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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Independent investigators set to examine Tony Robinson shooting

The fatal shooting of Tony Robinson on Williamson Street Friday night will be investigated by an external agency, rather than the Madison Police Department, as per a state law approved last year.

State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, sponsored a bill with Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay last spring that requires the state Department of Justice to investigate all officer-involved deaths like Friday’s shooting. Law enforcement officers at the scene Friday said DOJ investigators arrived within hours of the shooting.

“Though this bill will not bring loved ones back, I am hopeful that it will establish a fairer, more transparent process for families and law enforcement,” Taylor said in a statement after the bill passed through the state Legislature. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with Rep. Bies on a bill that is so important to the people in my community and throughout the state.”

The law, signed by Gov. Scott Walker in April 2014, requires investigators to submit a report to the relevant district attorney at the conclusion of the investigation. The DA must then decide whether to press criminal charges against the officer involved in the incident. If the DA decides no charges are warranted, he or she must release the report to the public.

The bipartisan bill passed on unanimous voice votes in the state Assembly and Senate. Taylor said in the statement the law is the first of its kind to become a statewide policy.

Taylor was at a gas station across the street from the apartment building where Robinson was shot following an altercation with Madison police officer Matt Kenny. She said she heard multiple gunshots coming from inside the building.

The first time the law was applied to a police department was in the case of Dontre Hamilton, a black man shot 14 times by a Milwaukee police officer in April 2014.

The DA in that case decided not to press charges against the officer.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said at a press conference Saturday his officers would not be very involved in the investigation into Friday’s shooting.

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