Rapper Jay-Z has placed a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel demanding that Wisconsin Police officer Joseph Mensah is fired and charged for his reported involvement in the shooting and death of three men in five years.
Joseph Mensah, of Wauwatosa (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is currently under review by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm for an incident involving the death of Alvin Cole, 17, but is not being investigated for the deaths of Antonio Gonzales, 29, and Jay Anderson, 25, during police stops in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
The three separate incidents occurred “between 2015 and 2020. [Mensah] is under review for the most recent killing, of Cole, but the earlier two were deemed self-defense and he did not face charges,” the Guardian said.
“Mensah fired 8 times to kill Gonzales in 2015, unloaded 6 shots to kill Anderson in 2016 and shot Cole 5 times in February after he shouted “no gun.” He allegedly failed to administer CPR to the victims in each case, as well, and failed to engage his dash camera in 2 of the incidents,” TMZ reported.
The Milwaukee Journal has identified Mensah as Black. The Journal says Mensah was hired in 2015 and was 25 at the time of the first shooting [July 16.]
Jay-Z and his campaign team for social justice, Team Roc, posted the statement on Twitter on July 2.
“@DAJohnChisholm, how many more people must die at the hands of Officer Joseph Mensah? Mensah has recklessly shot and killed THREE men of color, inexplicably failed to enable his dash camera, and failed to render medical aid during these tragic instances.” they wrote.
The statement reads, in part, “how many more people must die at the hands of Officer Joseph Mensah? Since joining the Wauwatosa Police Department in 2015, Mensah has shot and killed THREE men of color – Alvin Cole, Antonio Gonzales and Jay Anderson – with an excessive total of NINETEEN fired shots. His actions demonstrate an utter disregard for the lives of these young men.”
The statement goes on to demand body cameras on officers, and for Mensah to be fired and prosecuted.
Here’s what you need to know.
Dashcam Footage was Released of the Shootings
The dashcam footage from the shooting death of Jay Anderson has been shared by police. The video seen above and also here shows Mensah “shooting into Anderson’s parked car in a Wauwatosa park,” according to the Milwaukee Journal.
Anderson was sleeping in his car at 3 a.m., but when Mensah approached the vehicle, he said he saw Anderson reaching for a gun. His family disputes that Anderson lunged for the legally owned gun.
After firing into Anderson’s car, Mensah remotely activated his squad’s dashboard camera. The camera automatically went back and saved the prior 28 seconds, but that recording did not include audio.
Wauwatosa police also released portions of a dashcam video from the Cole shooting. It showed a police chase and shots fired. Police said Cole fired first, with a stolen gun, before Mensah fired.
Officers had been called to the mall by security for a disturbance involving 10 people, one of whom reportedly had a gun. Officers recovered a 9mm gun they said Cole used, as well as an extended magazine he had in a fanny pack.
In the case of the Gonzales shooting, it was determined that Mensah and another officer Jeffrey Newman “both shot Gonzales, who was wielding a sword and refused to drop it … according to police.”
Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry M. Weber Addressed the Shootings
A statement was released on the official City of Wauwatosa official statement website on June 26 regarding the shootings, which confirmed police had received an official complaint against Joseph Mensah “in the shooting of Jay Anderson Jr.” The statement read, in part:
City staff is recommending that the Police and Fire Commission hire a third party for a thorough investigation of this complaint.
The first meeting of the Police and Fire Commission will be in open session on July 15 at 4 pm. During this meeting, they will consider hiring a third party investigator and define the scope of the investigation.
If hired, the investigator would conduct a thorough investigation and present findings during another meeting of the Police and Fire Commission. The Police and Fire Commission would have time to consider the report and define the scope of the investigation.
Mensah was the subject of a previous complaint in 2012, while with the UW-Madison Police Department. A student said he “unnecessarily drew his Taser when officers responded to break up fights at a fraternity’s dance party.” The complaint was not upheld.
Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry M. Weber addressed Mensah’s conduct through a series of posts on June 7 on the official Wauwatosa Police Twitter page. The statement said,
The Wauwatosa Police Department values human life and safety above all else. All officers receive ongoing extensive training regarding the use of deadly force.
When someone is intent on jeopardizing the peace and security of any person, our officers will respond in an appropriate and lawful manner. Police officers are trained to use deadly force as a last resort.
Police officers do not choose which service calls they can respond to.
Officers respond and investigate situations every day. That is a critical aspect of a police officer’s job.
In each of the cases involving Officer Mensah, those Mensah encountered were armed with weapons.
Each incident happened very quickly and verbal commands were given and not complied with. He defended himself with deadly force. Officer Mensah was placed on administrative leave after each incident, pending the decision of the District Attorney.
The ruling from the DA was that the use of force was justified in the first two incidents. Mensah is currently on administrative leave while waiting for the DA to rule on the incident from this past February.
Throughout these lengthy investigations, our commitment remains to preserve the safety of everyone. While it is difficult to be patient, the justice system requires a complete and impartial review of every fact before final conclusions are drawn.
Weber said in a press conference on December 5, 2016, that Mensah was “justified in using deadly force under Wisconsin law” in the shooting of Anderson.
Protesters & Family Members have Spoken Out
The deaths of the men have sparked protests for Joseph Mensah’s firing at the Wauwatosa City Hall, the police department and Mayfair mall.
The families of the victims have disputed police version of events.
The Guardian reported that “Mensah claimed Anderson reached for a gun when he approached Anderson’s car, where he was sleeping, though Anderson’s family dispute this. In the Cole case, police claimed that Cole shot first during a police chase following a disturbance at a shopping [center] – Cole’s family also dispute this version of events.”
Kimberley Motley, Alvin Cole’s family attorney, said in an interview with WISN, “I think it’s amazing that Team Roc and Roc Nation is invested in making sure that black lives matter and making sure that police are held accountable.”
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