Marchers took to the streets in Madison today to demand racial justice after District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced yesterday that Officer Matt Kenny would face no charges in the shooting death of nineteen-year-old Tony Robinson Jr.
At a press conference broadcast around the nation, a visibly nervous Ozanne wiped his brow repeatedly as he walked through the events of March 6, leading up to Robinson's death, including the 911 calls alerting the police that the young, unarmed man was "acting crazy," according to friends, after taking hallucinogenic mushrooms. Robinson dashed into traffic, punched a pedestrian, and tried to choke a man who was putting gas in his car, according to the 911 calls. Officer Kenny entered the house on Williamson Street where Robinson had retreated in response to those calls, and, after an altercation in which he says Robinson punched him, knocking him down, shot Robinson seven times within three seconds. Ozanne shared his personal background as a biracial man and the son of an African-American mother who was a civil rights activist. He spoke about his concerns about racial tension in Madison and closed the press conference with a call for peace, quoting Martin Luther King to say “violence cannot bring lasting change"—an admonishment that spurred mixed reactions in the community and a quick backlash on Twitter.
In a short press conference afterwards, the Robinson family’s lawyer said many questions remain unanswered in the case, and expressed the family’s disappointment that the evidence would not be reviewed by a jury.
I storified live coverage of the press conference yesterday and actions today; view the story below or here.
Julia Burke is web editor at The Progressive.
Image credit: Julia Burke