Protesters In Madison Call For Indictment Of Officer Who Shot Unarmed Teen

Crowd Holds Moment Of Silence For Tony Robinson Near Site Of Shooting

Erik Lorenzsonn/WPR

Protesters marched through Madison on Saturday afternoon, decrying the fatal shooting of a young, unarmed black man by a Madison police officer the night before.

A crowd of at least 200 people gathered in the city’s downtown before marching about a mile away to the Williamson Street neighborhood on the city’s near east side, where a 19-year-old man named Tony Robinson had been shot in an apartment building the previous day.

The police officer involved in the shooting alleged that Robinson assaulted him, prompting him to open fire.

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Earlier on Saturday, Police Chief Mike Koval identified that officer as Matthew Kenney. He also confirmed that Robinson had been unarmed at the time he was shot.

As protesters marched down East Washington Avenue — a major Madison thoroughfare — behind a banner reading “Black Lives Matter,” they chanted “Who can we trust? Not the police!” and “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail!”

Once they arrived at the building where Robinson had been shot, protesters passed out flowers before holding a moment of silence for Robinson.

Friends of Robinson spoke to the gathered crowd. One girl, 16-year-old Isabella Denson, said Robinson was “the happiest person I’ve ever known.” Another of Robinson’s friends, Samantha Sorum, told the crowd that Robinson was a giving person.

​”He helped his mom,” she said. “He took care of his mom every day. He kept her meds up. And he loved his family, and that’s all he talked about.”

Maria Hamilton, the mother of Dontre Hamilton, was also at the rally. Dontre Hamilton was a 31-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Milwaukee last year in a public park. Maria Hamilton said that the Hamilton family was “110 percent” behind the family of Tony Robinson, and called for the indictment of the officer responsible.

The immediate area around the crime scene was cordoned off, and was surrounded by about a dozen Madison police officers who looked on as the protesters chanted, shouted and sang. More than once, the crowd turned its attention to the officers themselves. A number of protesters shouted at them, “How can you sleep at night?”

Some of the protesters called attention to visible blood stains on a stoop on the side of the building, which they said was Robinson’s blood. During one tense moment, friends of Robinson walked underneath the cordon to try to put flowers near the stoop. Officers stopped them before they could do so, eliciting angry cries from onlookers.

By around 3 p.m., protesters began to march back to downtown. Many of them dispersed soon after.

More protests over Robinson’s death appear to be immenent. Brandi Grayson is a leader of the Young, Gifted and Black coalition, a black rights group that has led a series of protests in Madison over the police’s relationship with the black community. She said a “huge action” is planned for Wednesday over Robinson’s death.

-Galen Druke and Gilman Halsted contributed reporting to this story.