COPY-Union official says no forced entry by officer before teen's shooting
MADISON (WKOW) -- As state investigators prepare to hand over the results of their probe into a Madison Police officer's fatal shooting of unarmed, teenage suspect Tony Robinson, a police union official maintains Madison Police Chief Mike Koval's statement on events just prior to the fatal encounter includes an inaccuracy.
During a news conference three hours after the Mar. 6 shooting, Koval told reporters police officer Matt Kenny was the first officer on the scene at an apartment building on Williamson Street. Koval said Kenny and other officers were responding to reports of Robinson running in traffic, and suspected of battering someone.
Koval described Kenny believing there was a disturbance inside the building, creating an "exigent" circumstance, where someone could be in danger.
"The notion that Officer Kenny forced his way into the premises in which the shooting of Tony Robinson occurred is one that has added to the controversial nature of this tragedy," Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association executive director Jim Palmer wrote in a statement to 27 News.
Palmer notes agents with the state division of criminal investigation "...will incorporate a tremendous amount of evidence."
"We are confident that this evidence will accurately demonstrate the nature of Officer Kenny's entry into the building, and that it was not forcible as some media reports have incorrectly indicated," Palmer wrote.
Palmer's assertions were first reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.
The newspaper reported Palmer said the door to the home on Williamson Street had been left open.
27 News asked Koval if his Mar. 6 statement on the officer's entry into the building was accurate.
"When I got an initial 'snapshot' of those events which led to the hastily convened press conference, my attempts to provide an overview may have created confusion. Sorry," Koval wrote in a statement to 27 News.
Koval's statement did not specifically reference the officer's manner of entry. "I know Officer Kenny entered due to his belief of exigency," Koval wrote.
On Mar. 6, and in a later interview with 27 News, Koval said Robinson punched Kenny in the head, "staggering" the officer. Koval said Kenny responded by shooting Robinson, although he's made no comment on anything else that may have transpired between the two men, and whether anyone else was present during the fatal clash.
A state justice department spokesperson says the forwarding of investigative reports to Dane County district attorney Ismael Ozanne will be complete Friday. Ozanne will then assess whether any crime was committed in connection to the shooting of Robinson. A separate assessment will take place on whether Kenny violated any police department policy or rule in his actions. Here's the body of the statement from WPPA's Palmer:
Obviously, as you can imagine and as we have seen, the notion that Officer Kenny forced his way into the premises in which the shooting of Tony Robinson occurred is one that has added to the controversial nature of this tragedy. A great deal of the reporting on this incident thus far has portrayed Officer Kenny making a forcible entry, when that is simply not the case. DCI's investigation will incorporate a tremendous amount of evidence that likely includes witness interviews and any available video footage. We are confident that this evidence will accurately demonstrate the nature of Officer Kenny's entry into the building, and that it was not forcible as some media reports have incorrectly indicated. While, out of respect for ongoing DCI investigation, we will continue to refrain from speaking to specific details regarding Officer Kenny's use of force, we believe that it is important to correct the media reports as to this detail.
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