Wisconsin officer will not be charged in killing of biracial teenager

Officer Matt Kenny will not face criminal charges for the killing of an unarmed 19-year-old biracial teenager, says a prosecutor.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A white Wisconsin police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 19-year-old biracial teenager in March, prompting several days of peaceful protests, won’t be charged, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said he wouldn’t file charges against Madison Officer Matt Kenny in the March 6 shooting of Tony Robinson, who struck the 12-year police veteran in the head.

“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,” Ozanne said, mopping his face repeatedly while giving a 25-minute statement.

The shooting in Madison, Wisconsin's capital, was one of a number of officer-related deaths that have led to increased scrutiny o use of police force in the United States, particularly against young black men.

"I am the son of a black woman who still worries about my safety," Ozanne said. "I am a man who understands the pain of unjustified profiling, and I am the first district attorney of color, not only in Dane County, but in the state of Wisconsin."

People blocked traffic along Williamson Street and several hundred demonstrators marched from the gray house where Robinson was shot to the state Capitol Building after the announcement, singing gospel songs behind a street-wide "Black Lives Matter" banner.

At the end, Robinson's mother, Andrea Irwin, said, "I'm not the type to be defeated. I'm just beginning to fight."

The prosecutor's announcement came days after the US Justice Department announced a civil rights investigation into the Baltimore police department's use of force to determine if there are patterns of discriminatory policing.

Riots broke out in the streets of Baltimore over the April 19 death of Freddie Gray, 25, who died after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody. Baltimore's chief prosecutor has charged six police officers over Gray's death.

There were large but orderly demonstrations in Madison after Robinson's shooting. The city of 240,000 people is nearly four-fifths white and 7 percent African-American, according to U.S. Census figures.

TRTWorld and agencies