30 Arrested During Tony Robinson Protest In Madison

Activists Hold Mock Trial For Officer Who Shot Robinson, Occupy Intersection In City's Downtown


Hundreds of people engaged in an all-day protest in Madison Wednesday to express anger over Tuesday’s decision by District Attorney Ismael Ozanne not to charge a Madison police officer in the shooting death of Tony Robinson.

Toward the end of the rally, 30 people were arrested for blocking a downtown intersection. The arrests came as police cleared the street to make way for rush hour traffic.

Protesters had been occupying an intersection outside the county jail for several hours, dancing and eating pizza and listening to speakers. The people who were arrested did so voluntarily, sitting down in three lines in the street and refusing police orders to leave.

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The demonstrations began at around 9 a.m. outside the east-side apartment where Robinson was shot by Officer Matt Kenny in March. Later that morning, protesters began a march toward the city’s downtown, eventually stopping outside the county courthouse.

There, on the steps of the courthouse, the crowd played the part of a jury in what organizers called a “people’s court.” Demonstrators called for Kenny and the entire Police Department to be held responsible for Robinson’s death.

M. Adams of the Young Gifted and Black Coalition acted as judge during the “trial.”

“Based on how the community feels, the only reason why Matt Kenny was not indicted on criminal charges and convicted of murder is because we the people do not yet have the power to hold the police accountable,” she said.

Baptist Pastor Everett Mitchell told the crowd that Wednesday’s march was the just the beginning of a campaign to reverse the DA’s decision.

“We should be able to say Matt Kenny should be charged for killing an unarmed black teen. And until that happens we aint gonna stop marching,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell supports the demands of the local black rights coalition Young Gifted and Black — the group that organized Wednesday’s rally. Those demands include giving the local community control over the hiring and firing of police officers.