Wauwatosa Officer Won't Face Charges in Jay Anderson's Death

Dec 5, 2016

Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, who fatally shot Jay Anderson Jr. in June, will not face charges. The Milwaukee County District Attorney's office shared the decision with Jay Anderson's family on Monday.

The Anderson family says Jay Anderson was sleeping in his car in Madison Park in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin around 3 a.m. on June 23, 2016, when Officer Joseph Mensah approached the vehicle. The officer claims he shot Anderson, after he kept lowering his hands, indicating he could have been reaching for a gun.

At a news conference on Monday, Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said the officer's actions were justified, and referred to the squad car video that recorded the incident. 

WARNING: This video shows Jay Anderson Jr. being shot multiple times and killed by Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah.

"I've watched that video at least 20 times and I was able to watch it in slow motion, forward, backward and frame by frame.  I could take as much time as I needed.  The police officer had less than one second to make a decision.  A police officer who reasonably believes there is an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm is authorized by law to use deadly force," Weber says.

The family's attorney, Jon Safran, says the video shows Anderson nodding off, but not acting in a threatening manner.

Anderson’s girlfriend Starkeisha Delarosa says any one else, besides a police officer, would have faced charges. “He (Anderson) didn’t do nothing wrong. He should still be here with us, regardless of whatever. He was in the park asleep by himself – he didn’t harm nobody. And it’s just so unfair that I have two kids by him who will never know him,” she says.

Safran says Anderson's loved ones are "extremely disappointed" the officer won't be charged, yet they don't want anyone who is upset to turn to violence.

"Civil disobedience, we understand. People are frustrated, people have a right to demonstrate, people have a right under the constitution to express their opinions. But we want to make sure that certainly nothing happens in any way that would be violent or in any way causes those kinds of problems," he says.

Safran was referring to the outbreak of violence in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood last August, after a Milwaukee police officer fatally shot Sylville Smith, an African American man.

He says the U.S. Attorney's office has agreed to investigate Anderson's death for potential federal civil rights violations.