Protesters fill Capitol, Fire & Police Commission meeting following officer-involved shooting of Tony Robinson

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MADISON (WITI/AP) — Protesters jammed the Capitol in Madison Monday, March 9th to demonstrate against the officer-involved shooting of a 19-year-old man. It was the fourth straight day of demonstrations. Later Monday, demonstrators filled the Police and Fire Commission meeting in Madison.

Tony Robinson

Tony Robinson

Many in Madison are making a heartfelt plea for change as they are outraged another life has been lost at the hands of a police officer. They say they will not rest until justice is served.

Scores of protesters, including many area high school students who skipped class, stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the rotunda as well as on the first and second floors. A Department of Administration spokesman tells FOX6 News 1,500 were present at the Capitol for the demonstration.

Meanwhile, students staged a walkout at the city’s East High School after classes.

Dozens of students marched down East Washington toward the state Capitol Monday morning. Traffic was detoured as the students walked down the otherwise busy street with banners and signs. At least two police squads escorted the students during their march.

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"I think it's very important. I think the country needs to hear from our young people. The fact that these kids got up and wanted to be out there, to do it in a peaceful way, it represents the fabric of our community," a demonstrator said.

Officer Matt Kenny

Officer Matt Kenny

Madison Officer Matt Kenny shot 19-year-old Tony Robinson on Friday. Kenny was responding to a call of a man jumping in and out of traffic after assaulting someone. Kenny broke into the apartment where Robinson had gone — police said he heard a disturbance inside — and shot Robinson during a confrontation. Police say Robinson attacked the officer.

Robinson did have a criminal history. Wisconsin Circuit Court documents indicate Robinson pleaded guilty in December to an armed robbery that occurred last April.

On Monday, Robinson's family, and Madison's mayor and police chief spoke out.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval says the Madison Police Department's morale is strained, but he says he has confidence the shooting wasn't racially motivated, and his officers didn't profile.

Tony Robinson was bi-racial.

"I don`t think we have a problem perse. We have 445 cops. We hire a lot of people -- high quality, high caliber character, very well rounded, very well educated, articulate -- many from a social science background. They understand a lot of what we deal with are behavior manifestation of human conditions deeply routed in, so there is a suspension of judement on the part of many of these officers. If I have rouge cops, I feel confident their peer group will turn them in because there is no tolerance for that," Chief Koval said.

"Our hands are stained with the blood of my nephew, and we are all left to deal with the aftermath. This is a bigger issue than Tony. This is truly a universal issue. I encourage everybody to show support regardless of race because this is truly a universal issue. We don't want to stop at just 'black lives matter,' because all lives matter," Robinson's uncle, Turin Carter told reporters on Monday.

Per Wisconsin law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating this shooting. Chief Koval says as that investigation continues, the focus should be on the life that has been lost.

On Monday evening, a regularly-scheduled meeting of the Madison Police and Fire Commission took place, and that meeting turned into an opportunity for citizens to voice their concerns to city officials.

The board did not comment on the officer-involved shooting of Tony Robinson, but board members did allow an extended period for citizens to voice their concerns.

"This little boy had nothing to do with it. You have tasers. You have walkie-talkies to call for backup," one of those who spoke at the meeting said.

Madison's Police and Fire Commission is made up of five citizen members. Two were absent from Monday's meeting.

"The mothers I talk to that have kids in the exact same age group are traumatized," one of those who spoke at the meeting said.

The PFC doesn't deal with general administration issues, but it does take up matters involving the demotion or discharge of an officer. The board acts as judge and jury and not as an investigative unit.

"The system is flawed. You have to look at it and find a way to make it better," one of those who spoke at the meeting said.

The PFC's attorney says for legal reasons, the board cannot comment on the shooting, but for hours Monday, they listened. The board won't be able to comment on this matter unless charges are filed or the police chief recommends some sort of disciplinary action for Officer Kenny.

"We see this vicious murder of Tony Robinson as an act of police terror against black folks and a form of genocide," one of those who spoke at the meeting said.

A disruption from one man quickly turned into an example by Madison resident Brandi Grayson, who organizes a group called "Young, Gifted and Black."

"His presence in this room was a perfect example -- not one second was I afraid," Grayson said.

Grayson and others are demanding not only that Officer Kenny be fired, but that the Madison Police Department draft a policy regarding the use of deadly force.

"The police force shouldn't be the ones escalating the violence in confrontations," one of those who spoke at the meeting said.

