US: $3.35 mn settlement for family of black teen killed by police officer in 2015
Relatives of Robinson, an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot March 6, 2015, by police in Madison, say they have settled a federal civil rights lawsuit for $3.35 millionworld Updated: Feb 24, 2017 09:11 IST
Relatives of an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a police officer in Wisconsin will receive $ 3.35 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit, attorneys have announced.
Tony Robinson Jr, 19, was shot and killed by Madison police officer Matt Kenny, who is white, in 2015. The shooting sparked protests throughout the city and calls for an examination of police use of force.
Robinson’s attorneys yesterday said the deal was the largest police shooting settlement in Wisconsin history. Attorney David Owens called it vindication for parents still grieving the loss of their oldest son.
“If you could bring their son back, would they give all the money back? Absolutely,” Owens said.
The settlement was reached by the city of Madison’s insurance carrier and Robinson’s family. Kenny’s attorney, Jim Palmer, said it was nothing more than a business decision to avoid the costs of trial.
“The Robinson family has made a number of outrageous claims that will now never be resolved,” Palmer said. “The settlement serves to further cast a pall over Matt’s reputation and his service to the community.”
Kenny shot and killed Robinson in an apartment house after Robinson’s friend called police because Robinson was acting erratically. Kenny said he entered the house to investigate sounds of a disturbance, and Robinson started punching him.
Kenny’s attorney said Kenny suffered a concussion, but Owens disputes that. Owens said three of Kenny’s seven shots appeared to be fired from several feet away, contradicting Kenny’s account that Robinson was attacking him.
“There is no way in the universe that this happened the way Matt said it did,” Owens said. “We did the investigation that the city of Madison refused to do. They wouldn’t have paid a dime if they thought they were going to win a trial.”
An autopsy showed Robinson had traces of drugs in his system, including hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Kenny was later cleared of criminal wrongdoing and an internal investigation found he acted within police policies. District attorney Ismael Ozanne declined to charge him with any crime.
The Police Department did change policy to give officers the option of using a Taser when alone in situations requiring the use of force.
Attorneys for Robinson’s family, including Owens, appeared with Robinson’s mother and other relatives at a press conference yesterday.
Owens said, despite the settlement, he plans to ask federal investigators, Ozanne and the Madison Police Department to review evidence gathered for the trial. He said the department’s investigation failed to question Kenny’s account.