A white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teen in Madison, Wisconsin Friday night, sparking protests in the state capital.
Tony Robinson, 19, died at the hospital despite officers’ efforts to revive him, according to a statement by Madison Police Chief Mike Koval.
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“He was unarmed. That’s going to make this all the more complicated for the investigators, for the public to accept,” Koval said at a news conference on Saturday.
The incident began around 6:30 Friday evening, when Officer Matt Kenny responded to a call reporting that a young man was jumping into traffic. Another caller then identified the man as “responsible for a battery that had been recently committed,” Koval said.
After following the man to an apartment and hearing “what sounded like a disturbance,” Kenny, 45, forced his way into the building, according to Koval.
Inside the apartment, the suspect, Tony Robinson, assaulted Kenny, who then shot him “in the context of mutual combat,” Koval said.
Police said that they did not find any weapons in the apartment.
Wisconsin’s Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation will begin an inquiry into the shooting. A 2014 state law requires Wisconsin police departments to hand off officer-involved death investigations to outside agencies.
“Obviously in light of the fact that we are completely bound by state law, which indicates that an independent oversight and investigation should be conducted outside of the Madison Police Department, we respected that from the moment we took the scene, froze the scene, and waited for the DCI to arrive,” Koval said.
Kenny, a 12-year veteran of the Madison Police Department, was previously cleared of criminal responsibility and commended for valor in a fatal 2007 police shooting, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
A small crowd of protesters gathered at the scene of the shooting Friday night, chanting “black lives matter” and “no justice, no peace,” refrains from protests following other police shootings, including that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Demonstrators also gathered in Madison Saturday, and planned larger protests for next week.
Michael Johnson, a spokesman for Robinson’s family said on Facebook that Robinson was a “loving and caring young man,” a Sun Prairie High School graduate who planned to pursue a degree in business, NBC News reported.
“It’s a challenging time for this family right now. To lose a son, especially the way they lost a son,” Johnson said.