Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

No charges for Wisconsin Officer who fatally shot unarmed teenager

2015-05-13 02:04:25

Matt Kenny and Tony RobinsonTony Robinson (right) was fatally shot on March 6 by Madison Police officer Matt Kenny (left)

The district attorney in Madison, Wisconsin, said Tuesday that no charges would be filed against a police officer in the March shooting death of an unarmed biracial teen.

District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said his review of evidence led him to conclude that the police officer's actions amounted to "lawful use of deadly police force.''

Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny fatally shot Tony Robinson, 19, after responding to a 911 call March 6, setting off a series of non-violent protests. The shooting came days after the U.S. Justice Department issued a report accusing the police force in Ferguson, Mo., of a pattern of racial profiling and discrimination.

At a news conference, Ozanne went into considerable detail outlining the facts in the case, saying 19-year-old Tony Robinson was behaving erratically and reportedly had taken drugs. He said Robinson had assaulted other people and the officer before Kenny fired.

The district attorney said the officer fired seven shots, all striking Robinson.

"My decision is not based on emotion. Rather this decision is based on the facts,'' said Ozanne, who noted that he is himself of biracial heritage.

The family of Robinson has hired its own investigator and planned a march to the state Capitol after Ozanne's announcement.

"This is politics and not justice,'' said Sharon Irwin, Robinson's grandmother.

An attorney for the family, Jon Loevy, said the family was disappointed and challenged the officer's account of events.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions about the shooting,'' he said.

Police Chief Mike Koval said the tragedy unfolded with Kenny among officers who responded to a complaint that someone had been jumping in front of cars and attacking people. Kenny pursued Robinson to an apartment, heard a commotion inside and went in, Koval has said.

Koval said Robinson attacked Kenny, who shot him in the head, torso and right arm. Kenny's lawyer, Jim Palmer, said Kenny was punched in the head and suffered a concussion.

Turin Carter, Robinson's uncle, urged calm in the days after the shooting. "We want no further tension with police officers because ... this was an individual act,'' he said. "I trust Wisconsin and the way they're handling the investigation."

Later, however, the family questioned the fairness of the probe being conducted by the state Department of Justice.

"I'm expecting a non-indictment, but I'm still hoping for justice," Carter told CNN on Tuesday. He declined to give his opinion on what happened. "But I think a reasonable person can look at the situation and say there is enough uncertainty that this is something that should go to trial."

Robinson had recently begun serving three years on probation after pleading guilty in October to armed robbery. Kenny shot and killed another suspect eight years ago in what Koval described as a suicide-by-cop. Kenny was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case and ultimately won a commendation.

Kenny has been on paid leave since shooting Robinson.

Koval apologized in an online blog post days after the shooting.

"Reconciliation cannot begin without my stating 'I am sorry,' and I don't think I can say this enough. I am sorry," Koval wrote. "I hope that, with time, Tony's family and friends can search their hearts to render some measure of forgiveness.

"Certainly, this will not take place soon given the circumstances. It may take some time for this loop to close but I pray that it will, in fact, close."


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