Police officials have provided few updates in three months since the Jay Anderson killing in Wauwatosa (Tosa), Wisconsin. The 25 year old father and fiance was asleep in his car when an officer deemed it suspicious, then shot Anderson dead. Since then, Tosa police officials have done what they can to prevent the family from peacefully protesting alongside concerned residents. Cop Block contributors recently were invited to the Anderson’s household in Milwaukee. They shared both their fears that the case is being aggressively covered up, and accounts of stalking and harassment by local police.
Linda and Jay Anderson Sr. have held peaceful demonstrations blasting Tosa PD’s lack of transparency in the killing. Their son, 25 year old Jay Anderson Jr., was shot by a WPD officer on June 23d at around 3am. Anderson was allegedly sleeping in his car when police approached after deeming it suspicious. The officer, who remains officially unidentified, reportedly feared for his safety.
Wauwatosa Chief Barry Weber gave reporters initial details on the scene, but didn’t know why the officer was afraid. Weber also admitted he hadn’t talked to the officer personally, and didn’t say where initial details came from.
It was later disclosed that Anderson was thought to be armed, though this isn’t confirmed. The Anderson family began protests a week or so later, after the WPD didn’t hold a press conference. For three months since, the Milwaukee Police Department has been investigating, rather than the DOJ (Department Of Justice).
Cop Block contributors missed the first protest, which brought around 200 people together. It was held at Tosa’s Mayfair Mall, marching from there to the WPD station and back. SWAT teams from several departments–including Tosa–stormed the mall, allegedly with their badges covered up. No violent confrontation was had, and protests have remained peaceful to date. Not a single arrest, in fact, has been made in relation to the protests despite ongoing threats by the WPD.
On August 27th, the Andersons held a peaceful demonstration at Madison Park, where Jay died. Cop Block contributors attended this protest, and witnessed activists distributing fliers to neighbors. These warned residents that the officer was still at work, disclosing his name as Joseph Mensah. Cop Block became the first and, as of yet, the only media outlet to publish Mensah’s name.
Linda Anderson, Jay’s Mother, stated they’d learned Mensah bounced around three departments in five years. He’d also shot the individual last year who brandishing a sword at officers. Chief Weber held a press conference for this shooting, which he attended and provided a statement. According to the family, following that shooting Mensah’s requests for counselling and disability were denied by the WPD. The 26 year old officer has two killings under his belt in a year. Wauwatosa PD has denied Cop Block open records requests pertaining to Mensah and the shooting.
Contributors were able to visit the Anderson’s at their home in Milwaukee, north of Madison Park. When asked about how they’re coping, they agreed that “we’ve lost a lot because of this.” “You think it gets a little better,” says Mrs. Anderson, “but then it always just, goes back down again.” Mr. Anderson said Mensah “tore our family up”, conceding that “we just gotta deal with this for the rest of our lives.”
They stated footage captured from that night has been sent to the feds for enhancement. Although hopes are high, Mr. Anderson fears the city will attempt to justify the killing. Months ago, Barry Weber told reporters he didn’t believe body cam footage existed of the shooting. It remains unclear exactly how the footage was captured.
Mrs. Anderson stated Mensah “said in the report [Mensah’s statement] that he couldn’t get his audio and video on, and he had time to go through that car because my son was asleep.” Mensah allegedly then approached the car without waiting for backup, and didn’t detail why video or audio wouldn’t work.
His squad car’s camera was also not activated, the family says. “It also said that [Jay] got up and looked at him [Mensah]”, says Mrs. Anderson, “but then he fell back asleep. And the police officer knocked on the window again to get him up.” The Anderson’s believe Mensah didn’t leave in between knocks, as he reported seeing Jay’s heart beating fast prior to the second attempt.
Officer Mensah did claim to have seen a gun on the seat which ultimately pushed him to fire. A gun was allegedly recovered from the car, though, oddly en0ugh, no pictures were taken. “So they don’t even have proof that there was even a gun there,” says Mrs. Anderson. Whereas Mensah claimed the gun was loaded, a Milwaukee PD detective told Mr. Anderson it wasn’t. The Anderson’s state that although prints were detected on the weapon, it’s unknown who they belong to.
