Nearly 2,000 students marched in Madison, Wisconsin on Monday—many of them high schoolers—in remembrance of 19-year-old Tony Robinson, the unarmed biracial teen shot and killed by police last week.
Robinson’s family spoke at the march, and gave us deeper glimpses into the young man who died on Friday.
Known to the family as “Terrell” (so as not to be confused with his father, Tony Robinson, Sr.), Robinson is said to have “struggled” with being biracial, and for that he “felt like a misfit for most of his life,” said the slain teen’s uncle, Turin Carter, as reported by MSNBC. “Terrell, he was a good, kind-hearted kid and he wanted to be loved.”
Carter also confirmed that Robinson’s mother still has not been able to see her son’s body, yet he still cut the police some slack.
“We are not proponents of anti-police…we understand that this is an individual act the entire department must take responsibility for,” said Robison’s uncle. “We understand that law enforcement is necessary and mandatory and we need to change our mindset about the police…” Carter said at a news conference outside the house where Robinson was shot.
Officer Matt Kenny, the 12-year police veteran who shot Robinson, is on paid administrative leave while the Wisconsin Department of Justice investigates the shooting. In 2007, Kenny was involved in a fatal “suicide by cop” shooting that was later found to be justified.
Reuters reports the back story:
On Friday night, Kenny, 45, responded to reports of an assault and a man dodging cars in traffic. Kenny followed the suspect into a dwelling. [Police Chief Michael] Koval said the officer was struck in the head and then shot the unarmed teen.
Last year, Robinson pleaded guilty to armed robbery, and was placed on probation. Sentencing documents show it was his first brush with the law, and he was not the armed person in the group that committed the robbery.
And though Carter said unequivocally that he thinks his nephew should still be here, he also had further words of reconciliation for the process: “I trust Wisconsin and we trust them to handle this with integrity, and without bias and as fact finders.”
The state of Wisconsin last year passed a law requiring independent investigators to probe incidents of police involved shootings. The bill reportedly had support from police associations.