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Crowd marches, calls for firing of Wauwatosa Police officer

Posted at 11:09 PM, Nov 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 00:09:12-05

WAUWATOSA — A crowd of several dozen people marched through downtown Wauwatosa on Sunday afternoon, calling for an end to racial injustices and for Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah to be taken off the force.

"The whole point is that we don’t want him on the force because he’s already shown that he’s not fit three times before," said Joe Kraynick, who is part of the group Indivisible Tosa and helped organize the march.

Mensah has been involved in three deadly shootings while on the job. Antonio Gonzales was shot and killed in 2015, Jay Anderson Jr. in 2016, and 17-year-old Alvin Cole was shot back in February.

"These people, their families are going through a lot of pain," said marcher Oscar Walton. "There needs to be some type of justice."

Prosecutors have declined to file charges in each of the three shootings. Last month, Mensah was cleared of criminal charges for the shooting death of Alvin Cole. Several days of unrest followed.

Mensah has been suspended since July. Last month, former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic served as an independent investigator. In a report, Biskupic recommended Mensah be fired, citing risk for a potential fourth shooting.

Mensah's attorney is disputing the investigator's findings. In documents filed with the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission, attorney Jon Cermele writes Mensah is "fit for duty" and, "One simply cannot be disciplined for an act that has yet to occur. Doing so would plainly violate due process."

Additionally, Cermele writes Mensah did not break any department rules when he spoke to WISN Radio and a podcast over the summer.

Last month, Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said he disagreed with the independent investigator's findings and said he sees no reason to fire Mensah.

Kimberley Motley, the attorney for the Anderson and Cole families, said a meeting to schedule a hearing about the matter is supposed to take place next week.

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