A Milwaukee cop responsible for fatally shooting three people over the last five years while on duty has resigned.
The Associated Press reports that Joseph Mensah has signed a separation agreement with the Wauwatosa Common Council on Tuesday night. As a result of that agreement, Mensah’s last day with the department will be Nov. 30. Mensah, who is Black, has been on suspension since July 15 due to the aftermath of his third shooting earlier this year.
In February, Mensah shot and killed 17-year-old Alvin Cole outside of the Mayfair Mall. Cole was running from the police with an allegedly stolen handgun. Cole pulled the handgun out while running from the police and accidentally shot himself in the arm. Cole allegedly pointed the gun at Mensah when he was told to drop it and that’s when Mensah opened fire, killing him.
Mensah’s record of police violence also made national waves, with rapper Jay-Z even attempting to put up billboards in Milwaukee calling for Mensah to face charges. In 2015, Mensah shot 29-year-old Antonio Gonzales eight times after he refused to put down a sword. Gonzales’s blood-alcohol level was .255, so apparently, it’s impossible to simply tase a drunk dude with a sword.
His next shooting happened only a year later in 2016 when he approached a parked vehicle where Jay Anderson had been sleeping. Mensah said that when he approached the car, he saw Anderson reaching for a gun and decided to open fire.
Mensah was not found guilty of any criminal wrongdoing in either of those cases.
On Oct. 7, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced that Mensah would not face charges in the shooting of Cole, but an independent investigator recommended the officer be fired due to the risk of a potential fourth shooting.
From the Journal Sentinel:
Allowing Mensah to continue as a fully empowered police officer, with the authorization to potentially use deadly force for a fourth time, “creates an extraordinary, unwarranted and unnecessary risk to the Wauwatosa Police Department and the City of Wauwatosa,” Steven Biskupic wrote in his report.
Biskupic also found Mensah had made “inconsistent and misleading” public statements about the shootings, which could compromise his ability to testify in court, and violated a policy banning officers from discussing ongoing investigations of police shootings.
Those factors led Biskupic to find “just cause,” as defined by state law, to remove Mensah from duty as an active Wauwatosa police officer.
“I further find that termination would serve the best interests of the Wauwatosa Police Department and the City of Wauwatosa,” he wrote.
As a result of Cole’s shooting, multiple protests occurred in Milwaukee, calling for Mensah’s firing and charges to be filed against the officer. The protests intensified in the months following the death of George Floyd. In August, a protest held outside Mensah’s house attracted 50-60 people and resulted in a single shotgun round being fired into his home, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Following the decision to not charge Mensah, there were more protests, schools were closed, businesses were boarded up, and a five-day curfew was established in Wauwatosa.
I just think it’s kinda funny how cities always do the most when it comes to the legal system failing to do its job, but it’s just a shrug when it comes to a pandemic.
Kimberley Motley, the attorney representing the families of those killed by Mensah, told reporters that Mensah’s “resignation is long overdue.”
“While we welcome the news, it is tragic that the Wauwatosa Police Department under Chief Weber’s leadership failed to address his shortcomings for years. It is time for new leadership in the Wauwatosa Police Department,” she added.