This past Friday, an incident that’s scarily become too familiar occurred yet again. Another unarmed, Black man was shot–this time it was 19-year-old Tony Terrell Robinson, Jr. in Madison, Wisconsin. The high school graduate’s death was confirmed by Madison Police’s Police Chief Mike Koval and it was police officer Matt Kenny who pulled the trigger.
On what ended up as a fatal night for Robinson, Jr. started at 6:30PM. Officer Kenny was responding to intercom reports of a man disrupting traffic on the road. Allegedly, police thought it could’ve been “the same subject [who] had been responsible for a battery that [was] recently committed” from earlier investigations. This is similar to how George Zimmerman followed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as Martin was heading back to his father’s house (in Florida), Kenny trailed Robinson, Jr. into a residential building and a scuffle went down between the two. Kenny then shot the teen five times. He was pronounced dead later that night in the hospital.
Koval was expressed his condolences on Saturday at a press conference, following local #BlackLivesMatter protests. “To the extent that you have, again, a person of color, unarmed who subsequently loses his life at the hands of the police, I can’t very well distance myself from that brutal reality.”
Michael Johnson, a family spokesperson for Robinson simply stated, “It’s a challenging time for this family right now. To lose a son, especially the way they lost a son.” Mayor of Madison Paul Soglin has also been in contact with the surviving members.
Our hearts continue to go out to families like Robinson’s who have to face the recurring nightmare of Black men losing their lives so police officers who think that shooting first is proper protocol.
Below is a video of the vigil and gathering Robinson, Jr.’s grandmother and aunt held some time after their loved one had passed away on Friday: