Families of 3 people killed by same Wauwatosa police officer protest, file complaints; Common Council responds with plans for body cameras

July 2, 2020

Pictured (from left) Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson Jr., and Antonio Gonzales.

All over Wauwatosa on Thursday, June 18, 2020, calls for justice could be heard as the families of three people — all of whom were killed by the same Wauwatosa police officer — filed citizen complaints.

Four years after Jay Anderson Jr.’s death, his family filed a citizen complaint against the officer who killed him. Police Officer Joseph Mensah has killed three people in five years while on duty.

The families of those three young men traveled to Wauwatosa City Hall to file open records requests.

Their message was also taken to the Wauwatosa Police Department. Protesters have demanded Mensah’s badge — and criminal charges.

In 2015, Mensah killed Antonio Gonzales after, police said, he came at officers with a sword.

Jay Anderson, Jr., was shot and killed by Mensah while sitting in his car at Madison Park in June 2016. Police said Anderson had a gun.

Alvin Cole was killed near Mayfair Mall on Feb. 2, 2020. Police said Cole fired a gun himself before Mensah returned fire.

Prosecutors ruled that Mensah’s use of force in the Gonzales and Anderson cases were justified. Mensah is currently on administrative duty while the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office reviews the Cole case.

The police department had no additional comments on Thursday. One officer came out to speak with the Anderson family and attorney, only to explain that the police chief, Barry Weber, was unavailable to speak with them at the time.

The three families marched in protest on Thursday, ending at Mayfair Mall, brought together by a connection they wish they did not have.

In 2015, following the fatal shooting of Gonzales, Mensah was not charged — nor was he following Anderson’s in 2016. Both shootings were investigated and ruled justified.

Attorney Kimberly Motley Motley who is representing two of the families — the Andersons and the Coles — and called on the Wauwatosa police chief to hold Mensah accountable.

In addition to wanting Mensah fired and criminally charged, the families said they want all Wauwatosa police officers to wear body cameras to hold every officer accountable.

Last week, the Wauwatosa Police Department issued a statement saying it remains committed to being “open and transparent” in the ongoing Cole investigation.

In response to the complant that was filed the Wauwatosa Common Council on Monday, June 29, 2020 took a step toward officers wearing body cameras.

During the in-person and virtual committee-of-the-whole meeting Monday night, council members voted unanimously to send the plan to the city’s government and financial committees.

Equipping Wauwatosa officers with body cameras is a step, protesters said Monday.

“I’ve been wanting this for the last four years, since my son Jay Anderson, Jr., got murdered, so this is a step forward for what I want,” said Jay Anderson, Sr.

The plan headed to committee calls for body cameras to be implemented, one way or another, within six months’ time.