Madison Teen's Killing Has 'Ripped Community Apart'

Protests dominate weekend after Tony Robinson's death
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2015 7:56 AM CDT
Madison Teen's Killing Has 'Ripped Community Apart'
People protest Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Madison, Wis., following the death of Tony Robinson.   (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

This weekend saw three days of protests and events on behalf of Tony Robinson, the unarmed black teenager killed by police in Madison, Wis. His death "has ripped this community apart," family friend Craig Spaulding tells NBC News. Indeed, passionate protests began "almost immediately" at the spot where Robinson was shot, a neighbor says. More than 100 people set out on a walk toward the Wisconsin capital building last night, Reuters reports; they chanted, "The people united will never be defeated." One activist group planned an event for kids: "We need a way for our kids to talk about this horrifying tragedy and be part of the movement for Black Lives!" the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition posted on Facebook.

Meanwhile, a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offers details of the night Robinson died. A dispatch audio recording posted by Liberty News, which notes that witnesses didn't see weapons, also contains a dispatcher saying Robinson tried to strangle a "patron"—apparently of a nearby gas station—in a local residence, the paper reports, noting that Robinson had also apparently punched a friend. Soon after Officer Matt Kenny arrived on the scene, he called for an ambulance, saying shots had been fired, the recording suggests. Mayor Paul Soglin has noted the timing of Robinson's death: The shooting occurred the same weekend as the country marked the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Ala. But despite "mounting tensions" between the police and people of Madison, Spaulding is hopeful: "This has to stop, and we can stop it." (More Tony Robinson stories.)

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