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Calls For Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah To Be Fired Remain Strong

LaToya Dennis
Friends and family of a small business owner board up broken windows after a night of protests in Wauwatosa after Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm decided against charging Officer Joseph Mensah.

On Thursday, people took to the streets again to protest Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm’s decision Wednesday not to criminally charge Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah. 

Mensah fatally shot 17-year-old Alvin Cole after being dispatched to Mayfair Mall for a disturbance earlier this year. Cole had a gun and Mensah has said he believed Cole shot at officers. Cole was Black, as is Mensah. 

Chisholm says he couldn’t prove Mensah wasn’t acting in self-defense. 

It was the third time Mensah shot and killed someone in the line of duty. 

Regular protests last summer called for Mensah to be charged – and ousted from the police department. Mensah is suspended, and an investigator’s report Wednesday advised that the Police and Fire Commission fire him because of the likelihood that he could kill a fourth person while on the job. 

The chair of Wauwatosa’s Equity and Inclusion Commission is among the people calling for Mensah to be terminated immediately. Sean Lowe says the decision by Chisolm not to charge Mensah has further divided the city of Wauwatosa.

“I think there’s strong concern about Joseph Mensah remaining on the police force,” Lowe says. 

An extended interview with WUWM's LaToya Dennis and Sean Lower that aired on Lake Effect.

Lowe says the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission needs to immediately convene and fire Mensah. 

“Officer Joseph Mensah has not only killed three people in the past five years, but all three shootings were questionable,” Lowe says. 

In 2015, Mensah fired his weapon at a man wielding a sword outside of his home after he failed to follow directions and drop the weapon. 

The second shooting involved a man who was intoxicated and sleeping it off in his car at a park. A gun was found in his vehicle. 

"Once he is off the force, then the healing can begin and we can continuously have conversations to work with the police department on better community policing."

Lowe says Mensah should be fired because he is too quick to resort to violence. As a resident of Wauwatosa, Lowe says he doesn’t see how his city can move forward with Mensah remaining on the force. 

“Once he is off the force, then the healing can begin and we can continuously have conversations to work with the police department on better community policing. [We can] work with the police department on continuous diversity and inclusion initiatives,” Lowe says. 

Lowe says he’s holding out hope that the city of Wauwatosa gets it right.

LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.