Black Teen Fatally Shot By Wisconsin Officers Believed to Be Unarmed, Identified By Mother as Tony Robinson
[UPDATE: The officer that shot unarmed teen Tony Robinson has been identified as veteran officer Matt Kenny, 45. Kenny has more than 12 years of experience in law enforcement. Kenny was involved in another fatal shooting back in 2007 but was cleared of charges after the death was ruled “suicide by cop,” the Huffington Post reported. Kenny has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation launched by the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation.]
Protests filled the streets of Wisconsin’s capital after yet another community is mourning the loss of a Black teen at the hands of police officers.
The Madison police chief, Mike Koval, has confirmed that an officer fatally shot a 19-year-old boy, who is currently believed to have been unarmed at the time of the shooting on Friday evening.
Many of the details are extremely familiar after bidding farewell to unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland.
A community frustrated with the deaths of young Black men, a mother mourning the loss of her son and an officer that insists that he acted in self-defense and was fearing for his life despite accounts that the suspect was a kind, gentle person.
A local woman has stepped forward claiming to be the slain teen’s mother and has identified him as Tony Robinson.
Police have not confirmed his identity.
Reports said a young man had been jumping in and out of traffic on Williamson Street, narrowly avoiding speeding cars, NBC News reported.
It was believed that the young man was the same suspect from reports about a battery that took place in the area.
“The same subject had been responsible for a battery that had recently been committed,” Koval said during a press conference.
Koval said that the officer then followed the suspect to the residence where it is believed the battery took place and that’s where a physical confrontation ended in tragedy, according to NBC News.
The officer claimed he was attacked by the suspect and then fired in self-defense.
Details about the officer’s identity have not been released to the public.
“The initial finds at the scene did not reflect a gun or anything of that nature,” Koval added.
Reports suggest that backup officers did perform CPR on the suspect after shooting him but these efforts were unsuccessful.
The suspect died later at a local hospital, according to NBC News.
Koval announced that the state Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation will probe into the shooting, but local residents are anxious for answers.
Protesters already took to the streets with different reports providing different estimates of the crowd’s size.
While some suggest a few dozen, others estimated at least 100 people came out to the scene.
Chants of “Black lives matter” once again filled another community’s streets.
The crowd was also reportedly chanting that they, like many other communities that have lost countless young Black lives at the hands of police brutality, did not feel like they could trust the police.
More details about the physical struggle between the suspect and the officer have not been released although the officer was taken to the hospital after allegedly receiving a blow to the back of the head.
Details surrounding the incident are still murky but even the police chief acknowledged why the community’s immediate outrage was justified.
“In light of so much things that have happened not just across the country, but in our own community, it’s understandable that the reaction at the scene and some of our citizens is extremely volatile, emotional and upsetting,” the police chief told CNN affiliate WKOW-TV. “And we understand that. That’s absolutely appropriate under these circumstances. We would urge, obviously, that everyone exercise restraint.”
The protesters have been peaceful but adamant about wanting answers.
Andrea Irwin, who claims to be the suspect’s mother, says her son was a gentle person and can’t understand why he would be tied up in an altercation with police or the suspected battery.
“He was our caretaker and so gentle,” she told WKOW. “I don’t understand this.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel released a statement Saturday saying he could “only imagine the heartbreak” Robinson’s family must be feeling at this time.
He added that he is also “concerned for the officer…who, I imagine, is experiencing great trauma as well.”
Despite what trauma the officer may be facing, if any, he will be allowed to go home and return to his family.
Robinson, however, will not.
“They are all in my prayers,” Schimel added.
Activists have taken to social media with the hashtag #WillyStreet to help garner attention about the tragedy.
Local protesters sent condolences via social media and are urging communities from around the country to get involved and prepare for what may be yet another trying battle for justice.
“Stand up, sit in, walk out, until u get answers,” one tweet read. “And until there are no more hashtag eulogies.”
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin described the entire situation as “an enormous tragedy.”