Prosecutor: No charges for officer in Tony Robinson case

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
District Attorney Ismael Ozanne of Dane County, Wisconsin, announced Tuesday, May 12, 2015 that no charges will be brought against Officer Kenny in the March 6 death of Tony Robinson.

District Attorney Ismael Ozanne of Dane County, Wisconsin, announced Tuesday, May 12, 2015 that no charges will be brought against Officer Kenny in the March 6 death of Tony Robinson.

MADISON, Wisconsin — Officer Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department will not face charges in the March shooting death of 19-year-old Tony Robinson, a biracial man who was unarmed when he was shot by police.

“I conclude that this tragic and unfortunate death was the result of a lawful use of deadly police force and that no charges should be brought against Officer Kenny in the death of Tony Robinson Jr.,” Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Tuesday.

“I am concerned that recent violence around our nation is giving some in our communities a justification for fear, hatred and violence,” Ozanne said. “I am reminded that true and lasting change does not come from violence, but from exercising our voices and our votes. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Violence brings only temporary change. Violence, by creating many more social problems than it solves, never brings permanent peace.’ ”

Before announcing his highly-anticipated decision, Ozanne noted his background as the first district attorney of color in the state, then detailed the evidence that led him to the conclusion that Kenny should not be charged.

“My decision will not bring Tony Robinson Jr. back,” Ozanne told reporters. “My decision will not end the racial disparities that exist in the justice system, in our justice system. My decision is not based on emotion. Rather, this decision is based on the facts as they have been investigated and reported to me.”

The district attorney detailed the series of 911 calls dispatchers received on March 6 before Kenny arrived at the scene, and Kenny’s account of what happened that day.

[Previous story, posted at 2:51 p.m. ET Tuesday]

(CNN) — A district attorney in Wisconsin is set to bring an end Tuesday to weeks of uncertainty about whether a police officer will face criminal charges over the killing of an unarmed biracial man.

Tony Robinson, 19, was fatally shot by a white officer on March 6 in Madison, setting off days of protests in the city. His death came amid lingering tensions over the killings by police elsewhere of other unarmed African-Americans that seized national attention.

After an investigation by state authorities, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is expected to announce Tuesday afternoon whether Officer Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department will face charges over the shooting.

The teen’s family will be listening, but they’re not sure what to expect, Robinson’s aunt, told CNN.

“My nephew, who was a victim, was criminalized locally as well as nationally. … It leads us to a diminished sense of faith in the system,” she said. “We are hopeful, but I do expect a non-indictment.”

The police department said in a statement Sunday that it has been preparing for Ozanne’s announcement for weeks, efforts that included holding meetings with community leaders.

“It is our hope — that working together — Madison can come through these challenging days ahead without violence or property damage,” it said.

Shooting at apartment

Police officials say that on the night of the shooting, Kenny was called to an apartment over reports that Robinson had been jumping in front of cars and assaulting people.

After hearing some commotion, Kenny forced his way into the apartment and was attacked by Robinson, according to police. Kenny responded by pulling out his gun and shooting Robinson, police officials say.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Robinson’s friends and family members have said he took hallucinogenic mushrooms and was behaving erratically the day he was killed. They reject the idea that Robinson was a threat to Kenny when he was shot, the newspaper reports.

Few details have been made publicly available about the confrontation between the two men.

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office said in a preliminary autopsy report that Robinson was shot in the head, torso and right arm.

Police say that Kenny suffered a blow to the head during the altercation. His attorney, Jim Palmer, said last week that Kenny was diagnosed with a concussion after the incident, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

State investigation

The district attorney’s announcement Tuesday is expected to shed more light on what happened that night.

The shooting was investigated by state authorities. That’s because of a Wisconsin law that requires officer-involved killings to be investigated by officials from outside the law enforcement agency employing the officer involved in the death.

Robinson’s uncle Turin Carter said in March that family members trusted state investigators to handle the case “with integrity.”

But weeks later, the family publicly questioned whether the investigation would be fair.

Robinson’s family has hired a Chicago law firm to carry out its own investigation into the shooting and commissioned a private autopsy, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

If the district attorney determines there are no grounds to prosecute Kenny, the Wisconsin law requires the investigators to release their report to the public.

Kenny has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

Previous incidents drew attention

Both Kenny and Robinson had incidents in their past that attracted attention after the shooting.

In 2007, Kenny shot and killed a man, Ronald Brandon, who was pointing a pellet gun at officers.

Kenny was exonerated of wrongdoing in that shooting and received a commendation.

Wisconsin Circuit Court documents indicate Robinson pleaded guilty in December to an armed robbery that occurred in April 2014.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval and Madison Mayor Paul Sogin said in March that discussion of Robinson’s record was inappropriate.

“The fact that Tony was involved in any kind of transgression in the past has nothing to do with this present tragedy,” Soglin said.

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

1 Comment

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.