Michael Johnson: MPD committed to helping Madison heal after sho - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Michael Johnson: MPD committed to helping Madison heal after shooting

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The leader of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County says the Madison Police Department and Chief Mike Koval have handled the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting with respect and dignity.

Michael Johnson posted a message to Chief Koval and the community on his Facebook page Sunday, two days after Tony Robinson, 19, was shot and killed when a Madison officer responded to 911 calls on Williamson Street.

Johnson and others are asking everyone to come out to a candlelight vigil Sunday evening at 7:30 at the home where Robinson was shot.

Here is Johnson's full statement:

"First, let me say my deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the friends and family of Anthony (Tony) Robinson, Jr., in this very difficult time as they grieve his loss. My thoughts are also with the hundreds of police officers who serve and protect our streets, and the citizens of Madison. Our police chief, Mike Koval, has certainly earned my vote of confidence and I appreciate how he is handling the aftermath so far.

I have been meeting with Chief Koval and offering advice and counsel, as he will undoubtedly face some tough conversations and decisions in the months ahead. He will surely need the community's support and prayers, as our city will be challenged as a result of this tragic incident. Further, as a leader in the community, many African American boys are in my care and it's important that I do what I can to ensure a similar incident doesn't happen again.

Over the last few days, I have watched Chief Koval and the Madison Police Department handle protestors with respect and dignity. His personal outreach to our communities of color has not gone unnoticed. I believe he understands the anger and distrust.

On the night of the shooting, I called Chief Koval around 1 o'clock in the morning and asked him to join me and another community leader on a visit to the family of Tony Robinson, Jr. Without hesitation, he jumped in my car en route to the other side of town. He agreed that, as the Chief of Police, his immediate communication with the family was important.

When we reached the home, Tony's grandparents were quite vocal, extremely concerned and understandably angry. Chief Koval apologized, and shortly thereafter they all prayed together. Tony's grandfather pleaded with the chief, asking him to “please do the right thing.” Chief Koval responded by saying, "I will." That was a powerful and humbling moment.

Ultimately, a thorough investigation will be conducted by the state's Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Dane County District Attorney will then review that investigation. In spite of the divisiveness that currently exists in our community, I know that Chief Koval, along with his department, is committed to helping this great city of ours as we travel the road to healing. As long as our community keeps the lines of communication open, we can collectively begin to make sure that Anthony (Tony) Robinson, Jr.'s death is not in vain.

Shortly before he was killed, Robert Kennedy shared these wise words of counsel in response to the loss of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

I am calling on all elected officials, the faith based community, law enforcement officials, YGB and others to join us tonight at the candle light vigil."

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