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Prosecutor Won't Charge White Officer in Death of Biracial Man in Madison


Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne says he will not file charges against Officer Matt Kenny, for shooting to death 19-year-old Tony Robinson Jr., this past March 6.

Ozanne prefaced his decision with personal notes and lengthy details about what his investigation found.

“I am the son of a black woman who still worries about my safety. I am a man who understands the pain of unjustified profiling, and I am the first district attorney of color not only in Dane County but in the state of Wisconsin. I make note of this, because it is through this lens that I approach and accept my leadership responsibilities. Those responsibilities involve an oath I took to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and the constitution of the state of Wisconsin. In this matter, my role and obligation are to weigh the facts and determine whether Officer Kenny should be criminally charged,” Ozanne said.

Ozanne then laid-out in detail, the information witnesses offered to police and investigators. Multiple people described Robinson chasing cars, choking and punching people and damaging property. The DA said some callers feared for their safety and for Robinson’s, because he seemed to be under the influence of drugs. Kenny approached the teen in an apartment building and after a confrontation fired seven shots within three seconds, killing Robinson. The officer said the teen punched him. 

“I conclude that this tragic and unfortunate death was the result of a lawful use of deadly police force and that no charges should be brought against Officer Kenny, in the death of Tony Robinson. I am concerned that recent violence around our nation, is giving some in our communities a justification for fear, hatred and violence. I am reminded that true and lasting change does not come from violence, but from exercising our voices and our votes. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘violence brings only temporary change…violence never brings permanent peace,’ ” Ozanne said.

Robinson’s family says it does not believe the investigative process was thorough, and is calling for protests, to be peaceful.

Several hundred people marched late Tuesday from the apartment building where Robinson was shot, to the state Capitol.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.