A suburban Milwaukee police officer who has fatally shot three people in the line of duty since 2015, including a Black teenager outside a mall in February, is resigning from the department.
The Wauwatosa Common Council approved a separation agreement with Joseph Mensah on Tuesday night, effective Nov. 30, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office has ruled all three shootings by Mensah, who also is Black, were justified self-defense.
Protests followed the most recent shooting outside Mayfair Mall. Alvin Cole, 17, was shot five times by Mensah after he fled from police following a disturbance inside the mall. Mensah said Cole pointed a gun at him, so he shot him.
Protesters marched for months, calling for Mensah to be fired. They protested outside the mall and Wauwatosa City Hall.
Mensah was suspended by the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission after a complaint was filed by the family of one of the men he killed, Jay Anderson Jr. He was shot after Mensah found him sitting in a car in a city park after hours in 2016. Mensah also fatally shot Antonio 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.