When mobs rule

M.D. Kittle:

“Social Justice” has devolved into mob justice in Wauwatosa.

On Saturday, a mob of Black Lives Matter protesters “targeted” Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, venadlized his girlfriend’s home and fired a shotgun at the back door, according to a police report.

“Officer Mensah attempted to establish a dialogue with the group but was ultimately physically assaulted outside his home,” the report states, adding that the group was estimated between 60 and 70 people.

Mensah is on paid administrative leave while investigators look into the officer’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole. The black teen allegedly fired a handgun at officers at Mayfair Mall during the Feb. 2 shooting.

Mensah has fatally shot three men in five years; the two previous officer-involved shooting cases have been ruled justified, that Mensah acted in self-defense.

Black Lives Matter protesters have made Mensah the face of police brutality and social injustice in suburban Milwaukee, demanding the black police officer be fired and charged with homicide. They’ve received the backing of most on Wauwatosa’s woke city council.

Mensah detailed Saturday’s events on his Facebook page. His description is a harrowing account of mob justice.

“Last night, protesters came to my girlfriend’s house while I was there, and tried to kill me,” he wrote. The officer went on to write:

“I was unarmed and tried to defend my property and the property of my girlfriend. We were both assaulted, punched, and ultimately shot at several times. A shotgun round missed me by inches. Not once did I ever swing back or reciprocate any (of) the hate that was being directed at me. I am all for peaceful protests … even against me, but this was anything but peaceful. They threw toilet paper in her trees, broke her windows, and again, shot at both of us as they were trying to kill me. There are children that live there … The irony in all of this is that they chanted Black Lives Matter the entire time, but had zero regard for any of the black children that live there or me, a black man.

The Wauwatosa Police Department received assistance in disbursing the crowd from numerous neighboring agencies. Police say the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

As city officials continued to placate the mob, area lawmakers demanded an end to criminal violence excused as “peaceful protest.”

“The attack on Wauwatosa Police officer Joseph Mensah cannot be justified. It was not a ‘protest.’It was an attempt to circumvent two ongoing investigations and insert vigilante justice targeting his family, his neighbors, and those that may support him. It was fueled by hate, not legitimate action for change,” state Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), a former law enforcement agent, said in a press release Monday.

“No one should be targeted for violence and intimidation because of the job they hold – whether they are police officers, teachers, nurses, or referees – anyone.”

State Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) said the mob attack amounted to an assassination attempt on Mensah’s.

“I encourage local, state, and federal authorities to investigate the incident and bring all parties to justice. Arrests should be made of the shooter and all parties that trespassed on private property, witnessed the incident, and fled,” Kooyenga said.

Patch adds:

Wauwatosa Police issued a statement Tuesday refuting claims made by Rep. David over the events that took place Saturday outside of Joseph Mensah’s home.

“This includes inaccurate information and allegations contained in an official press release, from a State elected official who was outside of the home while criminal conduct and a shooting occurred,” a police statement released Tuesday said.

The incident in question happened Saturday when Joseph Mensah, a Black Wauwatosa police officer involved in three fatal shootings of people of color over the past five years, was attacked and allegedly shot while at home. Police said a group of 50-60 people showed up at the officer’s home near 100th Street and Vienna Avenue in the Milwaukee suburb around 8 p.m., “targeting” him.

The large group first vandalized the home and then became more violent, Wauwatosa police said in a Sunday’s news release.

“Officer Mensah attempted to establish a dialogue with the group but was ultimately physically assaulted outside his home,” police said in a statement. “As Officer Mensah retreated into his home, armed protesters approached the rear door and a single shotgun round was discharged by a member of the group into the backdoor,” Sunday’s release said.

In Tuesday’s statement, police said what occurred Saturday night was not an organized or peaceful protest. “It was a targeted, planned act of violence against one of our police officers and our community,” the release said.

Police said this is an active, on-going investigation and evidence continues to be gathered regarding the events of August 8th. Investigators are looking through a large amount of high quality, video footage from the scene and are working to identify suspects and vehicles involved in any illegal activity.

“At the point in the investigation probable cause is developed to support the arrests of individuals
involved, arrests will be made regarding this incident,” Tuesday’s statement said.

“The Wauwatosa Police Department will not stand by and allow this type of intimidating, aggressive, dangerous, illegal behavior to occur, especially under the guise of peaceful protests.” Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said in the statement.

The Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission has called a special meeting for August 14 at 11 a.m. The virtual meeting has no listed agenda yet.

The controversy over what happened has led to elected officials release statements. Wisconsin Rep. David Bowen, stated on Facebook he was there when the incident unfolded.

“What I observed on Saturday outside Officer Mensah’s home was an out-of-control, yelling & aggressive man that came out of his house with the goal to provoke peaceful protestors and incite violence,” Bowen’s statement said.

Bowen said Joseph Mensah “choosing to come out of his house aggressively to provoke these passionate people, many of whom have lost someone they loved, who want to change this broken system is disturbing. None of them displayed any behavior to welcome the provoking threats of violence by Joseph Mensah”.

Bowen called the narrative by Mensah and the Wauwatosa Police Department, “totally inaccurate, irresponsible and false”.

In Bowen’s statement, he said he felt threatened by Mensah’s actions such as “spraying pepper spray into the crowd, yelling and inviting protestors to fight him, taking his big dog out to potentially attack people”.

Bowen stated this was not the first protest in front of leaders’s homes such as Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber, Former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett all ended without incident.

“No one tried to kill him or his girlfriend. That’s a lie. No one tried to enter his home. That’s a lie. There weren’t several shots fired. Another lie. No protestor shot at the back door. That’s the biggest lie. Joseph Mensah chose to engage with a protestor, and pulled the trigger on that individual’s firearm,” Bowen’s statement said.

Wauwatosa Police Department posted a response to Bowen’s statement on Facebook.

“The Wauwatosa Police Department has seen Rep. Bowen’s statement, and the facts do not support his comments. The investigation remains open and ongoing. We anticipate releasing more information once it is completed,” the post said.

Mensah posted a Facebook statement on the incident:

“Last night, protesters came to my girlfriend’s house while I was there, and tried to kill me. I was unarmed and tried to defend my property and the property of my girlfriend. We were both assaulted, punched, and ultimately shot at several times. A shotgun round missed me by inches. Not once did I ever swing back or reciprocate any the hate that was being directed at me. I am all for peaceful protests, even against me, but this was anything but peaceful. They threw toilet paper in her trees, broke her windows, and again, shot at both of us as they were trying to kill me. There are children that live there any the knew that. The irony in all of this is that they chanted Black Lives Matter the entire time, but had zero regard for any of the black children that live there or me, a black man.”

Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride released a statement encouraging all members of the community “to reflect on their personal responsibility to engage in responsible and civil behavior.”

“In recent weeks, various groups have protested in Wauwatosa, demanding that Officer Mensah be fired. The City of Wauwatosa has always supported and protected the right to peaceful protest,” McBride said.

McBride said the incident was not a peaceful protest; it was criminal behavior.

The mayor said in his statement he is meeting with Police Chief Barry Weber, the city administrator, the city attorney, and other city officials to determine “which steps can be taken to ensure that Officer Mensah is fully protected and that criminal behavior of this kind will not happen again.”

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