Robinson Attorneys maintain deadly force was unnecessary

 Attorneys for the family of teenager Tony Robinson use the second anniversary of the teenager's officer-involved fatal shooting to maintain the teen's death resulted from the unnecessary use of deadly force.

Authorities say Madison Police officer Matt Kenny fatally shot the unarmed, teenage suspect Mar. 6, 2015, after Robinson ran in front of cars on Williamson Street and assaulted bystanders while under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs.  Officials say Kenny entered the stairwell of a two story flat and was punched in the head by Robinson at the top of the stairs, and opened fire as Robinson continued to represent a threat.  Dane County's district attorney decided Kenny committed no crimes, and an internal, Madison Police Department investigation found he violated no policies in his use of deadly force.

Last month, the city of Madison's insurer settled a lawsuit filed by attorneys for Robinson's estate for $3.35 million, a record amount in the state in connection with litigation over over-involved shootings.

Robinson family members have said they agreed to the settlement to spare Robinson's siblings further emotional trauma.  But Monday, attorneys involved with the lawsuit made a trial-like presentation for members of the news media.

Attorney Anand Swaminathan says Kenny's account of what happened is refuted by evidence at the scene.

Swaminathan says a state justice department investigator synchronized video from Kenny's squad-car dash-camera, with audio from another responding Madison Police sergeant.  Swaminathan says Kenny was not wearing a body microphone, as required by MPD policy.

Swaminathan says the synchronization shows Kenny fired seven rounds from the base of the building's stairwell, and not any gun shots from the top of the stairs at close range after being punched, as Kenny maintained.

Swaminathan says the trajectory of the bullets, blood splatter patterns, and Kenny's generally intact physical condition after the confrontation, also contradict Kenny's account.

Swaminathan rejects the notion the high tension situation altered some of Kenny's recall, but that he was attacked.  "It would be one thing if he said, 'I got the base of the stairs and Tony Robinson was still lingering at the top of the stairs, and then Tony Robinson starts coming and I, at the base of the stairs, I shoot,' "  Swaminathan says.  "That would be a possibility, if he was tell that story.  He's never suggested any story like that."

Swaminathan and attorney David Owens also note Kenny fatally shot another suspect in 2007, and maintain Kenny's actions were flawed in that encounter as well.  Kenny was cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting of man who appeared to be wielding a firearm on his front porch in a threatening manner.  The device turned out to be a pellet gun.

The attorneys say their case material is available on a web site,, and the public should decide whether it has confidence in the conclusions reached by investigators.

In a statement, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval characterized the Robinson family attorneys' presentation ".....a one-sided version of facts that will never be subjected to the cross examination afforded by a trial."

On behalf of Kenny, Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association Executive Director Jim Palmer said ".....if the Robinson family as confident about their claims as they suggest, they shouldn't have agreed to a settlement...Matt Kenny would have preferred a trial."

Officials say the city of Madison's insurer made the decision to settle the lawsuit short of trial.  A copy of the city's policy with the insurer states the insurer makes such decisions in all matters above the city's financial responsibility for any settlement up to $300,000.

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