Dane County DA to announce decision in shooting by policeman

TODD RICHMOND, AP writer

A Dane County prosecutor said he will announce on May 12 whether charges will be filed against a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 19-year-old biracial man in Madison.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne had promised to give the public advance notice of the announcement in the case of Madison Officer Matt Kenny, who shot 19-year-old Tony Robinson in an apartment on March 6. Ozanne issued a brief statement on the weekend saying he would make his findings public on May 12.

Police have said Kenny was responding to reports that Robinson had assaulted two people and was running in traffic. Investigators said Robinson attacked Kenny but other details haven’t been released.

Racial tension between police and minorities has been running high in several U.S. cities, most recently in Baltimore, where riots erupted after the funeral for Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. Other high-profile cases of officers killing unarmed black residents include the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York City; Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina, and Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee.

Six officers involved in Gray’s death have been charged, as has the officer who killed Scott. Grand juries declined to charge the officers involved in Brown’s and Garner’s deaths.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice investigated Robinson’s death under a state law that requires an outside agency to lead probes into officer-involved shootings. Ozanne said he received the last investigative reports from the agency on April 13 and has been mulling a decision since then.

The shooting has sparked multiple street protests led by the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition. The protests have been peaceful, although demonstrators have demanded Kenny be fired and charged with homicide. They also have said they don’t trust Ozanne, saying he’s part of a corrupt criminal justice system that targets blacks.

Police arrested at least four protesters in April after they blocked one of Madison’s main thoroughfares for eight hours.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, was in Israel on May 10. Asked if Walker plans to cut the trip short to be in Wisconsin when the decision is announced, Jocelyn Webster, a spokeswoman for Walker’s office, said in an email: “There have been peaceful demonstrations in the past and we expect that to be the case in the future. As always, Governor Walker is in regular contact with executive staff, regardless of his location.” 

Young, Gifted and Black statement issued …

The following statement was issued by the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition:

Out of respect for Tony Robinson’s family, Young Gifted and Black will not hold an action tomorrow (May 12) after District Attorney Ismael Ozanne makes his announcement regarding whether officer Matt Kenny will be charged with the death of 19-year-old black teenager Tony Robinson. We call community members to use Tuesday to remember Tony and reflect on the complex ways state violence impacts Black lives. 

We will resume our actions on Black Out Wednesday, the first day of action in Black Spring, a national movement for Black Liberation. Black Spring recognizes the death of Tony as connected to the killings of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Mya Hall, Tamir Rice, and Aiyana Jones. It is a movement that recognizes the poverty, mass incarceration, evacuated education systems, and physical and mental health struggles that Black people face all as injuries incurred in the war against Black people across in America. The long winter is over. It is time to grow and move in to spring, demonstrating resistance and resilience against the assault on Black people in Madison and across the country. 

We ask workers, students, families, and community members who share our vision to stand up for Black lives as a part of this Black Spring movement, and Walk Out on Black Out Wednesday. More information on the events of Black Out Wednesday will be released.