Exactly one year after his death, the Madison community rallied together once again to remember Tony Robinson, the 19-year-old killed in an officer-involved shooting.
Around 200 people gathered on Williamson Street Sunday just a block down from where Madison police officer Matthew Kenny shot and killed Robinson March 6, 2015. Chants of “we are TR” and “hands up, don’t shoot” rang throughout the neighborhood as the group made their way down the street.
One year later: Madison activists continue to work toward ‘Justice for Tony’Twenty seconds passed from the time Madison Police Department officer Matthew Kenny arrived at the scene and became involved in Read…
While the day was one full of sadness for many, Andrea Irwin, Robinson’s mother, also described the day as full of hope for the future. The march, she said, was a chance for the community to make a difference and have their voices heard.
“It’s a good thing to see all of the people out because they want change,” Andrea Irwin said. “They don’t want to keep living in a society where you can be shot down when you’re unarmed, when you need help.”
While a year has passed since Robinson’s death, many at the march were still unhappy with the lack of reform in the police force and city.
Kody Batts, who participated in the protest Sunday, said the march was all about “sending a message” and bringing incidents of police violence to light. He stressed people, especially law enforcement officers, should be held accountable and face consequences for their actions.
Sharon Irwin, Robinson’s grandmother, agreed.
“There has been no justice,” she said.
In May 2015, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced Kenny would not face criminal charges in Robinson’s death. Robinson’s family later filed a federal lawsuit in August against Kenny and the city of Madison.
While Sharon Irwin said she respects those in law enforcement and the military, she said they should not be able to act above the letter of the law.
“I want my grandchildren to be safe and they’re not,” she said. “I don’t want them to go into a world of chaos where our police are militarized and shoot anyone they want to.”
No indictment for officer who fatally shot Tony RobinsonMadison police officer Matthew Kenny will not be indicted for fatally shooting 19-year-old Tony Robinson, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Read…
Robinson family sues city, Madison Police Officer Matthew KennyThe family of Tony Robinson, an unarmed black teenager killed in an officer-involved-shooting in March, filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the Read…
Dozens of Madison Police officers blocked off traffic during the march, standing unfazed as some marchers called them “killer cops.”
Andrea Irwin said she does not hate police officers. The day after the shooting, she said an officer driving by gave her a “big hug” and told her, “It’ll be okay.”
Following the march, community members circled back to 1125 Williamson St., the home where Robinson was killed, for a candlelight vigil.
At the vigil, community members chanted Robinson’s name, observed a moment of silence and listened to Andrea Irwin and other family members recount memories shared with Robinson.
Andrea Irwin and Sharon Irwin both said they hope the march offered the Madison community an opportunity to come together to create a better future.
“I can’t change what happened,” Andrea Irwin said. “But we can change the future.”
Emily Hamer, Vidushi Saxena and Teymour Tomsyck contributed reporting to this article.