Wisconsin prosecutor to release result of police shooting probe

Reuters News
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Posted: May 12, 2015 7:04 AM

MADISON, Wis. (Reuters) - A county prosecutor on Tuesday is set to announce whether a veteran white police officer will face charges in the fatal shooting of an unarmed 19-year-old biracial man in Madison, Wisconsin, in March.

Tony Robinson Jr. was shot in the head, torso and right arm by Officer Matt Kenny, who police have said was responding to a report that a man who had battered someone was dodging traffic in the street when he encountered Robinson.

Police have also said Kenny followed Robinson into a dwelling and shot him after the teen struck Kenny in the head.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said on Sunday he would give his decision on Tuesday, when a news conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Central Time.

The shooting on March 6 in Madison, Wisconsin's capital, was one of a number of officer-involved deaths that have led to increased scrutiny of police use of force in the United States, particularly against young black men.

The Madison announcement comes days after the U.S. Justice Department announced a federal civil rights investigation into the Baltimore police department's use of force to determine if there are patterns of discriminatory policing.

Riots broke out in the streets of Baltimore over the April 19 death of Freddie Gray, 25, who died after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody. Baltimore's chief prosecutor has charged six police officers in connection with Gray's death.

Under Wisconsin law, the state's Department of Justice investigated Robinson's death and turned over its reports to the Dane County District Attorney's office, which makes the ultimate decision on whether charges should be brought.

Robinson's death prompted large but orderly demonstrations in Madison. The city of 240,000 people about 80 miles west of Milwaukee is nearly four-fifths white and 7 percent African-American, according to U.S. Census figures.

Last year, Robinson pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was put on probation. Sentencing documents show it was his first brush with the law, and he was not the armed person in the group that committed the robbery.

Kenny, a 12-year veteran officer, has been on paid administrative leave during the investigation. In 2007, he was involved in a fatal shooting that was found to be justified.

(Reporting by Mary Reardon in Madison and Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Eric Walsh)