MILWAUKEE (AP) — A police officer in a Milwaukee suburb who resigned after being involved in his third fatal shooting in five years has been hired as a sheriff’s deputy.
Joseph Mensah was hired in Waukesha County after an extensive review that found his use of force was proper in all three shootings, Sheriff Eric Severson said Tuesday.
Mensah, then a Wauwatosa police officer, was cleared in October in the death of Alvin Cole, a Black 17-year-old whom Mensah shot Feb. 2 outside Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa after police responded to a reported disturbance. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said evidence showed Cole fled from officers with a stolen handgun, fired a shot and refused commands to drop the gun.
Cole’s death sparked periodic protests in Wauwatosa, including after the decision not to charge Mensah, who is Black. Though Chief Barry Weber said there was no reason to fire him, Mensah resigned a month after Chisholm declined to charge the officer.
Severson, in a Facebook post, said Mensah would go through a supervised field training program.
Mensah’s attorney, Jonathan Cermele, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Kimberley Motley, an attorney for the families of Cole and the other two men who died after being shot by Mensah, called it “just a stupid decision.”
“I’m not saying this man should not work,” she said. “But why does he have to go into law enforcement? He clearly is not good at it.”
Mensah joined the Wauwatosa force in 2015. He shot Antonio Gonzales that year after police said Gonzales refused to drop a sword. A year later, Mensah 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. He was cleared of wrongdoing in each case.