Family of Wis. Teen Fatally Shot by Police Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit

Tony Robinson Jr.

The family of a teen who was fatally shot by a Madison, Wis., police officer is seeking unspecified damages in a federal civil rights lawsuit, claiming that the officer’s actions were unconstitutional, the Associated Press reports.

The lawsuit accuses Police Officer Matt Kenny of violating Tony Robinson Jr.’s equal-protection rights, as well as his right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. The lawsuit also points the finger at the city of Madison as enabling such misconduct by not adequately training, supervising and controlling officers, the newswire reports.


“Despite the cries of a grieving community, the authorities, including the city of Madison, have endorsed Defendant Kenny’s actions,” the lawsuit read. “Those actions have left a family and community irreparably harmed, and without other recourse.”

Kenny’s attorney, however, points out that his client was completely exonerated of wrongdoing after a thorough investigation. Prosecutors did not pursue charges in the case, and the police chief said that Kenny had not violated departmental policies.


“While the death of Tony Robinson was tragic and has helped spark a constructive dialogue in Wisconsin on the relationship between law enforcement and the people it serves, Officer Kenny’s actions were completely justified,” Kenny’s attorney, Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, told AP.

Andrea Irwin, Robinson’s mother, said at a press conference that the lawsuit was a way to try to get justice for her son.


“We have sat back and tried to let the justice system work for itself, but at the end of the day there has been no justice,” the grieving mother said Wednesday.

Robinson was allegedly high on mushrooms, according to witnesses, when he got into a confrontation with Officer Kenny March 6. Kenny had reportedly heard what sounded like a struggle in an apartment and drew his weapon before starting up the stairs leading to the apartment. Robinson reportedly appeared at the top of the stairs and attacked Kenny, who fired seven rounds. 


The apartment in question was found empty, causing investigators to conclude that Robinson had been talking to himself at the time. 

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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