Protests planned after police shootings in Wisconsin, Georgia

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 11, 2015 7:05 AM

By Brendan O'Brien

MADISON, Wis. (Reuters) - A mass demonstration was planned on Wednesday at the Wisconsin corrections department in Madison in response to the fatal police shooting last week of an unarmed biracial teenager.

The shooting of Tony Robinson, 19, by a veteran white Madison police officer on Friday was the latest in a string of officer-involved deaths around the country that have heightened concerns about racial bias in U.S. law enforcement.

A rally over another such shooting will be held Wednesday evening in Decatur, Georgia. Activists are questioning the use of force against Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old black man, who was naked and unarmed when he was shot and killed by a white police officer in an Atlanta suburb on Monday.

Organizers in Wisconsin said they expected about 1,000 people to gather in a park on Wednesday afternoon and march to the nearby state corrections department building to protest Robinson's death.

The officer who shot Robinson, Matt Kenny, had responded to calls about a man who had battered someone and was dodging traffic in the street, police have said. Police said Kenny shot Robinson after the young man attacked him.

Each day since the incident, mourners and protesters have gathered outside the house where Robinson died. On Monday, about 2,000 Madison teenagers walked out of their high school classes to demonstrate at the state Capitol.

The shooting has cast a light on the divide between the liberal whites that dominate the university city and its black residents.

The demonstrations over Robinson's death, although peaceful, have brought back memories of the sometimes violent clashes that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, in August after Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot and in November after a grand jury declined to approve charges against the officer who shot him.

Brown's shooting, and the choking death in New York of Eric Garner, both of whom were black and unarmed, triggered demonstrations against police use of force around the nation.

Kenny is on paid administrative leave, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the shooting under a state law enacted early last year that requires independent investigators to take the lead in officer-involved deaths.

(Editing by Sandra Maler and Jonathan Oatis)