Madison Police Officer Who Shot Tony Robinson Will Not Face Charges

Tony Robinson, 19, was shot three times by Officer Matt Kenny in March.

ByMeghan Keneally
May 12, 2015, 6:03 PM

— -- The Madison, Wisconsin, police officer who fatally shot a 19-year-old will not be criminally charged for the shooting since the district attorney announced today that it was a "lawful use of deadly police force."

Officer Matt Kenny fatally shot Robinson on March 6 after police received a disturbance call. Robinson had allegedly been running in traffic and Kenny forced himself into an apartment that Robinson had run into. Robinson and Kenny got into an altercation inside the home and Kenny shot Robinson in his head, torso and right arm, authorities said.

"My decision is not based on emotion. Rather this decision is based on the facts as they have been investigated and reported to me," Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said at a news conference this afternoon.

Ozanne detailed the evidence that he reviewed before making his decision and then described the three 911 calls that were made prior to police being called to the scene. He described how the callers said that Robinson was "tweaking, chasing everybody" and, in another, the caller said that he had been punched in the face by Robinson.

Ozanne said that it was understood that Robinson was believed to be unarmed when he broke into the apartment building, though they believed at the time that Robinson had taken hallucinogenic mushrooms or some other drug. Toxicology tests determined that he had mushrooms, THC or marijuana and Xanax in his bloodstream, Ozanne said.

PHOTO: Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announces his decision regarding possible criminal charges for the police officer who fatally shot Tony Robinson, May 12, 2015.
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announces his decision regarding possible criminal charges for the police officer who fatally shot Tony Robinson, May 12, 2015.

During Kenny's interview with investigators, he said that he began to lose his balance when he came face to face with Robinson in the building's stairwell, and he feared that "his firearm would be taken and used to shoot him and possibly the other person in the apartment," Ozanne said.

He also noted that Kenny called in the shooting on his radio and began administering aid because Robinson was still breathing.

Some of Robinson's relatives spoke out about an hour after the decision was announced, expressing their dissatisfaction.

"This is politics, not justice," Robinson's grandmother Sharon Irwin said.

A family spokesman said that while they "fully support the community to express frustration if there is frustration," they "feel strongly that protests should not be violent."

Robinson's death sparked statewide protests in March and some crowds have already gathered in Madison this evening.

The decision not to charge Kenny comes after officers in two other states are facing charges for other fatal altercations.

The South Carolina police officer who killed Walter Scott was charged with first-degree murder and the six police officers connected to the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore are all facing multiple criminal charges, the most serious of which was one count of second-degree depraved heart murder.

Officers in other high-profile cases such as the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City were not charged, and the decision whether or not to charge the officers who fatally shot Tamir Rice in Cleveland has not yet been determined.

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