MADISON, Wis. (AP) - An unarmed biracial man who was fatally shot by a Madison police officer forced the officer to open fire, attorneys for the city and the officer argue in new court filings.
Officer Matt Kenny shot 19-year-old Tony Robinson in a stairwell at a home split into apartments in March. Investigators said Robinson was high on mushrooms and started punching Kenny as the officer came up the stairs to investigate what he thought was a disturbance.
The shooting sparked a number of large street protests. Ultimately, though, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne cleared Kenny of any criminal wrongdoing and an internal investigation concluded he didn’t violate any police policies.
But in August, Robinson’s mother, Andrea Irwin, filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Kenny violated her son’s constitutional rights and that Madison’s police officers aren’t adequately trained.
City attorneys filed a reply on Monday demanding the lawsuit be dismissed, arguing that Kenny did nothing wrong and that Robinson’s death resulted from his own actions. They went on to argue Kenny is immune from the lawsuit because he took action as part of his official duties, which are discretionary in nature.
Kenny filed a reply on Friday making the same dismissal request. He argued he acted in good faith and Robinson’s own actions caused his death.
Irwin’s attorney, David Owens, said Monday that he’s not surprised the city would call Kenny’s action lawful. But Owens said it was “shocking” that the city would maintain that Robinson caused his own injuries and that “essentially the officer had no other decision but to kill an unarmed teenager.”
“That goes a step forward than saying this is legally justified,” Owens said. “I think that’s upsetting.”
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