Mother of man killed by Madison, Wisconsin, police files federal suit

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 12, 2015 5:08 PM

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - The mother of an unarmed biracial man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Madison, Wisconsin this spring on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit accusing the officer of using unjustified deadly force against her son.

Andrea Irwin filed the lawsuit on behalf of her late son Tony Robinson, 19, in United States District Court in Madison against Madison police officer Matt Kenny along with the City of Madison.

The March 6 shooting death of Robinson was "an act of deliberate indifference to the senseless and unlawful killing" that "have left a family and community irreparably harmed, and without other recourse," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also accuses Kenny of lying during the investigation and the city of failing to train and discipline officers who have used deadly force in the past. Police officials were not immediately available for comment.

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

Kenny responded to multiple emergency calls reporting that a man had battered someone and was dodging traffic in a Madison street. Robinson's friends called 911 to say they were afraid of him because he was acting violently and was on drugs, according to police.

Kenny followed Robinson into a dwelling and shot him seven times after the teen struck Kenny in the head. The teenager had psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana and the psychoactive drug Xanax in his system, police said.

On May 12, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced that he would not seek charges against Kenny. Ozanne said that the 12-year veteran used justified lethal force during the incident. The incident and Ozanne's announcement prompted large but peaceful protests in Madison.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee)