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Former Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah hired as Waukesha County sheriff's deputy

Posted at 11:46 AM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 16:59:40-05

WAUKESHA, Wis. -- Former Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah, who fatally shot three people during his time as an officer, has been hired as a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy, the Sheriff's Department said in a news release Tuesday.

Mensah has been the subject of ongoing protests in Wauwatosa over the controversial uses of force. He was not charged in any of the fatal shootings.

"While some have expressed concerns about Mr. Mensah's past uses of force, I assembled a team who exhaustively reviewed Mr. Mensah's previous work history," Sheriff Eric Severson said in a news release.

The team concluded "Mr. Mensah's use of force was consistent with the Federal and State laws, Wisconsin training and uniformly applied police policy," the news release goes on to say.

Sheriff Severson says Mensah will next enter a supervised field training program.

The Wauwatosa Common Council approved a separation agreement with Mensah in November. As part of that agreement, Mensah resigned from employment with the City of Wauwatosa effective Nov. 30, 2020.

Mensah was involved in three police shootings in the past five years: the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole at Mayfair Mall in February 2019; the fatal shooting of Antonio Gonzales in 2015; and the fatal shooting of Jay Anderson Jr. in 2016.

Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah to be paid $130K as he resigns from police department

In regard to the shooting of Cole, Milwaukee County District Attorney decided on Oct. 7 to not charge Mensah. But since then, members of the community have called for Mensah to be fired from the department. Mensah was suspended with pay from the Wauwatosa Police Department pending the investigation.

While some posted support for the sheriff's decision on the department's Facebook page others condemned it.

"I've certainly talked to my clients today. Obviously, they're all extremely disappointed at this new development but even more so they are very concerned for public safety," said attorney Kimberley Motley.

Motley has represented the families of the three people Mensah killed: Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson Jr., and Antonio Gonzales.

She questioned whether Mensah was hireable according to state standards and said Mensah's past speaks to his potential instability as an officer.

"I think there's a lot of institutional failures here when it relates to Joseph Mensah," said Motley, "We're not gonna stop legally we're going to continue to fight and frankly we're gonna fight even more now."

Sheriff Severson said Mensah will enter a supervised field training program where he will get the same opportunities as every other deputy.

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber issued the following statement on Wednesday:

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