More than a thousand high school students left classes in Madison, Wisconsin, on Monday and filled the state capitol building to protest the fatal Friday shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white cop.
The students, some of whom came from the school where 19-year-old Tony Robinson graduated just last year, quietly entered the capitol rotunda with their arms locked. Police estimated the crowd at 1,500.
Once inside, they began chanting the now-familiar refrain to the Black Lives Matter marches: “No justice! No peace,” “What’s his name? Tony Robinson,” and “We are T.R.”
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside during the demonstration.
Some held signs that questioned the necessity of the number of bullets used by the police officer who shot Robinson or said, simply, “black lives matter.”
Reaction from officials
Madison police chief Mike Koval apologized for the shooting on his blog on Monday, stating, “the police are part of this community — and we share this sense of loss.”
“Reconciliation cannot begin without my stating ‘I am sorry,’ and I don’t think I can say this enough. I am sorry,” he wrote. “I hope that, with time, Tony’s family and friends can search their hearts to render some measure of forgiveness.”
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a likely GOP presidential contender, issued a statement that highlighted recently-signed legislation, which “adds another layer of transparency in the investigation process by requiring an independent review of officer-involved deaths.”
He said that the Wisconsin Department of Justice would conduct an independent investigation into the shooting, following two days of protests and vigils.
Wisconsin Professional Police Association President Jim Palmer said that Madison police officer Matt Kenny, who shot Robinson, is being interviewed on Monday by state Division of Criminal Investigation agents as part of their independent inquiry. Palmer said his police union would have representatives, including an attorney, on hand to represent Kenny.
“Everyone recognizes that it’s in everyone’s interest to move this along as swiftly as possible,” Palmer said, according to the Associated Press. “Officer Kenny recognizes that the family has suffered a tragic loss regardless of the circumstances.”
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin called the shooting “a tragedy beyond description.” He also said that because of a state-required outside investigation, Madison police won’t be able to provide many details about the shooting.
“I expect there will be a lot of anger and frustrations, particularly from friends,” Soglin said. “I hope as the pain eases that something constructive will come of this.”
About the shooting
Madison police officer Matt Kenny shot Robinson late Friday while investigating a call that the young man was jumping in and out of traffic and had assaulted someone. The officer said he heard a disturbance and forced his way into an apartment where Robinson had gone. Authorities said Kenny fired after Robinson assaulted him.
He was unarmed.
Some information in this report is provided by The Associated Press. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.