WAUWATOSA — State Representative David Bowen shared a new version of what happened between protesters and Wauwatosa Officer Joseph Mensah over the weekend. Mensah said the protesters were the instigators, while Bowen said it was Mensah who instigated things.
Police said shots were fired at a protest Saturday outside a house owned by Mensah’s girlfriend and that Mensah was assaulted.
Mensah is the officer under investigation for his involvement in three separate fatal shootings in the past five years. Two of those incidents have been ruled as justifiable. The most recent one is still under investigation.
Bowen said Saturday night he saw Mensah trying to fight peaceful protesters like Bowen himself.
“His goal was to engage in violence that day,” Bowen said.
In early July the city’s Police and Fire Commission suspended Mensah from the department, but people throughout the area continue to protest with the hopes that charges are filed and Mensah is fired.
Bowen said that’s what they were doing on Saturday, until Mensah stepped out of his girlfriend’s home, approached the protesters, and encouraged them to step onto the property.
“This man came out with a level of aggression that did not match any of the actions of the folks that were there,” Bowen said. “People were there to advocate for change. The same way they've done for the last 70 days.”
Police said about 60 people surrounded the property and vandalized it, and as Mensah tried to talk with the crowd, he was physically assaulted before someone fired a shot at the backdoor.
Mensah told TMJ4 News off-camera Sunday he believes people in the group were trying to kill him.
Bowen feels differently and shared another story of events.
“It was Joseph Mensah that decided to pull the trigger on somebody else's firearm,” Bowen said.
Bowen didn’t see the actual shooting, but claims to know people who did. He said what he did see before this, was Mensah trying to sick his dog on the protesters, and him use pepper spray on them, all in response to the protesters throwing toilet paper.
“It doesn't deserve the response of Joseph Mensah invoking and threatening violence, nothing, nothing does,” Bowen said.
No one tried to kill him or his girlfriend. That's a lie. No one tried to enter his home. That's a lie. There weren't several shots fired. Another lie. No protestor shot at the back door. That's the biggest lie. Joseph Mensah chose to engage with a protestor, and pulled the trigger on that individual’s firearm.
President of the Wauwatosa Peace Officers Association John Milotsky called this weekend’s incident, disgusting, and is pushing to get federal officers involved in the investigation.
“This was not a protest. This was a violent criminal act directed towards a police officer,” Milotsky said.
The Wauwatosa Police Department issued a statement in response to Bowen’s allegations saying in part, “the facts do not support his comments.”
Monday morning, investigators returned to the scene to collect any other evidence they could, as workers fixed the backdoor which had a broken window.
Mayor Dennis McBride also met with other city officials and said steps are being taken to keep Mensah and the city safe.
Bowen released a statement prior to speaking with TMJ4 News. You can read it in its entirety here: