Complaints against Wisconsin officer who killed 3 dismissed

A suburban Milwaukee police and fire commission has voted to dismiss the complaints against a police officer filed by the families of three men he fatally shot while on duty since 2015

WAUWATOSA, Wis. -- A suburban Milwaukee police and fire commission has voted to dismiss the complaints filed against a police officer by the families of three men he shot while on duty over a five-year period.

Wauwatosa’s Police and Fire Commission unanimously voted Thursday in favor of a resolution that dismisses all pending matters relating to Joseph Mensah, including the complaints by the families of Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson Jr. and Antonio Gonzales, WTMJ-TV reported.

Mensah has signed a separation agreement with the city of Wauwatosa to resign from the police department, effective Nov. 30. In doing so, the city agreed to compensate Mensah at least $130,000 in pay and benefits during and following his resignation. Mensah also agreed to not sue the city over his resignation.

The families demanded that Mensah be fired and charged in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Prosecutors have declined to do so in all three cases.

Kimberley Motley, the attorney representing Cole’s family, had urged the commission to allow for public comment during Thursday’s meeting, but the request was denied.

Protests followed the most recent shooting outside Mayfair Mall in February. Alvin Cole, a Black 17-year-old, was shot five times by Mensah after he fled from police following a disturbance inside the mall. Mensah, who also is Black, said he shot Cole because he had pointed a gun at him.

Mensah was suspended by the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission after a complaint was filed by Anderson's family. Anderson was shot after Mensah found him sitting in a car in a city park after hours in 2016. Mensah also fatally shot Gonzales in 2015 after Gonzales refused to drop a sword, according to police.

On the same day that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm cleared Mensah of any criminal wrongdoing in Cole’s death, an independent investigator hired by the commission recommended that Mensah be fired.

Investigator Steven Biskupic wrote in his report released Oct. 7 that the potential for a fourth fatal shooting by Mensah created an extraordinary and unnecessary risk to the police department and the city.

Chisholm’s decision set off nights of protests throughout the city where a curfew was imposed for five days. Wauwatosa schools closed, businesses were boarded up and the police department was surrounded by a metal fence in anticipation of civil unrest. The National Guard was stationed outside the mall.

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The headline on this story has been corrected to reflect that Joseph Mensah was an officer in the Milwaukee suburb of Wawautosa, not in Milwaukee.