Wisconsin students walk out in protest over fatal police shooting

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 09, 2015 1:14 PM

(Reuters) - University and high school students in Madison, Wisconsin, walked out of classes on Monday morning and marched to protest the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, local media reported.

More than 100 students, including some from Sun Prairie High School, the alma mater of Tony Robinson, the 19-year-old who was shot and killed, marched toward Wisconsin's state Capitol, Madison.com and Channel3000.com reported.

Robinson's death was the latest in a string of police shootings that have intensified concerns of racial bias in U.S. law enforcement.

Officer Matt Kenny, who shot Robinson, is on paid administrative leave while the Wisconsin Department of Justice investigates the Friday shooting.

Protests and vigils in Madison over the weekend were peaceful and Police Chief Michael and Mayor Paul Soglin pledged transparency in communicating results of the investigation.

The police shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last year set off weeks of protests.

Early protests in Ferguson were accompanied by looting and the police response to them was criticized as heavy-handed. That, and a long delay in releasing the name of the officer who shot Brown, fueled outrage over the shooting.

Madison, a city of 240,000 people, has a mostly white population that is 7 percent African American, U.S. Census figures show.

Madison.com reported that students from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sun Prairie High School and East High School were involved in Monday's protests.

Posts on social media showed dozens of high school and university students marching and chanting "Tony Robinson," and carrying signs reading "Black Lives Matter."

Police and school officials were not immediately available to comment.

On Friday night, Kenny, 45, responded to reports of a battery and a man dodging cars in traffic. Kenny followed the suspect into an apartment, where he was struck in the head, according to Koval, and then shot the unarmed teen. Robinson died later in a local hospital.

Kenny, a 12-year veteran of the Madison Police Department, was exonerated in 2007 after he shot and killed a 48-year-old man who pointed a gun at officers and refused to drop his weapon. The suspect's gun was later determined to be a replica, not a real weapon.

Wisconsin court records show that Robinson pleaded guilty to armed robbery last year and received a probated six-month sentence.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Doina Chiacu)