A former Wisconsin police officer involved in a number of fatal shootings before quitting his job has been hired as a sheriff’s deputy, despite the misgivings of the relatives of one of the people he shot.
Joseph Mensah was sworn in as a Waukesha County sheriff’s deputy, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported despite shooting and killing three people in the line of duty when he was a Wauwatosa policeman. All of the shootings have been ruled justified as self-defense.
"Mr. Mensah progressed through an extensive, thorough and exhaustive hiring process," Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson said in a statement. "While some have expressed concerns about Mr. Mensah’s past uses of force...I have concluded that Mr. Mensah’s use of force was consistent with the Federal and State laws, Wisconsin training and uniformly applied police policy."
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Mensah was most recently found to be justified in the shooting death of Alvin Cole, 17, on Feb. 2 when he was reportedly involved in a conflict with another individual at a local mall. Police say during the argument Cole pulled out a stolen pistol but ran when confronted by officers. Despite being ordered to drop the gun, he fired it, prompting Mensah to return fire.
He resigned in November and agreed to a $125,000 separation agreement with the City of Wauwatosa the next month. An independent investigator had recommended that he be fired.
Severson said that Mensah will undergo supervised field training and will get the “same opportunities as every other deputy working for the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office."
But Cole’s family members were displeased that he’s hired as a law enforcement officer anywhere. Kimberley Motley, an attorney for Cole’s family and the families of the others shot by Mensah, was outraged.
“I'm not saying this man should not work,” she told the Associated Press. “But why does he have to go into law enforcement? He clearly is not good at it.”