A Wisconsin police officer who fatally shot three people in the line of duty in five years is resigning, city officials said.
Joseph Mensah, a Wauwatosa officer who has been suspended since July, entered a separation agreement with the Wauwatosa Common Council late Tuesday and will resign effective Nov. 30, Mayor Dennis McBride said.
“Now is the time for all of us to come together and heal,” McBride said in a statement. “We’ve made substantial progress during 2020, and in the coming year we’ll continue to focus on positive change for our community.”
Prosecutors have cleared Mensah of wrongdoing in the three fatal shootings, including that of a black 17-year-old, Alvin Cole, in February that led to months of protests in the suburban Milwaukee town, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
But Mensah was suspended by the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission following a complaint by relatives of Jay Anderson Jr., who was fatally shot in 2016 by the officer when he reached for a gun in his car in a city park, the newspaper reported.
A year earlier, Mensah fatally shot Antonio Gonzales, 29, who refused to drop a sword, police said. Mensah had been on the job for just seven months at the time, according to the Journal-Sentinel.
An independent investigator, meanwhile, had recommended Mensah be fired on the same day prosecutors cleared him of wrongdoing in Cole’s death.
A possible fourth fatal shooting by the officer “creates an extraordinary, unwarranted and unnecessary risk to Wauwatosa police and the city’s residents,” the investigator wrote.
A Dec. 16 hearing had also been previously set for Mensah to argue to keep his job following his suspension, which he contested with a lawsuit in Milwaukee County, the newspaper reported.
“One simply cannot be disciplined for an act that has yet to occur,” Mensah’s attorney wrote in the filing.