'Justice For Tony': 1,500 Demonstrators Protest Police Shooting In Wisconsin

03/11/2015 06:33 pm ET | Updated Mar 11, 2015
Scott Olson via Getty Images

MADISON, Wis., March 11 (Reuters) - About 1,500 people, some banging plastic pails or blowing whistles, marched on Wednesday afternoon to the Wisconsin corrections department in Madison to protest the fatal police shooting last week of an unarmed biracial young man.

The shooting of Tony Robinson, 19, in Wisconsin's capital by a veteran white Madison police officer on Friday was the latest in a string of officer-involved deaths around the country that have heightened concerns about racial bias in U.S. law enforcement.

A rally over another such shooting was to be held Wednesday evening in Decatur, Georgia. Activists are questioning the use of force against Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old black man, who was naked and unarmed when he was shot and killed by a white police officer in an Atlanta suburb on Monday.

The mostly young Wisconsin protesters carried signs calling for "Justice for Tony."

Robinson's mother, Andrea Irwin, said her "wonderful" son would be in awe of the crowd's support, and that she wanted no violence done in his name.

"I want to be able to make a change," Irwin said. "I don't want my son to have died in vain."

No arrests were made, and police presence was light, with only about 10 uniformed officers.

The officer who shot Robinson, Matt Kenny, had responded to calls about a man who had battered someone and was dodging traffic in the street, police have said. Police said Kenny shot Robinson after the young man attacked him.

Each day since the incident, mourners and protesters have gathered outside the house where Robinson died. On Monday, about 2,000 Madison teenagers walked out of high school classes to demonstrate at the state Capitol.

The shooting has cast a light on the divide between the liberal whites that dominate the university city and its black residents.

The demonstrations over Robinson's death, although peaceful, have brought back memories of the sometimes violent clashes that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, in August after Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot and in November after a grand jury declined to charge the officer who shot him.

Brown's shooting, and the choking death in New York of Eric Garner, both of whom were black and unarmed, triggered demonstrations against police use of force around the nation.

Kenny is on paid administrative leave. Wisconsin's Department of Justice is investigating the shooting under a state law that requires independent investigators to take the lead in officer-involved deaths. (Editing by Sandra Maler, Mary Wisniewski and Jonathan Oatis)

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