The Wisconsin police officer who fatally shot a biracial teenager in March was cleared by the Madison Police Department, which concluded that Officer Matt Kenny was justified in shooting Tony Robinson, 19, during an altercation in an apartment.
The exoneration followed the department’s internal investigation into the matter. It said that the officer, who was on paid leave since the shooting incident, had not violated any regulations.
According to the Associated Press, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said in the statement issued by the department that Kenny complied with police protocol.
Koval also disregarded suggestions raised that Kenny should be dismissed from the police force.
He said, “To those who say I should relocate him, I really don’t have a branch office in Butte, Montana, like the FBI. Nor would I banish him to such. He is a viable member of the Madison Police Department.”
However, Andrea Irwin, Robinson’s mother, was angry with the outcome.
She said in an email, “They have decided to let a murderer back on the street. I am extremely upset about him getting to go back to a civil service position. The police department is not telling the whole story and the story they are telling is completely untrue,” as reported by RT.
Kenny had responded to 911 calls saying that Robinson – who had consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms and Xanax hours before the incident – had assaulted two individuals and was running in traffic. His friends said that he was behaving irrationally, as reported by USA Today.
Kenny, who arrived to the apartment alone, told investigators that he shot Robinson only after the latter hit him on the head and threw him on the staircase. This was corroborated by a concussion that Kenny suffered in addition to the damage to the drywall, according to Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. Kenny was not equipped with a bodycam at the time he fatally shot Robinson.
Kenny also revealed later that he feared falling down the stairs and losing consciousness, and that Robinson would take his gun and open fire at either him or anyone else in the building. He said that “did not know how he got to the bottom of the stairs,” and that he had to use his gun because of “space and time considerations.”
The bullets hit Robinson in his head, torso and right arm.
When asked why he didn’t wait for other officers to arrive at the scene before admitting himself into the house, Kenny said that noises could be heard from the apartment and he feared someone was being attacked. However, Kenny later realized that Robinson was alone and not with anyone in the apartment.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Koval said that Kenny had received no orders for waiting for backup, and that he followed the department guidelines.
Kenny said he was “pleased” with the decision. He had not spoken publicly since the incident.
According to Vice News, Kenny was also cleared for his involvement in another shooting incident in 2007.
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