(MADISON, Wis.) – Following the decision by the insurance company for the city of Madison to settle the federal lawsuit filed against Police Officer Matt Kenny over the 2015 death of Tony Robinson, WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer issued the following statement on Kenny’s behalf:
Given the fact that the tragic death of Tony Robinson was more exhaustively, independently, and transparently investigated than perhaps any officer-involved death in the history of Madison, we are extraordinarily disappointed that the city’s insurance company chose to make a business decision that was more concerned with the costs of litigation than the facts of the case.
Multiple investigations were conducted into this matter, and all of them confirmed that Matt’s actions on March 6, 2015 were lawful and in response to a deadly threat, from which Matt sustained numerous injuries. Though we expect that there will be those who will attempt to portray the insurance company’s settlement as some sort of victory, nothing about this agreement, which includes no admission of wrongdoing, changes the fact that he has been fully and repeatedly exonerated.
Matt strongly believes that this lawsuit should have gone to trial, and he deeply regrets that he is being deprived of the opportunity to defend himself before a jury of his peers. While we continue to extend our sympathies to Mr. Robinson’s family, they have made some outrageous claims about Matt that will never be resolved. We would have preferred that they demand that the case go to trial, because rather than offer any amount of closure, this settlement only serves to further cast a pall over Matt’s devotion and service to the community, and that of the dedicated men and women of the Madison Police Department.
Since the shooting occurred, Madison has shown its uniqueness when compared to similar events around the country. The police department is diverse, its officers are highly trained, especially in areas such as de-escalation tactics and cultural awareness, and Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to require that police shootings be independently investigated in a transparent manner. Likewise, the community has peacefully voiced its concerns regarding the systemic inequalities that exist within our criminal justice system. Just as Madison demonstrated that it wasn’t Ferguson two years ago, the same remains true today.
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With over 10,000 members from almost 300 local association affiliates, the WPPA is Wisconsin’s largest law enforcement group.