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Hundreds Attend Funeral For Unarmed, Black Madison Man Killed By Police

Mourners Discourage Violence But Call For Justice For Tony Robinson

Gilman Halsted/WPR

The family and friends of a 19-year-old black man spoke of him as a martyr during a funeral service in Madison on Saturday.

Tony Robinson was unarmed when he was shot and killed by a Madison police officer earlier this month.

More than 1,000 people filled a high school field house to mourn Robinson’s death.

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His grandmother, Sharon Irwin, told the crowd the family is grieving but they hope his death will help prompt a change in the way police handle interactions with young black men.

“We stand for peace and we stand for change. He was young, he was black and he’s beautiful,” Irwin said.

Police say Robinson hit Officer Matt Kenny during a struggle before Kenny shot him. Officers were called to the neighborhood following reports that Robinson physically assaulted multiple people and was running in and out of traffic.

Turin Carter, Robinson’s uncle, said Saturday that family members are convinced the shooting was unjustified.

“I made an oath to my nephew as he laid on that cold table and I told him anybody that stands in the way, anybody that stands in the way of true justice, I will make it my personal duty to expose them …. My personal duty,” Carter said.

Craig Spaulding, the father of one of Robinson’s close friends, said Robinson’s friends are angry about seeing his life snuffed out so early, but he said he’s confident there will be no Ferguson-type riots in Madison. He said friends and family are watching the investigation closely and will do whatever they can to make sure the probe is an “honest” one.

State officials say the results of an independent investigation into the shooting will be complete before the end of the month. It will then be up to the county prosecutor to decide if the shooting was a justified use of lethal force.