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Longtime Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber To Retire

Susan Bence
Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber speaks at a press conference following a shooting at Mayfair Mall on Nov. 20, 2020.

A suburban Milwaukee police chief who supervised an officer who killed three people in five years will retire the summer.

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber will retire on June 1, the department said in a statement. Weber has served as chief for 31 years, but tensions have been rising between the department and community over the last few years because Officer Joseph Mensah kept opening fire on people.

Mensah, who is Black, joined the force in 2015. He shot Antonio Gonzales that year after police said Gonzales refused to drop a sword. A year later, he shot Jay Anderson Jr. in a car parked in a park after hours. Mensah said he saw a gun on the passenger seat and thought Anderson was reaching for it.

A year ago Tuesday, he shot Alvin Cole, a Black 17-year-old, during a foot chase outside a mall after police responded to a disturbance there. Prosecutors said evidence showed Cole was armed, fired a shot and refused commands to drop the gun.

Mensah was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in each case. The decision in October not to charge him in Cole's death sparked periodic protests in Wauwatosa. Weber refused activists' calls to fire him and Mensah quit to join the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department. Activists have called for Weber's termination.

The department's announcement did not offer a specific reason for Weber's retirement and did not mention Mensah or the shootings.

“You have shown dedication and professionalism throughout your career,” the statement said. “We wish you the best in retirement.”

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