WAUWATOSA — Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah will be leaving the department with a considerable paycheck as he resigns this month.
On Tuesday, the City of Wauwatosa announced that Mensah agreed to resign from the police department, effective Nov. 30, as part of a separation agreement.
Mensah was involved in three police shootings in the past five years: the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole at Mayfair Mall last February; the fatal shooting of Antonio Gonzales in 2015; and the fatal shooting of Jay Anderson Jr. in 2016. The shooting of Alvin Cole, and the decision to not charge Mensah in it, sparked massive protests across the Milwaukee area, with many calling the city to fire Mensah.
On Wednesday, the city released Mensah's resignation agreement and release of claims, which details among other things, any financial benefits Mensah will get following his resignation. The agreement was signed by Mensah, dated 11/16/2020.
According to the agreement, Mensah is entitled to all unused and unpaid accrued vacation ($3,687.22), accruing vacation ($4,224.94), overtime ($2,421.66), professional leave ($322.63) and longevity per his bargaining agreement through the date of resignation. Mensah is also entitled to all pay earned but not paid through the date of his resignation on Nov. 30.
The city has also agreed to pay Mensah severance payments equivalent to 13 months' pay through Dec. 31, plus Mensah's share of the cost of health insurance continuation. That adds up to $19,500 in deferred compensation and a one-time severance payment of $15,000. Both payments will be taxed as required by law.
The previous payments from the city to Mensah add up to a total of at least $45,156.45. Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride tells TMJ4 News that the severance, along with benefits, adds up to nearly $130,000, to be paid to Mensah.
"That sounds like a good amount of money, but it actually is probably less than what the city would spend paying for his attorneys' fees and our attorneys' fees if we went through hearing at the police and fire commission," says McBride.
The agreement also requires that Mensah releases and discharges the city and its employees from "any and all grievances, claims, demands, rights, damages, costs, losses, suits, actions, causes of action, attorney's fees and expanses of any nature whatsoever."
Mensah also agrees to dismiss his pending claim regarding his suspension from the Police and Fire Commission.
The city said in Tuesday's announcement regarding the resignation that it hopes the Police and Fire Commission will meet as soon as possible to dismiss the charges pending against Officer Mensah, as he will no longer be an employee of the City of Wauwatosa.