Wisconsin police officer won't face discipline in Tony Robinson shooting

Wisconsin police officer who killed unarmed black man will not face internal discipline

The Wisconsin police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man in Madison earlier this year will not face internal discipline, police officials said on Wednesday.

Matt Kenny, 45, was exonerated by the Madison Police Department's Internal Affairs unit in the March 6 death of Tony Robinson, according to a letter signed by Police Chief Michael Koval.

The announcement was met with dismay by Robinson's mother, Andrea Irwin, who told the Los Angeles Times she has "no faith in the justice system."

Prosecutors declined to bring charges against Kenny last month. The veteran officer was responding to calls that Robinson had assaulted two people and was running through traffic when the two clashed inside an apartment building.

Robinson, 20, allegedly punched Kenny, who was afraid that the man would then reach for a weapon, Dane County Dist. Atty. Ismael Ozanne said last month. Kenny fired seven shots, all of which hit Robinson.

Kenny was also involved in a fatal shooting in 2007, which was later ruled a "suicide by cop." He was given a commendation of valor after an investigation into that incident was completed.

"They're about to put a gun back in his hand and put him back on the street and he knows he is fully free to get away with murder," Irwin said on Wednesday. "This is the second person he's killed. I don't understand how they are seeing the same things that I've seen."

While Irwin admits her son ate hallucinogenic mushrooms on the night of the shooting, she has disputed police claims that he attacked anyone or posed a threat to Kenny.

She described her son's decision to take drugs as a mistake, but not one he deserved to die for.

"If we all keeled over because we tried some illegal substance when we were a kid, there would be very few people left on this planet," she said.

Robinson's death was one in a string of officer-involved killings that have caused civil unrest and driven a wedge between police and the people they are sworn to protect throughout the United States this year. 

Demonstrators staged largely peaceful protests throughout Madison in the days and weeks after Robinson's killing, including a dramatic scene that saw thousands of demonstrators fill the statehouse and unfurl a poster that read "Black Lives Matter" inside the rotunda.

The shooting drew a concerned response from local and state leaders. Both Koval, who apologized to the aggrieved community in an open letter shortly after the shooting, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker met with Robinson's family.

Irwin said she planned to file a lawsuit against the department.

"My poor baby laid there dying, pleading for his life," she said. "It's disgusting."

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

2:47 p.m.: This post has been updated with comments from Tony Robinson's mother.

The post was originally published at 12:11 p.m.

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