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3 arrested in connection to incident involving Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah

Posted at 10:41 AM, Aug 19, 2020

Three men are charged in connection to an altercation with suspended Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah.

Ronald Bell admitted to police his shotgun went off during the Aug. 8 incident outside of Mensah's home.

Protesters arrived at the residence after 8 p.m. In a Facebook post, Mensah said he tried to engage in a dialogue with protesters but things escalated. Witnesses, including State Representative David Bowen, say Mensah came out aggressive.

According to the criminal complaint, Bell admitted he had the shotgun and that he was holding it when it discharged. He also apologized for his actions. He is charged with 2nd Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety and Battery to a Law Enforcement Officer.

"I think what the criminal complaints do clear up is, Officer Mensah was beign attacked and physically assaulted by multiple people," Wauwatosa Police Officer Association President John Milotzky said.

Milotzky says the criminal complaint helps bring some clarity to a situation that had conflicting reports of what happened.

However, the complaint does not clear up two conflicting reports of what happened; how did things escalate and who pulled the trigger?

Rep. Bowen was not available for an interview Wednesday and directed any future comment on this Officer Mensah situation to his attorney, Kim Motley. Motley also represents the families of the men killed by Officer Mensah. TMJ-4 News reached out to Motley for comment as well but have not heard back.

Last week, Bowen relayed his view on how things transpired.

"I'd say, none of the actions the protesters displayed that day deserved the vitriol and aggressive behavior Joseph Mensah displayed that day," Bowen said.

Bowen also originally said Mensah was the one who pulled the trigger of the shotgun but later clarified he did not physically see Mensah pull the trigger. His comments were based on what he saw and what witnesses told him.

"It's very clear, Officer Mensah displayed behavior to push the safety on that firearm and to fire it," Bowen said. "He saw an opportunity to paint protesters as the violent mob and it played into his testimony. I saw the struggle ensue. It was witness accounts that described his actions. When two people are engaging in aggressive behavior, close to each other, you're not going to be able to see everything. From direct witness accounts, that's what he did."

"The facts and evidence, as we observed them, do not align with statements made by Representative Bowen," Milotzky said. "We'd be speculating on how that trigger was actually pulled int he assault. Nobody could be positive. From years of being a law enforcement officer and firearms training, a gun typically goes off when someone pulls the trigger. That was not clear in the criminal complaint but, nonetheless, someone brought a shotgun to what had been described as a peaceful protest."

Bell says the gun belonged to Niles McKee, a fellow protester. After the gun was fired, Bell gave the gun back to McKee. According to the criminal complaint, McKee tried to give the gun to an unnamed person "until this blows over." McKee faces one charge of Harboring or Aiding a felon.

William Lofton is also charged in relation to the incident. He faces one charge of 2nd Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety.

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