Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny.
The Madison police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man in March says he’s ready to return to active duty.
Officer Matt Kenny fatally shot 19-year-old Tony Robinson in an apartment building on Madison’s near-east side on March 6 after Robinson allegedly assaulted him. Last week, the Dane County district attorney decided he would not press charges in the case.
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Kenny has expressed his desire to go back to work through his attorney, Jim Palmer, who is also the president of the state wide police union.
“He is at his core dedicated to serving this community. He’s all about helping others, and I do know that he definitely wants to get back to doing that,” said Palmer.
Robinson’s family plans to file a lawsuit against Kenny. They believe the shooting was unjustified, and say they want Kenny and the city to be held accountable.
Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said he won’t make any decision about returning Kenny to duty until an internal review of the shooting is complete. That review will determine whether Kenny violated any department policies when he fired the shots that killed Robinson.
Former Madison Police Chief David Couper, who is now an Episcopal priest, said he doesn’t believe any officer who’s been involved in a fatal shooting should ever return to active duty as a patrol officer.
“I do not believe that a police officer who has had to use deadly force should be in the direct delivery of police services. There are not many officers who are in this category. Therefore, it would be reasonable to give them an “inside” job for the remainder of their career,” said Couper.
Couper also said that if he were still chief, he would require an extensive period of therapy for officers such as Kenny to help them get over the trauma of having taken a life.
“Human persons are not wired to kill,” he said. “When we do, we suffer.”
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