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Ex-Cop May Face Charges Through Rare Legal Loophole

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A decide will determine this week whether or not to cost a former Wisconsin police officer for taking pictures a person sitting in a parked automotive, after protection attorneys used a uncommon authorized course of to bypass prosecutors who dropped earlier expenses.

The Associated Press reports that Joseph Mensah, who has a file of deadly shootings, shot Jay Anderson Jr. after discovering Anderson sleeping in a parked automotive after hours in a Wauwatosa park. Mensah stated Anderson was reaching for a gun.

Mensah had been beforehand cleared for 2 different shootings of civilians whereas he was employed by the Wauwatosa Police Division. He shot and killed Antonio Gonzalez, who recognized as Latino and Native American, in 2015, the identical 12 months he joined the division. In 2020, he shot and killed Alvin Cole, 17, following a disturbance in a mall, claiming that Cole pointed a gun at him. The taking pictures and prosecutors’ resolution to not cost Mensah for taking pictures Cole prompted months of protests in Wauwatosa.

Mensah resigned from the Wauwatosa Police Division the subsequent and is now a Waukesha County sheriff’s deputy, the AP says.

RELATED: Former Wisconsin Policeman With Record Of Fatal Shootings Hired As Sheriff’s Deputy

Prosecutors, led by Milwaukee County District Legal professional John Chisholm, had cleared Mensah of taking pictures Anderson as effectively. After preliminary expenses towards Mensah have been dropped, Anderson’s attorneys discovered an obscure authorized possibility that forces a continuing towards Mensah much like a grand jury, the place a decide hears proof and decides whether or not to cost Mensah. A Milwaukee decide may cost Mensah this Friday (June 25).

Anderson’s father, Jay Anderson Sr., referred to as the listening to “a blessing to me and my household.”

Kimberley Motley, an legal professional representing the Gonzales, Anderson and Cole households, stated she discovered the uncommon authorized possibility when researching an possibility much like a grand jury referred to as the John Doe possibility. A piece of the John Doe legislation permits residents to ask a decide to make use of the choice when a prosecutor declines to file expenses. In a John Doe listening to, the citizen or their legal professional can query witnesses in entrance of the decide with no cross-examination. The decide can then determine whether or not to challenge expenses, and appoint a particular prosecutor to deal with the case.

Motley filed a petition for the John Doe listening to in February 2021, claiming that Anderson by no means touched the gun on his passenger seat. She additionally argued that no Wauwatosa officer in addition to Mensah has killed anybody within the line of obligation within the final decade, and referred to as the 19 photographs Mensah fired within the three shootings “a rare quantity.”

Milwaukee County Circuit Choose Glenn Yamahiro agreed to open an investigation, and heard testimony at 5 public hearings. Mensah didn’t testify at a listening to, invoking his Fifth Modification proper towards self-incrimination. Mensah’s legal professional, Jon Ceremele, stated in February that Mensah acted in self-defense.

RELATED: Wisconsin Cop With History Of Shootings Won’t Face Charges In Killing Of Black Teen

In accordance with the AP, citizen-initiated John Does occur a couple of times a decade in Wisconsin, and haven’t been used towards cops in latest historical past. Not less than six different states, together with Kansas, Nebraska and North Dakota, have comparable legal guidelines that permit citizen-initiated grand juries.

Motley is contemplating whether or not to pursue the John Doe course of for Cole and Gonzales as effectively. She stated Anderson’s case may function precedent for different households to pursue accountability towards cops if prosecutors decline to file expenses.

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