WAUWATOSA - A state representative is calling out suspended Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah. David Bowen said Monday, Aug. 10 he was at the protest near 100th Street and Vienna Avenue Saturday, Aug. 8 and said Mensah instigated the violence that took place.
Bowen called the police account of what happened on Saturday a flat out lie. He said Mensah provoked the protestors, and believes the police are pushing a false narrative.
Among the crowd of roughly 60 protestors, Saturday night in front of this home was Rep. Bowen. He said Mensah's Facebook post detailing what happened, and the police statements released so far, are nowhere near reality.
Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, State Rep. David Bowen
"He was the one who sprayed pepper spray on protestors," said Bowen. "He was the one who came out overly aggressive."
Viewer video shows the group throwing toilet paper at the home, chanting "Black Lives Matter." Mensah said he tried to reason with them, but was physically assaulted. Police said one of the protesters fired a single shotgun round into the back door.
"There was a tussle," said Bowen. "Officer Mensah decided to engage with that protestor. He turned the safety off of that firearm and pulled the trigger."
But Bowen admitted he didn't actually see that happen.
"It was Officer Mensah who pulled that trigger," said Bowen. "That I was able to confirm."
Mensah is on a paid administrative leave after the fatal officer-involved shooting of 17-year old Alvin Cole earlier Feb. 2 outside Mayfair Mall. The case remains under review by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office. Mensah also killed two others in the line of duty. The deaths of Antonio Gonzales and Jay Anderson were ruled self-defense.
Joseph Mensah, Antonio Gonzalez, Jay Anderson, Alvin Cole
"I called people to measure people's integrity. I'll put up my credibility and integrity against anybody's any day," said Bowen when asked what he would say to people who don't believe him.
Wauwatosa police tweeted a statement in response to Bowen:
Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber followed up with a statement Tuesday afternoon:
"There is a lot of false information and rumors being circulated on social media and through the news media regarding the events on Saturday night, August 8th, 2020, outside of the home where Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah was staying. This includes inaccurate information and allegations contained in an official press release, from a State elected official who was outside of the home while criminal conduct and a shooting occurred. What occurred Saturday night was not an organized or peaceful protest. It was a targeted, planned act of violence against one of our police officers and our community. This is an active, on-going investigation and evidence continues to be gathered regarding the events of August 8th. Investigators are looking through a large amount of high quality, video footage from the scene and are working to identify suspects and vehicles involved in any illegal activity. At the point in the investigation probable cause is developed to support the arrests of individuals involved, arrests will be made regarding this incident. “The Wauwatosa Police Department will not stand by and allow this type of intimidating, aggressive, dangerous, illegal behavior to occur, especially under the guise of peaceful protests.”
Meanwhile, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner on Tuesday issued a letter to the mayor, indicating he "stand(s) ready to contact federal law enforcement agencies and bring them to Wauwatosa in order to bring peace and tranquility back to the community."
"Dear Mayor McBride:
I write to you today concerning the deteriorating security and policing in Wauwatosa. The protests, which may have started peacefully, have been growing ever more violent, and the events Saturday night outside the residence of Officer Joseph Mensah require immediate leadership and strong action from you and the elected leaders of Wauwatosa.
First, allow me to be clear that I am, and always will be, supportive of an American citizen’s First Amendment rights. Having said that, ever since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the protests the incident sparked, there has been a push by community leaders throughout the country to weaken, defund and abolish police departments in several cities. Locally, Officer Mensah has become the poster child for this movement due to his three officer-involved-shooting incidents. Officer Mensah has dedicated his life to protecting our community and been cleared by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office of two of the three shootings in which he has been involved. The third incident is still under review. Despite the decisions by the Milwaukee County DA, your Common Council passed a resolution calling for the termination of Officer Mensah’s employment with the Wauwatosa Police Department (WPD).
While I understand the Common Council wants to bring reforms to the WPD, the consequences of their actions are having serious repercussions for the residents of your community. Citizens of Wauwatosa are being harassed by these protesters, who have now laid siege to a residence in your community, where a gun was fired at a home with women and children inside. Actions like this, and the breakdown of law and order, will spread fear and force the citizens of Wauwatosa to reconsider their choice to reside there. The mass emigration from your city would be devastating to the very fabric of the community, in addition to the detrimental effect it would have on your tax base, schools and city finances.
As I believe we are teetering on a crisis, I am offering my assistance. I stand ready to contact federal law enforcement agencies and bring them to Wauwatosa in order to bring peace and tranquility back to the community.I look forward to hearing from you. While we have reached a critical tipping point in Wauwatosa, I am confident that if we work together, we can restore the rule of law. It is crucial that we strive to preserve the excellent quality of life that has drawn so many to work and raise their families in Wauwatosa.
Sincerely,F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.Member of Congress"
"This is what he wanted," said Bowen. "He wanted to escalate things that day."
Bowen said Monday he does not have any photos or video to back up his statements, and that he hopes to meet with the mayor in the near future.
Police said the investigation is ongoing, and no arrests have been made.