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In the Absence of Charges, Protesters Demand 'Justice' for Tony Robinson

"We must never ever forget what happened...We need to demand change."

"What's his name?" protesters shouted. "Tony Robinson!" (Photo: Young Gifted and Black Coalition/ Twitter)

"What's his name?" protesters shouted. "Tony Robinson!" (Photo: Young Gifted and Black Coalition/ Twitter)

In the absence of justice, residents of Madison, Wisconsin and other demonstrators say they will seek it on their own, one day after local officials announced they would not press charges against the police officer who killed local teenager Tony Robinson.

In the hours since Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said in a Tuesday press conference that Robinson's "tragic and unfortunate death was the result of a lawful use of deadly police force," the streets of Madison have been rocked by peaceful marches, speeches, and calls for redress.

Robinson, a bi-racial 19-year-old, was unarmed when he was shot and killed by white police officer Matt Kenny on March 6.

On Wednesday, the Young, Gifted, and Black Coalition held a city-wide walkout for workers, students, and other community members protesting the DA's decision. An estimated 400 people took part in the demonstration, which began with a rally outside the residence where Robinson was shot before the group marched to the Dane County Courthouse to hold what they called "a people's court."

"No justice, no peace, no racist police," the crowd chanted as they marched through downtown Madison, stopping traffic along the way.

During the public trial, activists demanded an independent United Nations investigation into the case and called for the city of Madison to hand over control of the police force to the community. Others reportedly barricaded the courthouse by chaining themselves in front of the entrance.

Following the announcement on Tuesday, Robinson's family held a press conference during which they swore to pursue justice and called on the community to seek lasting, systemic changes in Robinson's honor.

"Today, when they decided Officer Matt Kenny was not going to be indicted for brutally murdering my 19-year-old son, they thought that this battle was over," Andrea Irwin, Robinson's mother, told the crowd. "What they did not realize on the night that they took my son from me is I am not the type to be defeated."

And family friend Craig Spaulding added: "We must never ever forget what happened...We need to demand change."


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The death of Robinson has been compared with other recent police killings of unarmed Black men. And the failure to bring charges against Kenny has also been held up as another example of an unjust system that allows police to kill with impunity.

Updates and images from the demonstrations are being shared on Twitter under the hashtag #TonyRobinson.

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