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Hearing on Wisconsin officer’s fate will start in December

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A suburban Milwaukee police commission will begin deciding next month whether to discipline an officer who has killed three people in five years.

The Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission’s attorney, Chris Smith, set an evidentiary hearing for Officer Joseph Mensah for Dec. 16. He said the proceeding could last as long as several weeks.

Mensah, who is Black, fatally shot Antonio Gonzales in 2015 after Gonzales refused to drop a sword. He shot Jay Anderson Jr. in 2016 after he found Anderson sitting in a car in a city park after hours. He shot 17-year-old Alvin Cole in February during a foot chase outside a mall. Prosecutors said Cole fired a gun during the chase and refused to drop it as officers closed in on him.

Mensah has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in all three incidents. The decision not to charge him in Cole’s death in early October sparked several nights of protests in Wauwatosa, some of which turned violent.

The commission hired former federal prosecutor Steven Biskupic to investigate what internal discipline, if any, Mensah should face. Biskupic has recommended the panel fire him, saying the chance Mensah would kill a fourth person and expose the city to a costly lawsuit is too great.

Mensah’s attorney has argued the commission can’t fire him over something that hasn’t happened yet.

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