Mensah shooting case: Anderson family seeks review

A Milwaukee County Judge says he will render his decision next month as family of a man shot and killed by a former Wauwatosa Police officer in 2016 seeks to have a special prosecutor appointed in the case and criminal charges filed.

An attorney for the family of Jay Anderson Jr., Kimberley Motley, made her closing arguments in the John Doe proceeding before Judge Glenn Yamahiro Wednesday, May 19. Motions filed by Mensah to dismiss the case were denied earlier this week.

"For almost five years, we’ve heard stories about what happened on June 23, 2016," Motley said. "And based on the investigation that was conducted by the Milwaukee investigative team, we realize now that it wasn’t an investigation, it was all about justification."

Anderson Jr., 25, was shot and killed in Madison Park on June 23, 2016, by former Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah. The shooting was ruled justified by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office later that year. At the time, it was the second fatal shooting involving Mensah. He was also involved in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole in February 2020.

Mensah resigned from the department last fall and is currently employed as a Waukesha County Sheriff's Deputy. Messages left for Mensah's attorney have not been returned.

Motley arguing that the investigation into Anderson's shooting death and the events prior were flawed, Mensah didn't follow proper training, and should not have been on the street because of the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Antonio Gonzalez in July 2015.

"In this situation involving Jay Anderson Jr., he was not committing any crimes when he was in Madison Park on June 23. He was sleeping. The most that Jay Anderson would have been looking at is an ordinance violation," Motley said during her argument that Mensah should be charged with second-degree reckless homicide and homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon.

Police squad dash camera video only picked up a portion of the interaction between Mensah and Anderson prior to the shooting, which did not include audio, as it was activated by Mensah after he shot Anderson.

"For whatever reason, Mensah felt that Baby Jay (Anderson) was a threat that night. What were they talking about? The Milwaukee investigative team never pressed them on this. For four minutes and 50 seconds they were together in that park. That silence speaks volumes to what happened in Madison Park."

Yamahiro has heard testimony from a number of witnesses called by Motley over the last several months, including retiring Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber.

Joseph Mensah, Jay Anderson Jr.

The case falls under a "John Doe" hearing. John Doe hearings are normally done in secret. However, the case was filed under a state statute that permits a judge to file a complaint if probable cause is found.

The purpose of the statute is to provide "a check upon the district attorney who fails to authorize the issuance of a complaint, when one should have been issued, by providing for a judge to authorize its issuance."

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"This was put in as a safeguard," said Michael McCann, a former longtime Milwaukee County district attorney, told FOX6 in February. "If a district attorney declined, then there would be at least some review by a judge."

Yamahiro has tentatively scheduled his decision in the case to be made on June 25 at 9:00 am.

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