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Wisconsin Rep. Who Marched With Mob To Cop’s Home Poised To File $1M Lawsuit Against Police For Emotional Distress

Wauwatosa, WI – A Wisconsin state representative who led a mob of protesters to the home of a Wauwatosa police officer has begun the process of filing a $1 million lawsuit against the city and local police department for the “emotional distress” he said he suffered as a result of one of many marches he took part in.

Representative David Bowen (D-Milwaukee), routinely marched with protesters through the streets of Wauwatosa last year, WITI reported.

On one occasion on Aug. 8, 2020, Bowen and his fellow protesters congregated outside a home belonging to the girlfriend of Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, CNN reported.

The woman’s children were inside the residence at the time.

Officer Mensah was on administrative leave at the time after the family of a man killed in a justified officer-involved shooting in 2016 demanded the investigation be re-opened because the same officer had just fatally shot another armed suspect.

That shooting was also determined to be justified.

But on Aug. 8, members of a violent mob made an attempt on Officer Mensah’s life.

“Last night, protesters came to my girlfriend’s house while I was there, and tried to kill me,” Officer Mensah later explained in a since-deleted Facebook post. “I was unarmed and tried to defend my property and the property of my girlfriend. We were both assaulted, punched, and ultimately shot at several times. A shotgun round missed me by inches. Not once did I ever swing back or reciprocate any the hate that was being directed at me.”

“I am all for peaceful protests, even against me, but this was anything but peaceful,” the officer continued. “They threw toilet paper in her trees, broke her windows, and again, shot at both of us as they were trying to kill me. There are children that live there [and they] knew that. The irony in all of this is that they chanted Black Lives Matter the entire time, but had zero regard for any of the black children that live there or me, a black man.”

Police said that after protesters began vandalizing his girlfriend’s home, Officer Mensah attempted to talk to them, CNN reported.

He was assaulted by multiple individuals before he escaped back into the home.

Just as he got inside the house, someone in the angry mob fired a shotgun at the back door behind him, CNN reported.

Multiple police agencies responded to the scene to help break up the mob attack.

Although he was there, Bowen refused to provide police with a statement about the incident, according to Wisconsin Right Now.

Just over a month later, on Sept. 17, 2020, Bowen joined up with People’s Revolution leader Khalil Coleman for yet another march police described as “increasingly disorderly, agitated, and at times, violent,” WITI reported.

“I go to Black Lives Matter protests to ensure that citizens and their right to protest are respected and treated fairly,” Bowen told the news outlet in February.

Coleman has since been accused of trying to convince a juvenile to rob a drug house in Kentucky, according to Wisconsin Right Now.

Wauwatosa Police Department (WPD) dashcam footage showed Bowen, Coleman, and other protesters continuing to march, even after officers used an intercom system to alert the mob that the gathering had been declared “an unlawful assembly,” WITI reported.

They warned the group again three minutes later that they would be subject to arrest if they did not immediately leave the area, but their warning was ignored.

“Start identifying people,” an officer finally instructed over the radio, according to WITI. “Name ’em so we can identify ’em and issue citations later.”

“An unlawful assembly was declared in the 2600 block of Lefeber Ave. after a group of people on foot and in vehicles were blocking and obstructing the lawful use of public thoroughfares,” a WPD report on the incident read, according to Wisconsin Right Now.

“The group refused to disperse after three lawful orders were given by police,” the report continued. “Two identified participants will have charges referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office for Unlawful Assembly – Khalil Coleman… and David F. Bowen.”

The case was referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office to file charges of unlawful assembly against Bowen and Coleman, but WPD later dropped the referral, WITI reported.

The reason behind the decision to forgo the referral is unclear.

Civil rights attorney Kimberley Motley, who is representing Bowen, declared that because the WPD report referred to an “arrest” of her client and included a “booking number” even though he’d never been taken into custody, the WPD had reported a “fake arrest,” WITI reported.

“It’s bad enough that people of color in the city of Wauwatosa stopped by police have to worry about real arrests,” Motley lamented. “Now people of color have to worry about these ghost arrests.”

“It is corruption. Period,” she declared.

WPD Chief Barry Weber said the “arrest” label is simply “administrative and procedural,” WITI reported.

“When Wauwatosa Police Department personnel issue a non-traffic citation or refer subjects to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office for a charging review, they are listed in the incident report as ‘Arrested,’” Chief Weber noted.

“A sub-category in the ‘arrest entry’ indicates whether the subject was physically arrested and processed (on-view arrest), summoned/cited (not processed), referred for a ‘prosecutor review,’ or ‘taken into custody,’” he said.

But Bowen argued the report’s verbiage has caused him “emotional distress,” resulting in him filing a “notice of state law claims” against the WPD and the City of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin Right Now reported.

“Those are very dangerous allegations to try to make for someone that is in a leadership position and is black!” Bowen complained to WITI.

The notice of state law claims is a mandatory step in the lawsuit process, according to Wisconsin Right Now.

Bowen said the WPD and the city caused him both negligent and intentional “infliction of emotional distress, battery…and conspiracy to commit the claims provided.”

He is seeking $1 million in damages.

Bowen has also made federal claims that he was the victim of harassment, and complained he has “suffered significant pain and suffering, loss of income, reputation and future earnings” as a result of the “fake arrest,” Wisconsin Right Now reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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