YGB rallies at Dane County Courthouse, criticizes Tony Robinson investigation

Family and friends of Tony Robinson marched to the Dane County Courthouse Monday and criticized the state Department of Justice’s investigation into the death of the 19-year-old teen. 

Protesters, organized by the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition, called for the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to conduct the investigation.

"We also want a truly independent investigation into the gross racial disparities in arrest rates, health and education of black Americans in Dane County, the worst offender in the nation," said YGB organizer Matthew Braunginn during a Monday press conference on the steps of the county courthouse.

Organizers said they called for an international effort because of their distrust of the American criminal justice system. 

"Right now, we don't have faith in the Madison Police Department's ability to justly handle this case and investigation, nor do we have faith in the United States government to handle this," said YGB leader Eric Upchurch, following the march that began at the scene of the shooting at an apartment on Williamson Street.

According to protesters, the practice of having former police officers work on investigations of police departments leads to unethical and biased outcomes, regardless of whether there is an independent prosecutor.

In compliance with a state law that requires outside agencies to investigate officer-involved shootings, the state DOJ has reviewed the case and given a report to Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. Ozanne must decide whether to press charges against MPD Officer Matt Kenny, who shot Robinson.

Speakers among the group said they do not trust Ozanne.

"They [investigators] have the right to release information as they see fit, and that's why we don't trust what they will say," said Jerome Flowers, who called for Ozanne to meet with the Robinson family before making a decision to indict Kenny. 

Despite their fear of no indictment, YGB organizers say that "an indictment itself is not justice."

If Ozanne decides no charges are warranted, the DOJ’s report must be released to the public. The MPD released documents Friday relating to Kenny's history with the police department as well as Robinson's police records.

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