Some at Monday's meeting demanded that the city pay for Robinson's funeral.

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11 comments

  • don ahued

    One would think that in such an educated city there would be enough literate people to know the difference between a color of dark blue or purple, “perse,” and the Latin “per se.” Then again you got another color wrong. “Rouge” is a tint of red. Unless the policeman was colorful, I think you meant “rogue.”

    • Erica

      Thank you. Both errors demonstrate a failure to proofread. Why do people attempt to use words they haven’t got a clue how to spell?

  • Mr. Bob

    Madison Police Chief Mike Koval says the Madison Police Department’s morale is strained, but he says he has confidence the shooting wasn’t racially motivated, and his officers didn’t profile.
    The reason the morale is strained on your department is because of your actions in throwing Officer Kenny under the bus you spineless jellyfish cowardly weasel koval…

  • Mr. Bob

    A quote by one of the protestors that I saw on the news last night was how they were a part of history. Too much TV watching is going on here. They see the people in Selma over the weekend recognizing the 50th anniversary of that protest march for civil rights and they are trying to emulate that with this little protest. Big difference here folks, these people in Madtown are protesting on behalf of a violent individual who attacked a police officer and had to be shot to save the officer’s life. The people in Selma had a very good cause to demonstrate against. The people in Madtown just want their 15 minutes of fame exactly like the Hamilton family.

    • ltdarkstar

      What’s sad about this whole thing as there would be no protest or issues if the officer was a “black” officer. What is going on here is the black community is racist and looking to start a race war. The whole “Black lives matter” is nothing more than racist propaganda.

  • Cheri

    Does that surprise you? Sure doesn’t surprise me. I wonder if they are being paid by cash or cigarettes this time. I am betting some of the Democratic teachers asked their “Liberal Arts Majors” to go out and protest (for a grade) as well… also wouldn’t be a surprise.

  • Mike Paulnquest

    Too bad you didn’t include this in your story. “The false narrative being offered up here is that the “non-violent” Robinson was pursued and then “murdered” by a cop with five shots to the chest “for no reason.”
    The reality of the matter is that this convicted felon who was on probation for armed robbery was the suspect in an assault that very day. When veteran Officer Matt Kenny chased Robinson into a building to take him into custody, Robinson attacked, striking Officer Kenny repeatedly, knocking him down in an apparent attempt to overpower the officer.
    Kenny drew his weapon and fired until Robinson ceased his attack, and then immediately transitioned into life-saving mode, attempting to save the life of the violent felon that had just attacked him.
    If you are one of those sad souls that is so easily led by an agenda-driven media that you’ve bought into the sucker’s argument that someone without a weapon isn’t a threat, then you’re a gullible soul, and I pity you.” There are some very bad officer involved shootings out there, and we’ve covered them. Sometimes they lead to murder charges. Sometimes the officers really do get away with what appears to be an execution.
    This is not one of those times. When a person intentionally attacks a police officer in an apparent attempt to overpower the officer and take his weapon, the officer doesn’t just have the right to defend his life, but the responsibility to do everything in his power to keep that violent suspect from gaining control of the officer’s weapon.
    Tony Robinson’s hero was the violent fictional drug lord Tony Montana, even adopting that handle for his Twitter account (not remotely safe for work).
    Tony Robinson idolized a cop-killing savage, and attempted to emulate him.
    He failed, and deserves nothing but scorn for the attempt.
    From a news story by Bob Owens

  • arbie_54481_us@yahoo.com

    Mainstream media talks about the background of the cop where he was cleared of all wrong doing eight years ago and not even mention that the “perp” plead guilty to armed robbery less than five months ago. Which background is more relative? There can be no doubt that they are trying to CREATE a story, not cover it.

  • H. Mueller

    As usual, a violent felon attacked a police officer, the police officer had no choice but to shoot him to stop the attack. For those who have cognitive weaknesses, the way to avoid this is by not attacking people. That way one doesn’t get shot. Pretty complex, isn’t it?

  • Waiting for Facts

    What I don’t understand is why everyone is protesting before knowing the facts of what lead to the shooting. Is this how it is going to be? Every time an African American is shot by a police officer, protestors are going to hit the street before they find out the facts? If the person would have been white, would you hit the streets? Additionally, a person does not have to be armed to be dangerous. If it is true that this person attacked the police officer, what do you want the police officer to do?

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