MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A 19-year-old black teen died Friday night after being shot by an officer in Madison, authorities said.
Tony Robinson was shot after an altercation with the officer and died at a hospital, Police Chief Mike Koval said. He did not know whether the man was armed, but said “initial findings at the scene did not reflect a gun or anything of that nature that would have been used by the subject.”
The state Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating this shooting as part of a 2014 Wisconsin law that requires police departments to have outside agencies probe officer-involved deaths.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that a crowd of people gathered at the scene Friday night and chanted “Black Lives Matter,” a slogan adopted by activists and protesters around the nation after recent officer-involved deaths of unarmed black men.
Andrea Irwin, who told WKOW-TV she was Robinson’s mother, said: “My son has never been a violent person. And to die in such a violent, violent way, it baffles me.”
Koval said police were called about 6:30 p.m. Friday because the man was jumping into traffic. A second call to police said the man was “responsible for a battery,” Koval said.
The officer went to an apartment where he thought the man had gone, and forced his way inside after hearing a disturbance. Koval said the officer was assaulted by the 19-year-old and then fired at him. Koval said he believes there was more than one shot fired.
The shooting came days after the U.S. Justice Department cleared Darren Wilson, the white former Ferguson officer who shot Michael Brown, of federal civil rights charges in the death of the 18-year-old, who was black and unarmed. A second report found patterns of racial profiling, bigotry and profit-driven law enforcement and court practices in the St. Louis suburb.
Madison, about 80 miles west of Milwaukee, is the state capital and home to the University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus. About 7 percent of the city’s 243,000 residents are black.
Mayor Paul Soglin called it “a tragedy beyond description,” the newspaper reported. He also said Madison police won’t be able to provide many details about the shooting because of the outside investigation.
“I expect there will be a lot of anger and frustrations, particularly from friends,” Soglin said. “I hope as the pain eases that something constructive will come of this.”
Koval referenced recent officer-involved deaths across the nation, saying “it’s understandable that the reaction at the scene and of some of our citizens is extremely volatile, emotional and upsetting. … We would urge, obviously, that everyone exercise restraint, calm and allow the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to conduct their affairs.”
Sharon Irwin, who told the newspaper she was Robinson’s grandmother, urged protesters to be peaceful.
“I think you need to rise up but I don’t want violence,” she said.