Prosecutors have decided not to charge ex-cop Joseph Mensah for the shooting and killing of Jay Anderson Jr., according to NBC News. Anderson was 25 when he was killed while sitting in his car. The judge said a newly-released police dash camera video showed Mensah had reason to fear for his life.
Reports said Anderson was asleep in his car when Mensah approached his vehicle. Mensah claimed he saw Anderson reached for a gun after waking him. Anderson’s family utilized a provision in state law to get a judge to look into the case. Milwaukee County Judge Glenn Yamahiro said there was probable cause to charge Mensah with homicide by negligent use of a weapon.
Special prosecutors supported that finding with the dash cam video footage which they said proved Mensah intentionally shot Anderson.
More on the case from NBC News:
The judge said Mensah should have been aware that pulling his weapon on Anderson created an unreasonable risk of death and the officer should have taken steps to de-escalate the situation. He also said Anderson’s actions were consistent with someone who was intoxicated and was having difficulty complying with Mensah’s orders.
During a court hearing, they said critical evidence came down to police dash camera video that showed the final 18 seconds before Mensah fired his weapon. The video, which contained no audio, showed that Anderson had his hands raised, then reached down and then started putting his hand back up, according to the special prosecutors.
They assembled a mock jury that said Anderson’s actions were enough for Mensah to fear for his life.
The lawyer for Anderson’s family said Anderson could have been reaching for something else like his phone or ID, NBC reported. They also requested a new prosecutor be appointed which the judge denied.
“This tragedy was avoidable but that is a separate and distinct question from what is provable beyond a reasonable doubt,” the judge said, via NBC.
Mensah shot and killed a total of three peoplel during his five years at Wauwatosa Police Department until he resigned in 2020. In all three shootings, he escaped charges.
“We’re not finished. I’m not finished fighting. I want Joseph Mensah in jail. So we’re going to continue to fight,” said Anderson’s mother, Linda via CBS 58.