No charges for white officer who fatally shot black Wisconsin teen | News | DW | 13.05.2015
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No charges for white officer who fatally shot black Wisconsin teen

A US prosecutor has ruled that Matt Kenny used justifiable force in the fatal shooting of Tony Robinson in March. The case has been closely monitored amid a series of recent police shootings of unarmed black men.

A white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African-American teenager in the US state of Wisconsin will not face criminal charges, authorities announced Tuesday.

District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, who emphasized his own biracial heritage in explaining his ruling, concluded that officer Matt Kenny used justifiable force in the fatal March 6 shooting of 19-year-old Tony Robinson in the city of Madison. The killing sparked several days of protests.

"I conclude that this tragic and unfortunate death was the result of a lawful use of deadly police force and that no charges should be brought," Ozanne told reporters.

"My decision will not bring Tony Robinson Jr. back. My decision will not end the racial disparities that exist in the justice system," he added.

Police said Kenny was responding to calls that Robinson, possibly under the influence of multiple drugs, was running in and out of traffic and had assaulted two people. Ozanne said that Robinson attacked Kenny after he entered the apartment house where Robinson was staying.

"Tony's behavior was aggressive, violent and [the officer] feared for his safety and that of others as well, and for the safety of Tony Robinson," Ozanne said.

'Politics, not justice'

Robinson's family quickly blasted the decision, with Robinson's mother Andrea Irwin saying the investigation into the shooting wasn't thorough enough.

"They could have done a lot. What they didn't do was give my son any respect," she said.

"This is politics and not justice," said Robinson's grandmother, Sharon Irwin.

The Robinson case was being closely monitored after the recent rioting in the US city of Baltimore following the death in police custody of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man. The riots led authorities to deploy the National Guard and declare a citywide curfew.

The Freddie Gray case led to a US Justice Department probe being launched against the Baltimore police department in order to ascertain if police practices have systemically violated residents' civil rights.

A similar investigation was launched following the shooting death of 18-year-old black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last summer. It found multiple instances of civil rights violations in the Midwestern town.

A federal grand jury refused to bring charges against the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, sparking violent protests.

bw/cmk (AP, AFP)

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