MADISON (WITI) — The family of Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny has released a statement through the Wisconsin Professional Police Association. It is the first time Officer Kenny’s family has commented since the March 6th shooting of 19-year-old Tony Robinson in Madison.
The statement from Officer Kenny’s family reads as follows:
Up to this point, we have preferred to remain silent, out of respect for the profound grief we know that Tony Robinson’s family and friends feel. We are deeply saddened by his loss. We know he mattered, and we wish that this tragedy could have been avoided. We also understand and support the impulse to protest, and we want to thank Tony Robinson’s family and other community leaders for their consistent calls for peaceful demonstrations.
Madison, as a community, can do better for all its citizens. We must discuss, perhaps with more urgency, how our community handles racial inequality and then do something about it. And while we acknowledge that Madison has problems, we also feel that my brother is not one of them. Matthew is an exemplary officer who operates with the highest level of integrity, judgment, and restraint. Further, his life has taken him across the country and around the world and into contact with people of all cultures and backgrounds. Growing up, Matthew lived in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Houston, Texas, and outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During his service in the Coast Guard, Matthew moved from Alaska to Puerto Rico to Virginia; while serving on the ice breaker the Polar Sea he sailed from the North Pole to Antarctica. It would not be difficult to find a wide array of people who can testify to his kindness, work ethic, and sense of fairness. We know that his colleagues and friends both on the MPD and in the Coast Guard have all valued his thoughtfulness, even when they also made fun of his lifelong habit of voracious reading.
As for his family, we can attest to Matthew’s caring, considerate nature, and his conscientiousness. His commitment to serving his community has led him to undertake numerous tasks that others would prefer to avoid. Matthew has pulled bodies from the sea after a plane crash in the Caribbean, sailed into rough waters to rescue boaters and fishermen in distress, and, while working for the MPD, intervened in countless domestic disputes, and deftly handled innumerable intoxicated, out-of-control people. He sees people at their worst, but he has maintained his dedication to the safety of our city.
As we have this important discussion about race, inequality, and best practices for community policing, we hope we can all continue to consider the complexity of these issues, the challenges we ask our police to address daily, and the humanity of all involved.
My parents and I don’t wish to speak directly to the media, but we did want to take this opportunity to issue this statement on behalf of the family as the public discussion of this tragic event continues.
On Friday, March 6th, authorities got a call that a male was yelling and jumping in front of cars, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said.
A little later, the dispatcher says, “Apparently Tony hit one of his friends. No weapons seen.”Dispatchers identified him as Tony Robinson, according to 911 audio obtained by WKOW.
About four minutes later, the dispatcher says, “I got another call for the same suspect at [the same address]. He tried to strangle another patron.”
About 30 seconds later, an unidentified officer says, “Shots fired, shots fired.”
When Officer Matt Kenny went to the apartment, he heard some commotion and forced his way in, Koval said.
“Once inside the home the subject involved in this incident — the same one allegedly out in traffic and that had battered someone — assaulted my officer,” Koval said.Koval says Robinson attacked Officer Kenny.
After that, according to the chief, “The officer did draw his revolver and subsequently shot the subject.”
Robinson had a criminal history. Wisconsin Circuit Court documents indicate Robinson pleaded guilty in December to an armed robbery that occurred last April.
This officer-involved shooting made Madison the latest epicenter of protests. Two rallies were held near the Capitol on Wednesday, March 11th — one in support of Robinson, and one in support of law enforcement.
One week ago, last Thursday, March 12th, the Wisconsin Department of Justice updated us on the investigation into this shooting. Attorney General Brad Schimel said the DOJ’s reports on this incident should be sent to a prosecutor in about two weeks.
The Dane County District Attorney, who will make the ultimate decision as to whether any charges will be filed in this case.