That night’s footage allegedly showed Jay, hands up, pointing down at something on the seat. He did this three times, Mr. Anderson says, and was shot the third time when he went a little too low. Mr. Anderson suspects his son was pointing towards a ringing phone, rather than a gun.
Some of the first shots from Mensah’s gun struck Jay’s head. When all was said and done, 13 shots had entered his body, four in the head. Back up arrived minutes later, at which point, all Tosa squad cameras “cut off at the same time”, says Mr. Anderson. “All at the exact same time.”
Chief Barry Weber, instead of speaking to the family in person, sends out his lieutenant’s to meet them. Both Linda and Jay Anderson Sr. say the lieutenant’s are normally rude and disrespectful. By comparison, they say detectives from Milwaukee PD have been more professional. Mensah is reportedly back on desk duty, and hasn’t had counseling to the Anderson’s knowledge.
The couple then moved to their most recent protest at Mayfair mall, and the WPD’s conduct. Although Cop Block contributors couldn’t attend, a videographer was sent to cover the event. The footage from that day is currently being uploaded, and will be shared on Cop Block network when ready.
“This last time we tried to march at Mayfair”, recalls Mr. Anderson, “they had dogs and everything. They were ready for us.” Protesters were told that they weren’t allowed to march in the mall and especially not to say anything out loud. Mrs. Anderson says she was told that if they protested out loud, then either her or Jay’s fiance “will be the first one’s that they take to jail.” She recalls a WPD lieutenant telling them this, as dogs sat out of people’s way nearby. Exactly why WPD felt it necessary to bring dogs other than intimidation is unknown.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Anderson also reported harassment by local police since Jay was killed. Each month, on the day he died, Milwaukee cruisers ride through their neighborhood. This normally happens in the morning when they’re going to work, or the afternoon when they come home. According to the family, this amount of activity was highly uncharacteristic for the area before Jay was killed.
“There were two cops sitting there waiting for us one time”, says Mr. Anderson, who’d just had surgery for a burst hernia. He say’s the ailment was worsened by his son’s death, as well as ongoing harassment. “I went to the store”, he recalls, “and they rolled passed and waved. That was Milwaukee police, they were trying to see what we were going to do. And then they sat at the corner.”
Both the entire family and activists assisting their cause have also experienced identical phone malfunctions. They state the malfunctions began a week or so after Jay died, following initial protests.
“The first couple months,” says Mrs. Anderson, “our phones were turning off, they were getting stuck on the screen, you couldn’t call out, you weren’t getting incoming calls, we weren’t getting our incoming texts,” and so on. “Everyone,” they say, has had malfunctions including local activists, sympathetic residents, their daughter, Jay’s grandmother, and themselves. Following protests, the WPD also reportedly stops those who attended asking if they were protesting.
Where things go down the rabbit hole is a bit of news the DA had for the Andersons. Tosa PD’s lack of transparency in the killing is so blatant that local families have begun backing them. The author has personally witnessed residents who initially backed WPD, sway their opinion due to the lack of response by police. To some extent, it’s as if he shooting never happened, and that disturbs some residents. Plainly put, many people, including politicians, are suspicious of Tosa PD’s behavior.
When the Andersons met with the District Attorney, it was suggested that the mayor of Wauwatosa wanted to meet them. The Andersons state she wants to show her sympathies, but is under pressure from unnamed police officials to not do so publicly. Cop Block writers will attempt to substantiate these claims involving higher level politicians.
An update was published days ago relaying Mrs. Anderson’s gnawing, yet understandable frustrations. The sickening feeling wrought by Jay’s death has only turned to disgust as time passes. Still, the Wauwatosa PD hasn’t so much as mentioned protests or the shooting on their Facebook page. It’s instead a smiley display filled with thank yous and donations, ignoring the reputation residents know the WPD maintains.
The Andersons, in their continued fight, call on concerned citizens to demand transparency. Not just in their case, but in many others which the public have been shut out from in Wauwatosa. People don’t know what’s really happening in their own back yards, and they’re finally starting to care. Now it’s the WPD’s responsibility to respond to the people they’re sworn to respect, and protect.
Police Comics #2 Nm 9.4