(The Center Square) – A pair of Republican lawmakers say law and order must be enforced, and the groups of angry people who are in the streets of Wisconsin must be held accountable.
Both Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, and Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, on Monday wrote open letters opposing the “mob rule” they say they saw Saturday night at Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah’s home.
“The mob attack, in fact an assassination attempt, on Officer Mensah is appalling. 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.
“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,” Wanggaard added.
Wauwatosa Police say a group of as many as 60 people went to Mensah’s home Saturday night, vandalized it, and attacked him when he stepped outside. Officers say someone fired a shotgun blast through Mensah’s back door.
Mensah is being targeted because he has been involved in three police shootings since 2016. Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson and Antonio Gonzales all died in the shootings.
Mensah has been cleared in the deaths of Anderson and Gonzales. Anderson died in 2016 after he went for a gun during a traffic stop. Gonzalez died in 2015 after he charged an officer while holding a sword. Cole’s shooting is still under investigation, but police said at the time that Cole had a pistol and fired at Mensah.
Wauwatosa’s Police and Fire Commission placed Mensah on leave last month as part of the first step toward firing him.
Kooyenga said the “mob” has made it clear they are coming for Mensah.
“We cannot have people taking justice into their own hands. However, this is what appears to be happening in Wauwatosa with the harassment of Officer Mensah,” Kooyenga said.
““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,” Wanggaard added.
Democratic state Rep. David Bowen, D-Milwaukee, sees it differently. He said on Monday that he was part of the crowd that went to Mensah’s home. He blames Mensah for what happened.
“The victim narrative put forth by Mensah and now the Wauwatosa Police Department is totally inaccurate, irresponsible and false. In my time at the protest in front of Mensah’s home, I personally felt threatened by his actions: spraying pepper spray into the crowd, yelling & inviting protestors to fight him, taking his big dog out to potentially attack people. What ‘responsible’ person, supposedly looking for a peaceful conversation, would do those things?” Bowen said in a statement.
Wauwatosa Police on Monday issued their own statement saying their evidence contradicts Bowen’s narrative.
Wanggaard said this is not about finger pointing, it is about making sure mob rule doesn’t spread and become even more violent.
“Every time the mob gets what it wants, it escalates, grows larger and more bold,” Wangaard said. “Someone is going to get killed or seriously injured, and the cycle of violence will get worse. It must end. And leaders in the community – both elected and otherwise – must say so and take action to end it. Their silence is deafening.”
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.