Wisconsin capital marked by 3rd day of protests after police shooting

Updated: 2015-03-09 10:34


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Wisconsin capital marked by 3rd day of protests after police shooting

A sign in a store window pays tribute to a 19-year-old black man killed by police, at the 1100 block of Williamson Street in Madison, Wisconsin March 7, 2015. Demonstrators marched on Saturday to protest the police killing of the man, identified by the Dane County Medical Examiner's Office as Tony T. Robinson Jr., in Madison, Wisconsin, an incident that came amid growing scrutiny of U.S. law enforcement's use of lethal force against minorities, the poor and mentally ill. [Photo/Agencies]

Activists protested for a third day in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sunday over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman, the latest in a string of killings that have intensified concerns of racial bias in US law enforcement.

Sunday's demonstrations began with a sign-making event designed to involve children in protests over the death of the teen, Tony Robinson Jr.

Local media said scores of activists then marched through the streets of Madison toward the apartment home where Robinson died. A candlelight vigil was scheduled for later on Sunday evening.

Robinson, 19, was shot in Madison, Wisconsin's capital, on Friday evening after Officer Matt Kenny responded to calls of a man dodging cars in traffic who had allegedly battered another person, Police Chief Mike Koval said.

Kenny, 45, followed the suspect into an apartment, where the officer was struck in the head, according to Koval. Kenny then shot the unarmed teen, who died later in a local hospital.

Last year, the deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City triggered a wave of demonstrations against the use of excessive force by law enforcement.

Kenny is on paid administrative leave while the Wisconsin Department of Justice conducts an investigation.

In a statement on the city's website, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin called the shooting "a tragedy beyond description" and said the city would be transparent in communicating results of an investigation into the shooting.

He noted that the incident occurred on the same weekend as the 50th anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" march in Selma, Alabama, a turning point in the US civil rights movement.

Kenny, a 12-year veteran of the Madison Police Department, was exonerated in a police shooting in 2007 and even earned a commendation in the incident, Koval said.

"The circumstances of that case were concluded to be a suicide-by-cop sort of predilection," Koval said.

According to media reports, a 48-year-old man in that instance was shot to death after he pointed a gun at officers and refused to drop his weapon. The weapon was later determined to be a replica of a .38-caliber handgun.

Wisconsin court records show that Robinson pleaded guilty to armed robbery last year and received a probated six-month sentence. Koval declined to comment on Robinson's record.

"I'm not here to do a character work-up on someone who lost his life less than 24 hours ago," he said.