The attorney for the family of Jay Anderson Jr. filed a letter with the city of Wauwatosa's clerk's office Monday, Oct. 31 regarding the shooting of Anderson this past summer. The letter, called a notice of injury, was filed on behalf of the Anderson family and is a step toward pursuing a lawsuit.
"To reiterate what the family and others have demanded, it is time for the dash camera video to be released in order for the public to see for themselves what it shows during the seconds prior, at the time, and after the shooting death of Jay Anderson Jr.," attorney Jon Safran said in a news release.
The police officer named in the notice as the person responsible for the shooting is Joseph Mensah. Mensah was also involved in the shooting of Antonio Gonzales July 16, 2015 for which no charges were filed. The Wauwatosa Police Department has not yet released Mensah's name and has said that the officer involved in the Anderson shooting is on administrative duty.
The notice to the city cites "emotional injuries (for Mensah due to the Gonzales shooting) which required him to miss time from work, obtain mental health care, and also resulted in his filing an application for disability benefits with the city of Wauwatosa, which was ultimately denied."
In addition, the notice brings to the forefront some details of the shooting that are in dispute and takes the position the shooting of Anderson was caused by the mental state of Mensah and the lack of assistance the officer was given by the police department and the city of Wauwatosa. It states that June 23, 2016 near Madison Park, Mensah "was acting within the scope of his employment and under the color of law, involving the use of negligent and intentional inappropriate, unwarranted, excessive, improper, and unconstitutional acts."
The shooting is currently under investigation by the Milwaukee Police Department under the direction of the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office. Members of the Anderson family and friends have seen the dashcam footage but continue to say that the investigators and the city of Wauwatosa are holding back information that is pertinent to the case and the mental state of Mensah.
"The Anderson family was shown an enhanced version of the video that I asked the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation to examine," Milwaukee County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern said. "That is the video they saw in my office with their attorney Jon Safran. It is not new or expanded video ... It is approximately 20 seconds of video captured by the dash camera of the squad car of immediately after the shooting incident. So it is the same amount of time, it has just been visually enhanced."
The statement by Lovern was made prior to the filing of the notice of injury.
"It is our understanding that the Jay Anderson, Jr. video has been enhanced by the state at the family’s request, however, we do not have a copy of it and have not seen it," Wauwatosa Police Lt. Brian Zalewski said. "Consistent with our earlier position on this incident we will be making all records of this case available to the public, following Wisconsin Public Records protocols, when the DA’s office makes a final determination and issues a report. We ask everyone to withhold judgment until the full investigation is complete, and the entire record can be considered in its entirety when released to the public."
On Oct. 26, the family and friends of Anderson held a press conference to give an updated account of their perspective on the process of the investigation. Anderson family spokesperson Mike Kemet said that in the 20-second video the family was shown by the DA's office there is a second police vehicle that stops at the scene shortly after the shooting took place. Kemet said the second officer engages Mensah and has a conversation regarding what took place.
"That conversation does not match what (Mensah) wrote two days later in a written statement," Kemet said. "And that is a major problem."
Kemet added that the crime scene was disturbed which brings the presence of a weapon near or on Anderson into question. He said that the family is not holding a press conference to be in front of cameras, but is doing so to demand justice and transparency in the investigation.
"(Mensah) gets to go home," Kemet said. "Jay Anderson Jr. won't be coming home at all."
Safran said in addition to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the DA's office also gave the video to the FBI to see if they would be able to enhance it. As of now, neither Safran nor the family have heard from the DA's office regarding work on the video by the FBI.
Safran added that there has not been a response to the notice given to him nor the family from any of the entities involved in the case. He added that no response is required from those offices and is not expecting to hear from them unless Safran and the family take further steps in the pursuit of a lawsuit.