Madison Police, Community Hope Basketball Can Help Mend Relations After Shooting

Officers Will Play Black High-Schoolers In Game On Saturday

Matt Lynch (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Madison police officers are hoping a basketball game with African-American high school students planned for Saturday can be a step towards improving relations with the black community.

A Madison police officer shot and killed an unarmed black 19-year-old two weeks ago, which led to a string of protests decrying both the shooting and racial disparities that exist in Dane County.

The game between an “all-star” team of Madison police and students from three of the city’s high schools has been in the works for more than a year. After the death of Tony Robinson on March 6, some feared the game would be cancelled. However, Madison Police Captain Joe Balles said black community leaders who originally proposed the event believe it’s more important than ever.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“These are the times when we really need to double down and do these things even more,” said Balles. “So we’re charging ahead with what we had planned. We got a lot of kids at the high schools we think are interested to come out.”

Both police and black community leaders hope the game can help the city move beyond the angry protests that followed Robinson’s death. Funds from ticket sales will support the black student unions at all the city’s high schools.