On Friday night, Tony Robinson, a 19-year-old black teenager in Madison, Wisconsin, was shot and killed by Matt Kenny, a white officer and 12-year veteran on the city's police force.
According to the Associated Press, Kenny had followed Robinson in response to two calls, one alleging that a suspect had been jumping in and out of traffic and another claiming that the same man assaulted someone. Police say Kenny heard a disturbance and entered a nearby apartment, soon finding himself in a fight with Robinson. During the altercation, Kenny fired his weapon and fatally shot Robinson, who was unarmed. The recent high school graduate, the Wisconsin State Journal reported, had been found guilty of armed robbery in December.
Madison in Mourning
Since Friday's shooting, the city has transformed into the latest site of protest and grief. In gatherings reminiscent of those in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of Michael Brown last August, demonstrators have marched through the streets and gathered at the site where Robinson was killed to demand justice.
City officials, for their part, have tried to adopt a different response than the widely criticized handling of the Ferguson aftermath. Following Robinson's death on Friday, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval sought out Robinson's mother at her home and, after she turned him away, reportedly prayed with Robinson's grandmother in the driveway of their home for 45 minutes. Writing on the police blog, Koval later issued an apology over Robinson's death.
Our community is grieving and hurting over the loss of a young African American man, who life was ended far too soon. His family, his friends, and our community are in mourning. The police are part of this community---and we share this sense of loss. I have stated as much to representatives of his family, in statements to the press, and to our work force. Reconciliation cannot begin without my stating "I am sorry," and I don't think I can say this enough. I am sorry. I hope that, with time, Tony's family and friends can search their hearts to render some measure of forgiveness.
Other city officials have been quick to make calls for accountability in the case, including Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. "Our community has many questions, questions that I share. There will be answers," he said in a statement Saturday. "When the answers come, we will be open and transparent in communicating them."