Madison police officer shoots black teenager following altercation Friday

Madison police officers blocked off the 1100 block of Williamson Street while protesters chanted, sang, and prayed at the edge of the perimeter. 

Image By: Thomas Yonash

After a Madison Police Department officer shot teenager Tony Robinson in an apartment on the 1100 block of Williamson Street Friday evening, a crowd of nearly 150 gathered at the scene to protest what they said was another example of racial injustice.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said Officer Matt Kenny shot and killed a 19-year-old black man Friday evening, according to footage from a press conference published by Channel 3000. The family of the victim identified him as Anthony Robinson.

Koval said MPD received a report that Robinson was responsible for a recently committed battery. The first responding officer arrived at the apartment the man had entered and heard a "disturbance" coming from inside. The officer then forced his way into the building, where Robinson allegedly assaulted him.

"In the context of mutual combat in that sense, the officer did draw his revolver and subsequently shot the subject," Koval said.

At the time of the press conference, police did not know if Robinson had a weapon, although an initial investigation ruled out the presence of a gun.

Koval said the officer immediately aided Robinson with CPR, along with help from backup officers. He was taken to a hospital, where he died of the gunshot wounds.

The responding officer was knocked down by a blow to the head, but Koval said at the press conference, the officer would be treated and ultimately released.

State law mandates that an independent investigation be conducted. MPD froze the scene until the state Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation arrived.

Officers at the scene said DOJ investigators had arrived before 11:30 p.m.

"This is completely their oversight," Koval said. "We will only supplement their needs as they request it."

He said MPD will not have an instrumental role in the investigation.

"In light of so [many] things that have happened not just across this country, but in our own community, it's understandable that the reaction at the scene amidst some of our citizens is extremely volatile, emotional and upsetting," Koval said.

Demonstrators arrived on Williamson Street shortly after the incident, where they remained for several hours, chanting, singing and praying for Robinson's family.

Shortly before midnight, Robinson's grandmother, Sharon Irwin, and aunt, Lorien Carter, addressed the crowd.

"He [Robinson] wouldn't hurt a fly," Irwin said. "He was unarmed. Why would you shoot him five times? What happened to your taser gun?"

Carter said family members were not allowed to see Robinson after he was pronounced dead.

"We were told he was evidence," Carter said. "He wasn't referred to as 'his son' or 'your son,' just 'evidence.'"

Robinson's family said he had just graduated early from Sun Prairie High School and was planning on studying business at Madison College.

Protest organizers relocated the crowd to the City/County Building, where they said police were holding two demonstrators who had been detained from the scene earlier in the evening.

Police locked the doors to the building after half the group had already entered. They staged a sit-in along the halls of the building while the others chanted outside and knocked on the doors to the building.

The two protesters were released before 1:30 a.m., and the combined group of roughly 150 dissipated.

Irwin said she believed her grandson's death was part of a larger national issue and similar to cases in Ferguson, Mo. and Miami Gardens, Fla.

"This can't go on anymore," Irwin said. "It's going on across the United States and it's ridiculous. You don't have a license to kill. You have a license to protect, and that's not what I'm seeing."

Above all, family members asked for nonviolent demonstrations, like the one Friday night, to continue.

"Protest peacefully, please," Carter asked. "Stand up, but stand up peacefully."

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