Tony Robison’s killing by Officer Kenny was determined to be legal according Dane County DA. Police sent officers to Williamson St. in Madison WI on March 6, 2015 due to reports of a man (Robinson) darting in and out of traffic, and assaulting two people. Officer Kenny was the first on the scene, reported hearing a disturbance inside a home, entered and was attacked by Robinson. Tony pushed the officer hard enough to break the drywall. The officer then backed out the door firing his revolver seven times, hitting Robinson five times. Kenny performed CPR, but Robinson died at the hospital. Robinson was later determined via autopsy to have Xanax, psilocybin mushrooms, and THC in his system. Robinson was unarmed
Given the above details it’s hard to argue with Dane County District Attorney’s assessment this was a righteous shooting, or is it? Many Madisonians don’t seem to think so, holding multiple school walk outs, marches, and protests. So given that the boy was on drugs, dashing through traffic, trying to enter homes, and assaulting people including an officer, why the civil backlash? Shouldn’t everyone thank Madison PD for keeping the streets safe from this menace?
The facts of case lack nuance and perspective. First off, Madison is one of the worst cities in the worst state of the Union for blacks regarding inequality. This fact makes Tony’s killing representative of all injustices suffered by the marginalized races of Dane County. It’s easily argued this never would happen if blacks were treated equally and given the same opportunities. This shooting also happened hot on the heels of events in Ferguson, MO, Staten Island, New York City, and Baltimore, MD where unarmed black men were killed by police. The pain of those unjust police killings serves to inform Madison residents more than the facts of this particular case. The pain of loosing a nineteen year old boy serves to inform Madison residents more than the facts of this case. To many people this case reflects the nation as a whole and the racism systemic in the DOC and Police.
If you come to Madison, the street where the most assaults occur is Langdon St., affectionately known as “Frat Row”. Here young white men can be seen most nights dashing about traffic on an array of drugs, fighting and cursing. The police are rarely called. Often they are present for these cavalcades of testosterone, and simply allow the boys to be boys making sure nothing gets too rough. I have personally seen this. For all the times the white men Tony’s age fought and cussed and acted inebriated in public, not one of them has been shot on Langdon. Not. One. Madison noticed this too.
Tony’s killing may have been “legal” but that doesn’t make it any less useful as a rallying cry to fight discrimination, systemic injustice, and inequality across the board. The fact is people are protesting the state of police relations with black people. They are protesting the state of inequality of black people in Wisconsin. They are protesting the absurdly high incarceration of black men. They are protesting money being spent on MRAPs and Bradley Vehicles instead of police training on how to deal with someone on Xanax, psilocybin mushrooms, and THC. The are protesting the Drug War and the pain and misery that comes with it. They are protesting for every person who has ever been marginalized, harassed, and hurt by the system. Tony Robinson just had to be legally killed for us to take notice.
Drive fast. Take Chances. Thanks for reading.