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Joseph Mensah to remain in current position with Waukesha Co. Sheriff's Dept. despite probable cause ruling

Joseph Mensah with Waukesha County Sheriff's Department
Posted at 4:47 PM, Jul 29, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Joseph Mensah will remain in his current position as a detective with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department, despite Wednesday's ruling from Judge Glenn Yamahiro that there is probable cause for him to be charged in the killing of Jay Anderson Jr.

The department made the announcement Thursday, writing that Sheriff Eric Severson "supports the judicial process directed by the State of Wisconsin Statutes, and it is his intent and directive to allow that process to play out."

"As that process proceeds and develops, the Sheriff will continue to assess and review the need for possible action. At this time, after careful review and deliberation, based on all of the facts available to us, Detective Mensah will continue his current assignment within the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department," according to a statement.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Glenn Yamahiro said Wednesday there was cause to charge Joseph Mensah with homicide by negligent use of a weapon in the shooting death of Jay Anderson Jr. in Wauwatosa in 2016.

Prosecutors cleared Mensah of any criminal wrongdoing soon after the shooting, but Anderson’s family asked Yamahiro to review the case through the state’s little-used John Doe process.

Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah

It allows a judge to question witnesses directly and to decide whether charges should be filed.

In his remarks, Yamahiro said Mensah created an "unreasonable and substantial risk of death." He added that Mensah could have chosen to deescalate the situation, including waiting for backup, which was on its way and that evidence shows Anderson never lunged for a weapon.

"The conduct of Mr. Anderson was consistent with a person under the influence of intoxicants, who had been asleep, who was trying but was having difficulty complying with the orders of Officer Mensah," Yamahiro said.

"This decision is huge for the state of Wisconsin, and frankly I think it's huge for this country," said Anderson family's attorney, Kimberley Motley. "They just want basic justice which is what they're entitled to."

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