Wauwatosa Common Council moves forward with plans for body cameras after 3 high-profile deaths

WAUWATOSA -- The Wauwatosa Common Council Monday, June 29 took a step toward officers wearing body cameras after three high-profile officer-involved deaths.

During the in-person and virtual committee-of-the-whole meeting Monday night, council members voted unanimously to send the plan to the city's government and financial committees.

Equipping Wauwatosa officers with body cameras is a step protesters said Monday is one that's finally headed in the right direction after three high-profile fatal officer-involved shootings over the past five years involving the same officer, Joseph Mensah.

"I've been wanting this for the last four years, since my son Jay Anderson, Jr., got murdered, so this is a step forward for what I want," said Jay Anderson, whose namesake son was killed in June 2016.

The plan headed to committee calls for body cameras to be implemented, one way or another, within six months' time.

Tracy Cole

"I think that the majority of us agree that this needs to move forward," said Alderwoman Nancy Welch.

Families of the men killed filed complaints with the city earlier in the month, disputing the circumstances surrounding their deaths, and calling for Mensah's firing.

"This monster killed three people, and they had to take my baby," said Tracy Cole, mother of Alvin Cole, who was killed in Feb. 2020. "His tragic death (is what it) took for people to open up their eyes, so basically, we want to see justice. We already got one thing taken care of, so we're going for the second thing."

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber and Captain Brian Zalewski detailed the department's two options -- policy changes and costs.

"The time is right for our city to move forward on body cameras," said Chief Weber.

"The hope with body cameras is that it helps strengthen accountability and transparency within a police department, or any governmental organization, so we believe in that, and we believe that this is a good thing moving forward because of that," said Zalewski.

Mensah was cleared in the two earlier shootings, while the Milwaukee County district attorney is reviewing the Cole case. Mensah remains on administrative leave.