The Department of Justice will not be filing charges against Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah in the shooting death of Jay Anderson Jr.
Anderson was shot and killed by Mensah June 23, 2016 in Madison Park in Wauwatosa.
A news release from Anderson family attorney Jonathan Safran said he and the Anderson family were informed Feb. 16 that the U.S. Attorney's Office for Eastern Wisconsin reviewed the case and are declining to prosecute Mensah.
The office had been reviewing the case for a potential civil rights violation but found "no reasonable basis for a criminal prosecution," according to a letter to Safran from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Safran said the Anderson family is "extremely upset and disappointed" with the decision.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney's office had announced in December that it would not be filing charges against Mensah.
A dashcam video from Mensah's squad released by the Wauwatosa Police Department shows Mensah shooting into Anderson's car six times, killing him while in the driver's seat. The investigative synopsis from the Wauwatosa Police Department said that there was a gun in the front passenger seat and that Anderson was "lunging" for the weapon, prompting Mensah to shoot.
Safran said the Anderson family disagrees.
"The facts in this case reflect that Anderson was asleep in a car ... and had been asleep for some time, and he was not doing anything wrong or bothering anyone until Officer Mensah interacted with him," Safran said.
Safran and the Anderson family are disputing the presence of a handgun that the PD, the DA and now the Department of Justice say that Anderson had with him that evening.
"The Anderson family has seen no accountability to date for Jay's death," Safran said. "It appears that the only way for the full facts to be analyzed and the accountability to be provided will be by way of a federal civil rights lawsuit to be filed by Jay Anderson's children in federal court."
Safran said he will discuss with the family the process of pursuing such a lawsuit after receiving completed documents by two law enforcement agencies. It was not specified in the release which two agencies he was referencing.
In a Feb. 16 letter to Safran announcing the decision not to file federal charges, the DOJ said there are a number of pieces of evidence that corroborate Mensah's version of the events leading to the shooting. The DOJ said police found the gun on the front passenger seat and that Anderson's DNA was later found on the gun. They said that there is not any evidence to counteract Mensah's explanation that he shot Anderson to protect himself due to the presence of a loaded gun and that Anderson "kept reaching for it despite the officer's command not to do so."