Sharon Irwin, grandmother of slain teen Tony Robinson, stands before demonstrators at a press briefing on the steps of the Dane County Courthouse, Monday, April 6, 2015.
The family of Tony Robinson is losing faith in the investigation of the shooting death of the unarmed teenager and is publicly calling for criminal charges to be brought against Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny, a family spokesman said Monday.
Standing beside Robinson’s mother and grandmother on the steps of the Dane County Courthouse, family friend Jerome Flowers criticized law enforcement’s handling of the investigation and urged District Attorney Ismael Ozanne to bring criminal charges against Kenny.
“This is not a fair process, this is not a just process,” Flowers said.
Flowers and about 50 protesters affiliated with Madison’s Young Gifted and Black Coalition marched from the Williamson Street apartment where Robinson was killed to the courthouse Monday morning. The activist group last week called for the United Nations and the Organization of American States to launch an independent investigation into Robinson’s death as well as the issue of racial disparity in Madison.
“A fair and just investigation will not happen [at the local or the federal level],” YGB organizer M Adams said at a press conference Friday evening.
Protesters affiliated with Madison’s Young, Gifted and Black Coalition marched from the Williamson Street apartment where Robinson was killed to the courthouse Monday morning.
YGB members have stated that they do not expect Kenny to be charged with a crime, citing what some see as a pattern of law enforcement protecting its members. Adams referenced other black males who have been killed by police in other cities – Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner – and noted that none of the officers were charged.
Adams drew a parallel between the police killings of today and the practice of lynching – a form of extrajudicial punishment used notoriously against African Americans in the pre-civil rights era – and compared the proposed United Nations investigation to the anti-lynching campaign brought before the U.N. in 1951 and to Malcolm X’s efforts to bring the civil rights movement to the level of human rights.
“We need to elevate and fight for human rights,” Adams said.
Ozanne has not set a timetable on when he will reach his decision on whether or not to charge Kenny. Regardless of the outcome, YGB members plan to meet at the corner of Williamson and Few streets immediately after the news breaks for a peaceful demonstration.
When asked by a reporter about the potential of the protest turning violent, YGB member Matthew Braunginn became frustrated with the insinuation.
“We’re not planning for violence. I don’t know where this is coming from. We have not perpetrated any violence,” Braunginn said. “Why are we going to be asked if we are going to be violent, when the state continually [perpetuates violence]?”