Jay-Z’s social justice initiative Team Roc has called for a Wisconsin police officer to be fired and prosecuted, after he shot and killed three people while on duty.
Joseph Mensah, of Milwaukee suburb Wauwatosa, killed Alvin Cole, Antonio Gonzales and Jay Anderson in three separate incidents between 2015 and 2020.
He is under review for the most recent killing, of Cole, but the earlier two were deemed self-defence and he did not face charges.
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“How many more people have to die at the hands of Officer Joseph Mensah?” asked Team Roc in a full-page open letter to district attorney John Chisholm in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, also published on Twitter.
“Nineteen shots and three deaths in five years are not a pattern of accidents.” They also call for officers to be equipped with body cameras.
Police claimed that Gonzalez, who had a history of mental health problems, was wielding a sword when officers arrived at his apartment – Mensah and another officer fired on Gonzalez, and Mensah was later awarded a Medal of Valor by his police department.
Mensah claimed Anderson reached for a gun when he approached Anderson’s car, where he was sleeping, though Anderson’s family dispute this.
In the Cole case, police claimed that Cole shot first during a police chase following a disturbance at a shopping centre – Cole’s family also dispute this version of events.
The Mensah case is the latest that Jay-Z and Team Roc have recently intervened in. In January and February, they filed two lawsuits against Mississippi prisons for their “barbaric” conditions.
In June, Jay-Z signed a letter calling for justice for Ahmaud Arbery, the Georgia man who was shot and killed in February while jogging, and chartered a private jet for his legal team to attend a court hearing.
Earlier this week, Jay-Z’s annual Made in America music festival, due to take place in early September, was cancelled.
“Collectively we are fighting parallel pandemics, Covid-19, systematic racism and police brutality,” his company, Roc Nation, said in a statement.
“Now is the time to protect the health of our artists, fans, partners and community, as well as focus on our support for organisations and individuals fighting for social justice and equality in our country.”