Wauwatosa Officer Won’t Face Criminal Charges For Shooting Black Motorist

milwaukeecourthouse

Milwaukee County prosecutors have decided a Wauwatosa police officer won’t face criminal charges in the fatal shooting of an African-American man from Milwaukee in June.

Wauwatosa Police Department Officer Joseph Mensah shot Jay Anderson after approaching Anderson’s car at 3 a.m. in a city park. Mensah contends Anderson disobeyed his orders not to reach for a gun that police say was on the passenger seat.

But Anderson’s family says Anderson was drunk and tired, making him unable to keep his arms up. Starkeisha Delarosa, the mother of Anderson’s son, said she’s disappointed Milwaukee County prosecutors have decided Mensah acted in self-defense.

“If it was another human being, that killed Jay, he would be charged, so why can’t Joseph be charged?” Delarosa said. “How can he go start a family when Jay can’t continue the life he had with his family at home?”

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber released squad car video of the shooting, which he contends shows Mensah feared for his safety. Weber said during a televised news conference that Mensah acted lawfully.

“I’ve watched that video at least 20 times, and I was able to watch it (in) slow-motion, forwards, backwards, frame-by-frame. I could take as much time as I needed,” Weber said. “The police officer had less that one second to make the decision.”

Jonathan Safran, an attorney representing Anderson’s family, disputes the Police Department’s contention that Anderson reached for a gun.

“There is no evidence Mr. Anderson lunged for, touched, raised or pointed any alleged handgun that may have been in the vehicle,” Safran said.

Safran also said nothing in the video shows the alleged gun in Anderson’s car.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Milwaukee has agreed to look at possible civil rights violations in the case, Safran said.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio