The use of deadly force by a Wisconsin police officer in the shooting of Tony Robinson, Jr., a black 19-year-old unarmed man, was ruled justified by the district attorney’s office. “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. The police union was in agreement with Tuesday’s announcement and believes the facts supported the use of deadly force.
Matt Kenny, a Madison, Wisconsin police officer, who is white, fatally shot Mr. Robinson on March 6th. The death came while the tension over the deaths by police officers of unarmed blacks has the nation in turmoil.
“We believe the District Attorney’s decision today to exonerate Officer Matthew Kenny was appropriate,” Wisconsin Professional Police Association Executive Director Jim Palmer said in a statement. “The exhaustive, independent and transparent investigation into this tragic incident has confirmed that Officer Kenny’s actions on the night of March 6th were lawful and in response to a deadly threat, from which Officer Kenny sustained numerous injuries, including a concussion.”
Deciding not to charge Officer Kenny set off criticism from Robinson’s family who spoke to reporters after the decision was rendered by the district attorney’s office. “This is politics, and not justice.” Sharon Irwin, the grandmother said.
Andrea Irwin, Robinson’s mother, had to leave the courtroom when the announcement came down. “I’m heartbroken and I’m angry.” she told a reporter. “I’m more than upset, almost something that I can’t even describe right now.”
The family is being praised for their emphatic plea that protests be responsible and not violent. Amid demonstrations with banners that state “Black Lives Matter” and chants of “No justice – No peace – No racist police”, the black population seems to believe they are being singled out as a race. However, the police have no control over which race breaks the law, or which race becomes a threat when they attack an officer. Police deal with disturbances on a case-by-case basis, and respond as they have been trained, to try to protect lives and stop violence. Being a police officer does not mean that you are to sit calmly while someone attacks you, as Tony Robinson, Jr. was doing to officer Matt Kenny on the fateful night.
Toxicology reports confirmed that Robinson had taken hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana and Xanax before the shooting, and several 911 calls came in to the Madison emergency services stating that Mr. Robinson was acting “insane” and attacking people. Officer Kenny responded to calls indicating that Robinson was jumping in front of cars and assaulting people. After hearing commotion in the apartment he was called to, he entered and Robinson knocked him into an inside wall. This account was later supported by damage shown to have been sustained to drywall in the residence. “Several shots hit Robinson at close range”, District Attorney Ozanne stated. It was learned that Officer Kenny had feared that Robinson was going to continually beat him and might obtain his gun. He opened fire as Robinson came at him in a crazed state. The shooting of Tony Robinson, Jr. was not anything but a police officer defending himself, a conclusion fully supported by the facts.