the gun was located.”

According to the report, Anderson “lunged toward the gun with his right hand,” and Mensah shot him five times in the head and once in the right shoulder.

Motley said Anderson was tired, and his hands were falling forward.

Patrick Knight, Chief Weber’s attorney, argued the chief shouldn’t have to testify because he didn’t conduct, participate or direct any part of the investigation.

But Yamahiro said Weber’s testimony is relevant because Wauwatosa police lieutenants and higher ranking people were investigating the Anderson shooting.

“This level of activity, after the case was supposed to be turned over, does raise concerns,” Yamahiro said.

Weber will testify May 4. He’s retiring from the Wauwatosa Police Department on June 1.

Weber is one of 10 potential witnesses who could be called during the John Doe hearing, which began last month.

Mensah resigned from the Wauwatosa Police Department Nov. 30 after being suspended since the summer following his third fatal shooting in five years. He was hired by the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department in January.

Weber wrote Mensah a letter of recommendation.