Questions arise in court about what happened to Jay Anderson’s phones after 2016 shooting

By: - March 18, 2022 1:27 pm
Jay Anderson Sr. (left) and Linda Anderson (right), the parents of Jay Anderson Jr. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

Jay Anderson Sr. (left) and Linda Anderson (right), the parents of Jay Anderson Jr. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

A decision in the ongoing John Doe case involving the killing of Jay Anderson Jr. in 2016 is expected within weeks, special prosecutors said in court Friday. However, questions continue to linger about evidence collected by police after Anderson was shot by former Wauwatosa officer Joseph Mensah. Mensah is  now employed as a detective by the Waukesha County Sheriff’s office.

Anderson was the second person killed by Mensah within 11 months. Four years later, in 2020, Mensah was involved in a third fatal shooting. Charges weren’t issued in any of the shootings by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.

Police reports describe Mensah defending himself from Anderson who was lunging or reaching for a gun. However, the trajectory of shots Anderson sustained to the head didn’t indicate he was lunging. Video of the incident is limited to less than 30 seconds of mute dash footage. Wauwatosa officers who arrived at the scene after the shooting also tampered with evidence. Although only an outside agency could investigate the shooting under Wisconsin state law, Wauwatosa detectives canvassed the neighborhood for witnesses and wrote reports on their findings.

Attorney Kimberley Motley, who represents Anderson’s family, brought up another issue during Friday’s court hearing. Motley noted that Wauwatosa officers seized three phones from Anderson’s car after the shooting. Two of them belonged to Anderson, and another belonged to the mother of his fiance. The Wauwatosa Police Department extracted data from at least one of the phones, producing a more-than-2,300 page report on the phone’s contents. Just one of the phones police seized was returned to Anderson’s family. Motley learned of the phone extraction through the discovery process in a different court case.

The police did not turn over the data extraction report for the John Doe proceeding despite a subpoena for any and all records. Motley suspects the report would be “critical evidence to show, frankly, what Mr. Anderson was doing on his phone prior to his death.” Motley stated she intends on filing a motion of contempt with the court. “It’s clear that this report should have been made available to us,” said Motley, who also suspects that some photos and video are missing. “This report was created in July of 2016,” Motley stated, Scott Hansen, a special prosecutor in the case, also raised questions about the phones.

“One of the things we were curious about is whether, at the time of this incident, there might have been a phone ringing, or something that might have been a distraction that both the officer and the occupant of the car, Mr. Anderson, would have been aware of.” Hansen also noted that, “there were also two other cell phones that were recovered that night,” both of which remain missing. “As far as we know, no examination was conducted of them at the time, and we’re trying to track that down. That’s one of the loose ends.” Hansen stated that one of the phones was sent to Wauwatosa PD, and while MPD reports indicate two phones were returned to the Anderson family, the Anderson’s say they were only given one. “So far we’ve only accounted for one of them,” said Hansen. “There are some loose ends that we’re still trying to track down to make sure that we’re complete.”


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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets.