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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Police release documents mentioning Tony Robinson, Matt Kenny

The Madison Police Department released hundreds of pages of police procedures and records Friday in response to open records requests made after Officer Matt Kenny fatally shot 19-year-old Tony Robinson.

Addressing several requests for records about Kenny and his history, police released reports of his job performance, including several commendations for his police work in dangerous situations.

Kenny was involved in another officer-involved shooting in July 2007. Madison resident Ronald Brandon had been waving a pellet gun in view of his family and his neighbors, who called the police. Kenny, believing the gun to be real and loaded, told Brandon to drop it. Brandon pointed the weapon at police and Kenny fatally shot him, according to reports filed by officers at the scene.

Then-Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard decided not to charge Kenny with any wrongdoing after reviewing the evidence. 

The records include only one disciplinary record, a letter reprimanding Kenny for leaving his loaded firearm in the bathroom of a Madison cafe two days later, where it was discovered by a customer and returned to police.

Police also released reports from incidents involving Robinson and his family. These included custody disputes between Robinson’s parents when he was an infant and a burglary at Robinson’s home in July 2014.

They also included records of an April 2014 armed robbery of a Madison residence Robinson was involved with. Robinson was arrested with four others and pled guilty to the charges.

MPD Lt. Anthony Bitterman said in a letter accompanying the released records that information about Tony Robinson or anyone else’s mental or physical health had been redacted, as per Wisconsin state statute.

“It is in the public’s best interests that persons with medical, mental health and substance abuse issues seek appropriate treatment for those conditions,” Bitterman wrote. “That interest would be undermined if such persons or their friends/family had to be concerned that seeking such treatment would make their information public knowledge.”

The state’s Department of Justice, which independently investigated Robinson’s death, completed its investigation two weeks ago. That report, which is not released to the public, was handed over to Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne’s office to determine whether charges will be brought against Kenny.

Ozanne’s decision is expected in the coming weeks or months.

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