May 11, 2015

Law Calls for Tony Robinson Investigation Records to be Made Public

Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny
killed unarmed, young black man
Updated - Amid the citizen demand to stop the police killings (Kang, NYT) is the police involuntary response to cover its collective ass.

It is in this atmosphere that Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne will announce on Tuesday his office's decision on filing charges against Madison police officer Matt Kenny for shooting the unarmed 19-year-old Tony Robinson (Facebook) to death on March 6.

The Wisconsin DoJ Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) was tasked with the investigation of Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny's shooting, per 2013 Wisconsin Act 348, and delivering a complete report of the investigation to the District Attorney.

The results of the investigation should be made public and Act 348 demands precisely that: Section 1, 5(b) "If the district attorney determines there is no basis to prosecute the law enforcement officer involved in the officer-involved death, the investigators conducting the investigation under sub. (3) (a) shall release the report."

The Wisconsin DoJ is tainted as a Republican Party-led outfit and should not be accorded credibility based on partisan past action, none of which has been repudiated by the current attorney general.

The point of Act 348 is to have external investigations into police-involved shootings as a means of getting to the truth. I would have more faith in academics and civil rights activists rather than law enforcement officers conducting investigations into fellow law enforcement officers, as Act 348 calls for.

DA Ozanne should offer his reasoning online as well his decision as a means of repairing community trust destroyed by decades of police destruction of such trust.

The New York Times has a piece from March on the new Wisconsin law mandating outside agencies investigate cases of police shootings.

Erik Ljung has a video with the Times piece with compelling footage of community outrage against such recent police killings in Wisconsin of Paul Heenan (Schenider, The Capital Times (2013)) (killed by Madison Police Officer Stephen Heimsness who resigned in June 2013 (Erickson, Wisconsin State Journal), Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. in Madison (Dean, The Capital Times), Michael Bell in Kenosha (2004), and Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee (Luthern, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel; Mal Contends). Too many victims to list.

Killer cops in Madison, the most liberal city, notes Paul Gottinger in CounterPunch in March.

Adam Gerol, president of the Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association, testified in December 2013 he thinks the law [Act 348] "will not create greater scrutiny of police officer-involved killings or more effective prosecutions." (Schneider, The Capital Times)

We need an engaged community for that, using the abundant analytical resources Dane County and Wisconsin has at its disposal.

Unfortunately for our community and the Robinson family, Ozanne only gets to use the evidence he is given in the report by the DCI as a basis on which to make a decision.

Whatever the action by Ozanne tomorrow, don't blame him or his office as he has no discretion in this matter.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin addresses protesters on Martin Luther King Blvd
during a community action against the police killing of Tony Robinson in March

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