Students in Madison, Wisconsin, were expected to walk out of their classes Wednesday morning to protest the fatal shooting of unarmed biracial teen Tony Robinson by a Madison police officer. They learned Tuesday that Officer Matt Kenny would not face criminal charges in Robinson's March 6 death and staged peaceful protests in solidarity with the family of the 19-year-old victim.
Students and other protesters were expected to gather for a demonstration at Williamson and Few streets, in front of the house where Robinson was shot by Kenny. To watch live coverage of the students' walkout and demonstration, expected to begin around 9 a.m. CDT, click here.
The protesters, led by activists in the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition of Madison, had demanded that Kenny be fired and charged with homicide. Police said Robinson, who was under the influence of several drugs at the time, physically assaulted Kenny before the officer shot him multiple times in the face, chest and arm. Friends who were aware that Robinson had taken drugs called police after he reportedly assaulted someone in an apartment on Williamson Street.
Wednesday kicks off what local organizers call the "Black Spring," part of a national movement for the liberation of African-Americans from excessive force by police and racial discrimination, among other social and economic issues.
Black Spring draws on the wave of police-involved killings of young black men, including those of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, protest organizers said. "It is a movement that recognizes the poverty, mass incarceration, evacuated education systems, and physical and mental health struggles that black people face all as injuries incurred in the war against black people across America," organizers wrote in a manifesto for the demonstration.
Robinson's family said Tuesday they are considering their legal options, despite Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne's decision not to charge Kenny. The family met with Ozanne moments after his announcement, local NBC affiliate WMTV reported. "This is politics and not justice," Sharon Irwin, Robinson's grandmother, told protesters after the meeting.
"What they did not realize the night they took my son from me, is that I am not the type to be defeated and I am not but just beginning to fight," declared Andrea Irwin, Robinson's mother.