The Madison, Wisconsin, police officer involved in the shooting death of an unarmed black man was identified Saturday as Matt Kenny, a 12-year veteran with the department who was involved in a prior fatal shooting. Police Chief Mike Koval told a news conference Tony Terrell Robinson Jr., 19, was not carrying a weapon when he and Kenny got into a struggle at an apartment on Madison’s East Side where Kenny was responding to reports of a disturbance, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The shooting took place at around 6:30 p.m. Friday.
During the press conference, Koval acknowledged similarities between the situations in Madison and Ferguson, Missouri, where the shooting death of Michael Brown last summer sparked months of civil unrest and inspired an ongoing national dialogue about the alarming rate of black youths shot and killed by white officers.
“To the extent that you have, again, a person of color, unarmed who subsequently loses his life at the hands of the police, I can’t very well distance myself from that brutal reality,” Koval said, according to the Guardian.
At the same time, Koval said the similarities stopped there, citing his department’s diverse staff and extensive training -- a contrast to the Ferguson Police Department where a recent U.S. Department of Justice report exposed a disturbing pattern of racial bias and excessive force.
Kenny, 45, has been placed on administrative leave. In 2007, he was involved in the shooting death of a man who pointed a pellet gun at officers. The incident was ruled “suicide by cop,” and Kenny was cleared, the Daily News reported.
Robinson’s death sparked protests around Madison Saturday, with demonstrators chanting, “Black lives matter,” and other phrases.
A GoFundMe campaign reportedly collecting funds for Robinson’s funeral expenses has taken in nearly $5,000 in less than a day.