Records: 19-year-old killed by officer trusted police

AP News
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Posted: Apr 03, 2015 7:01 PM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Police released hundreds of documents Friday related to the fatal police shooting of a 19-year-old man in Madison, including records that show he told his mother he trusted police after a 2014 arrest.

Tony Robinson Jr. called his mother from the Dane County jail last year after he was arrested for armed robbery. In a recorded call, his mother, Andrea Irwin, told him not to tell the police anything. Robinson said he had already told officers he had made a "dumb decision" and was involved in the incident, according to the documents, which show he otherwise had few interactions with police.

"I told the truth," Robinson told his mother, according to the documents. "We broke into somebody's house."

He later told her that officers said "they would help me out."

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Irwin stressed that the incident had nothing to do with her son's death and she was tired of people judging her family. She said she never told her son not to trust police, but told him to not say anything and to get an attorney.

"Anybody with any decent sense would say the same thing to their child," Irwin said.

"We are getting bashed and beat up and talked about and getting put down," she added. "I'm getting tired of everything I say to be taken out of context. I just want my son to rest in peace."

Robinson, who was biracial, was killed last month by Madison police officer Matt Kenny, who is white. Police have said Robinson assaulted Kenny in an apartment house after the officer responded to calls about Robinson allegedly attacking two people and behaving erratically. Prosecutors are deciding whether to charge Kenny in the shooting.

Protesters held rallies in Madison every day during the week after Robinson's death. The protests were peaceful, but demonstrators accused police of racial prejudice and demanded that Kenny be fired and charged with homicide.

The records released Friday also show that Robinson had a few minor contacts with police growing up, including when he was beat up by two of his peers at a summer school program when he was 12. In December 2013, police responded to reports of a fight outside his home following a house party. Robinson told officers one of the men at the party insulted his mother and he escorted him outside but that they didn't fight.

In January, his mother called police to report him missing after she told him to leave the house when he yelled at his younger brother. He returned to the house later that day, saying he left because he felt unappreciated.

Police also visited his home a handful of times to settle arguments between Irwin and Robinson's father.

The records also detail Kenny's use of force since 2011. He was exonerated in the fatal shooting of a 48-year-old man in 2007, in what the records said was a "suicide by cop" incident. Kenny, now 45, kneed a domestic violence suspect in the torso during a 2011 arrest, and kneed another man and pinned him to the ground in 2013 after the man threw a roundhouse punch at him.

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Associated Press reporter Kia Farhang in St. Paul contributed to this report.

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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bydanaferguson and Todd Richmond at https://twitter.com/trichmond1