MADISON (WITI) -- The attorney for the family of Tony Robinson, along with Tony Robinson's uncle and grandmother addressed the media in Madison on Tuesday afternoon, May 12th following Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne's announcement NO criminal charges would be filed in connection with Robinson's death. Robinson's grandmother said her grandson was "set up" -- an accusation neither she nor the attorney for the Robinson family elaborated on.
19-year-old Tony Robinson was shot and killed by Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny on March 6th -- at an apartment home on Williamson Street.
"The loss this family has experienced is almost impossible to put into words," Jon Loevy, the attorney for the Robinson family said.
Loevy said following Ozanne's decision not to criminally charge Kenny in this case, he and the family have "a number of unanswered questions."
Ozanne said Tuesday Robinson was shot seven times by Kenny after Kenny responded to the apartment home at 1125 Williamson Street. This, after three 911 calls came in on March 6th prior to Kenny's arrival at the home.
The first 911 call came in at 6:28 from a friend of Tony Robinson and a resident at 1125 Williamson Street, who reported Robinson was “tweaking” — chasing everyone, saying Robinson was being “really outrageous right now.” The caller said he and his girlfriend were “scared.” It was reported that it was not believed Robinson was armed. The caller said Robinson had “jumped in front of a car, but he didn’t appear to be hurt.”
Robinson was chasing the caller as they drove off, the caller said. The caller reported Robinson had punched another friend prior to the 911 call. The caller said “everyone left, things are really bad” — saying “Tony is going crazy. He took shrooms or some type of drugs.” The caller said “Tony is acting insane right now.”
The second 911 call came in at 6:31 p.m. The caller reported a man was attacking pedestrians and had punched the caller in the face. It happened across from the gas station on Williamson Street.
The third 911 call came in at 6:32 p.m. The caller was at the gas station across from the apartment home and reported Robinson was “acting kind of crazy.” The caller reported Robinson had “tried to choke” the caller, and the caller said Robinson had tried to assault two people on the sidewalk. Robinson was reportedly roaming around, blocking traffic. He was then seen trying to break into 1125 Williamson Street.
These 911 callers were interviewed, and they confirmed the information from the 911 calls, Ozanne said.
Dispatchers conveyed the information from the 911 calls to Officer Kenny. Ozanne said Kenny was informed that there could be three possible victims, and that it was not believed that Robinson had any weapons. The information from the 911 callers was also sent to Officer Kenny’s mobile data computer.
One 911 caller reportedly witnessed Robinson damaging apartment #2 at 1125 Williamson Street, and said Robinson was speaking to his father and others who were not present. The caller described Robinson’s behavior as “aggressive” and “violent.”
The 911 caller indicated he had left the apartment and locked the door behind him. He said he and his brother were the only ones with keys to apartment #2.
A follow-up investigation revealed damage to apartment #2 “much greater” than what the 911 caller had witnessed before he left. There was also damage to the right side of the stairwell — near the eighth step. The staircase damage wasn’t present when the 911 caller left the residence, Ozanne said.
Squad car video from Officer Kenny’s squad car and a recording from another officer on scene showed Kenny walking up the driveway at 1125 Williamson Street, checking around the back corner before approaching the home. Kenny was observed speaking into the radio and reaching for his firearm before entering the home. Kenny was inside the home for about 20 seconds, according to Ozanne.
Video shows Officer Kenny reappearing — exiting the residence in a backwards motion, appearing to nearly lose his balance. He was seen firing one shot while outside the home. Robinson’s feet appear in the doorway after Kenny was seen exiting the home.
Ozanne said an audio recording from a responding officer captured seven shots fired in three seconds. All seven hit Robinson at “close range,” from front to back. Seven casings were recovered at the scene. Ozanne said all shots had to have been fired at the bottom of the stairs.
Officer Kenny’s statement indicated he heard “yelling and screaming” coming from apartment #2, and items being thrown or breaking. He heard someone say “what are you going to do (expletive), and believed Robinson may have been upstairs assaulting someone. He radioed dispatch that he was entering the home, and as he went in, he drew his firearm. As he climbed the stairs, Kenny said he yelled “Madison police,” and heard someone say “well, the police are here.”
That’s when Kenny said Robinson turned the corner and struck Kenny with a closed fist on the left side of his head — knocking him back and into the wall on his right. Kenny’s report is consistent with damage to the drywall on the right side of the staircase near the eighth step. Kenny said Robinson continued to come toward him — swinging at him. Kenny was rocked back and was losing his balance on the stairs. He worried that he would be struck again and lose consciousness or hit his head falling backwards. He worried his firearm would be taken and used to shoot him and anyone else who may have been in the home. He said there were two streams of fire — one involving three shots, and the second involving two to three shots. He said he did not see anything in Robinson’s hands or in his waistband. Kenny then radioed “shots fired,” and requested an ambulance. He began rendering aid to Robinson before paramedics arrived and took over.
Reports from Robinson’s friends indicated he had used controlled substances on March 6th — including mushrooms, THC (marijuana) and xanax.
Loevy said Tuesday there are a number of unanswered questions -- partially due to the fact that he says Kenny's account of what happened has changed over time. Loevy also said Kenny was told not to enter the home -- and to wait for backup, but he went into the home anyway, and "created a confrontation that led to an unnecessary death."
Loevy also said Ozanne's statement that a seventh shot was fired by Kenny while Kenny was outside the home -- hitting Robinson in a downward trajectory, killing him "makes no sense." Loevy asked why Kenny was shooting from outside the building into the building -- killing "an unarmed young man?"
"Apparently this officer suffered some sort of amnesia and didn't remember being outside the building, shooting into the building. We have more questions than you do, and we don't have answers. The family had hoped the process would play out with a public airing of the evidence and have 12 members of the community to decide if the shooting was justified or not justified. Unfortunately, based on the decision from the District Attorney's Office, that won't happen," Loevy said.
Loevy said as the spokesman for the Robinson family, he was asked to convey that the family fully supports the community's right to express frustration and anger if there is frustration and anger over this decision, saying "this is a free country, and people will be making their feelings known."
However, the family asks that protests remain calm and non-violent -- saying people should not get hurt, and the community should not tear itself apart because that isn't what the Robinson family is about, and it's not what Tony Robinson was about.
Then, Tony Robinson's grandmother and uncle addressed the media.
"Tony was a little brother to me. He will be missed terribly. There are few words I can put in to describe my feelings about how he has been demonized. This was a 19-year-old kid whose life was cut short before he was able to fully realize his potential," Robinson's uncle, Turin Carter said.
"My grandson has been slandered from the beginning. I don't have the option to hold him anymore. I miss him and really love him. He was a great kid. You haven't had the opportunity to know the kid I know. I hope one day you have the opportunity to know who he was. I will miss him for the rest of my life. This is a forever thing for me," Robinson's grandmother, Sharon Irwin said.
Tony Robinson's mother told CNN's Anderson Cooper she was so outraged when she heard the announcement that she had to leave the room.
"I'm heartbroken and I'm angry," she told Cooper. "I'm more than upset, almost something that I can't even describe right now."
Robinson's mother said her family "absolutely" plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Madison Police Department.
"The things that have taken place since my son passed and the things that have been done to my family, to me, they've gone above and beyond to try to make sure they kick me when I'm down. They have done a smear campaign against my child and against me since this all began," Andrea Irwin said.