Special prosecutors won’t charge former Wauwatosa officer in Jay Anderson, Jr.’s death

June 2, 2022

Special prosecutors say former Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah intentionally caused the shooting death of Jay Anderson, Jr., but they will not charge him.

The decision validates a district attorney’s finding years ago that Mensah had acted in self-defense when he shot Anderson, Jr.

The special prosecutors, Milwaukee attorney Scott Hansen and La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke, said they couldn’t find any legal basis for charging Mensah.

The Anderson family attorney, Kim Motley, asked the prosecutors to withdraw and for the court to appoint new prosecutors.

Judge Glenn Yamahiro called Motley’s motion to withdraw special prosecutors “erroneous”, and said he can’t keep passing on prosecutors until one wants to take the case.

Yamahiro called out a fatally flawed system and said selective use of body cameras hurts transparency and can be changed in Madison. He also said fellow police departments shouldn’t investigate each other.

“I’m not stopping till this man (Mensah) is behind bars where he needs to be,” Anderson’s mother told the judge at the end of the Wednesday, June 1, 2022 hearing.

WISN 12 News learned Tuesday, May 31, that special prosecutors were meeting with the family of Jay Anderson, Jr. ahead of Wednesday’s expected announcement.

Mensah came upon Anderson, who was 25, sleeping in a car after hours in a Wauwatosa park in June 2016.

Mensah said he fired after Anderson reached for a gun on the passenger seat.

Anderson’s family disputed that Anderson had reached for the gun and their attorney used an obscure legal maneuver similar to a grand jury inquiry to persuade Yamahiro that there was enough probable cause to support charging Mensah.

Yamahiro, late last year, assigned the special prosecutors to the case after hearing evidence in a John Doe hearing sought by the Anderson family.

After the killing, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm declined to file criminal charges against Mensah, who said Anderson reached for a gun in the car he was sleeping in when Mensah confronted him that night.

During the John Doe hearings, Yamahiro ruled the evidence did not support Mensah’s claims.

He has maintained his innocence.

During the new investigation, special prosecutors requested immunity for three officers who responded to the Anderson scene after the shooting, although the prosecutors said none of the three were considered suspects. It has not been made public what, if any, information those officers provided the special prosecutors.