Wisconsin’s ACLU: No Reason For Wauwatosa Police To Withhold Anderson Footage

Jay Anderson’s case is beginning to get some serious traction, with both the public and influential organizations. It’s not just leaked information which is noteworthy, it’s the cases complete lack of transparency. Since Wauwatosa PD won’t comment, however, Wisconsin’s ACLU will.

“The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin”, emailed a representative, “affirms the vital need for transparency” in Jay’s case. Cop Block contributors reached out to ACLU regarding the case, asking for their take on the killing.

Wauwatosa (Tosa) PD hides behind the ongoing investigation as valid grounds to essentially ignore public demands. Nearing five months old, it would’ve been forgotten by the public’s conscious if it weren’t for his family. Anderson’s mother, father, fiance, sister, cousins and others have done what WPD hasn’t–eagerly provided updates. From what footage was captured to the shooter’s  name, it’s all come from them.

During a recent interview with Cop Block, they said the DA handling the case is refusing to comment further. If that’s true, then he joins Tosa’s Mayor and WPD in a collective “loose lips sinks ships” approach.

When contributors emailed Mayor Kathleen Ehley, she claimed to be “legally restricted”, and couldn’t freely comment. Contributors, however, requested a general comment rather than confidential information. Exactly how Mayor Ehley is “legally restricted” to provide this is unclear.

WPD has also used the investigation’s status as grounds to withhold dash cam footage from that night. Only certain family members, including Anderson’s father, have seen the 20 second clip. They say it shows Jay, hands up and inebriated, before getting shot. His mother, fiance, and father all consistently assert nearly all the bullets struck Jay in the head.

“The ACLU of Wisconsin maintains there are no legitimate grounds to withhold videos once interviews with key witnesses have been completed. The ACLU of Wisconsin calls upon the Wauwatosa Police Department and District Attorney Chisholm to release the full dash cam video and audio and any other video from this incident.”– email from Director Chris Ahmuty

Since then, the footage has been enhanced by Wisconsin’s DOJ (Department Of Justice). Though another enhancement is being conducted by FBI, even the family’s lawyers agreed Anderson was never threatening.

WPD hasn’t released the shooters name, which the family leaked as Joseph Mensah. This was done during one of several protests the family has held throughout the Milwaukee suburb. The first of these demonstrations saw WPD deploy, alongside other departments, in SWAT gear.

Jay was killed at around 3 am on June 23d, while sleeping in his car. WPD claims Mensah was investigating a call regarding a suspicious car. When Mensah found Jay, WPD says he saw a gun, and feared for his safety. It’s unclear, however, at what point Mensah saw the gun, or if Jay ever reached for it.

According to the family, initial statements and one written the following day by Mensah didn’t match. Jay’s the second man killed by the young officer within a year. Anderson’s family claim Mensah appeared disturbingly calm, and cool after shooting in dash cam footage.

The gun reportedly recovered from Anderson’s car is another odd part of the story. Anderson’s fiance, Star Delarosa, described to contributors the many questions they have regarding the weapon. “They told us that there’s three people’s hand prints on the gun”, she said during an interview. No pictures were taken of the gun on the scene, only at the station, they say.

It was also reported that eight minutes of footage is missing from that night. Exactly what happened to it, or what it holds, is entirely unknown. The Andersons don’t even know if it was deleted, or lost through another means. They did, however, disclose why several people’s prints may have been detected on the pistol.

After backup arrived; explained Delarosa, “one officer walked around to the passenger side and took the gun out the car, and was walking around the park with it.” During the first interview, Mr. Anderson referenced evidence that all the backup’s cameras turned off simultaneously. Open records requests filed by Cop Block and Wauwatosa residents to WPD have largely been denied.

“The Wauwatosa Police Department”, says the ACLU’s director, “and the District Attorney’s Office have hidden the video from public review for long enough.” The organization concluded with calling “upon the Wauwatosa Police Department and District Attorney Chisholm to release the full dash cam video and audio and any other video from this incident.”

Many others, including Wauwatosa residents–and especially Anderson’s family–feel the case is being swept under the rug, or covered up. Regardless of what happened, Tosa PD’s lack of transparency is what concerns most. It makes people wonder what else has the department been doing in their name, but without their knowledge.

EPN

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Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a writer and freelance journalist native to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His writing can be found on Cop Block, The Pontiac Tribune, and The Fifth Column News. Video's produced by Isiah are published under the tag YungCartographer Productions.