In an interview with CNN, Madison Police Department Chief Mike Koval apologized for the death of 19-year-old Tony Robinson, who was shot dead in an officer-involved shooting last weekend.
Both Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and Koval appeared on CNN Monday to discuss Robinson’s death. Taylor successfully passed a bill in the last legislative session that requires independent investigations of officer-involved shootings.
The state’s Department of Justice, not MPD, is currently investigating the shooting.
Attorney General says DOJ working “expeditiously” on Robinson investigationAs Madisonians continued to take to the streets Monday in protest of the death of 19-year-old Tony Robinson, Attorney General Read…
The case has been compared to Ferguson, where a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager.
Koval recognized the Madison and Ferguson incidents are inextricably tied. But he said given the trust MPD has gained with the community over time, he would like to believe the police department will not be defined by the incident.
“I’m hopeful that when given an opportunity, the community, the family and their friends … will forgive us and that we can move on constructively and re-establish that trust we need to do good community policing,” Koval said.
Koval said while race issues within police departments are an “inescapable reality,” MPD has done unconscious bias training for the six to seven years and said he believes MPD has some of the best practices in that regard.
Taylor was at the gas station across the street where Robinson was shot and heard the gunshots.
Koval apologized on behalf of himself and MPD during his interview, but when David Klinger, former police officer and a professor of criminology, said it was too early for Koval to apologize, Taylor disagreed with him.
“There was huge loss, both for the community, for the family and even the officer and the loved ones involved,” Taylor said. “So I think it was absolutely the right thing to do to apologize. We all should feel sorry. We all should feel distressed by this situation.”
Watch the full interview with Koval below: