Madison, Wis.: Mass rally at Capitol hits cop killing of Black youth

Madison, Wis., March 7. The Capitol has been the site for labor and Black Lives Matter protests.Photo: Heath Tschetter

Madison, Wis., March 7. The Capitol has been the site for labor and Black Lives Matter protests.
Photo: Heath Tschetter

Madison, Wis. — Protests continue here over the March 6 police killing of Tony Robinson, a 19-year-old Black man who was shot five times in the chest while unarmed.

Almost immediately after police officer Matt Kenny killed Robinson, hundreds came out to protest near the scene where the murder took place in Robinson’s residence near Willy Street and Few Street.

A March 6 media release by the Young, Gifted and Black coalition read, “Given the racial disparities in Madison, we have known our city is no different. Young, Gifted and Black will continue to fight against this state violence against Black people and for justice for Anthony Robinson.” YGB, which formed in the wake of the Ferguson protests, has been leading demonstrations for months against police terror, mass incarceration and other forms of state violence against people of color.

Killer cop Kenny has a history of violence in the Madison Police Department. He shot to death another unarmed individual in 2007. Nevertheless, Kenny has received a commendation by the MPD, which clearly defends his actions.

Robinson’s grandmother, Sharon Irwin, and aunt, Lorien Carter, spoke to the gathering crowd March 6.

Referring to police killings of young Black men such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others, Irwin said: “This can’t go on anymore. It’s going on across the United States and it’s ridiculous. You [police] don’t have a license to kill.”

Carter said family members were not allowed to see Robinson after he was pronounced dead. “We were told he was evidence,” Carter said. “He wasn’t referred to as ‘his son’ or ‘your son,’ just ‘evidence.’”

Robinson’s family said that Anthony had just graduated early from Sun Prairie High School and was planning on studying business at Madison College. The capitalist media have already begun to attempt to assassinate Robinson’s character.

The police killing of Robinson is not unusual in recent history. From Ferguson, Mo., to Wisconsin, incidents like this happen every day in the United States. Dozens of Black and Brown people have been killed by police in Milwaukee, Madison and elsewhere over just the past two decades in Wisconsin, all ultimately killed for the color of their skin and being poor.

In Milwaukee, the struggle for justice for Dontre Hamilton rages on. Hamilton was shot 14 times and killed instantly by killer cop Christopher Manney last April 30 at Red Arrow Park in Milwaukee. Manney was fired late last year but has an appeal hearing March 19, which the Coalition for Justice is mobilizing for.

Under the banner of Black Lives Matter, activists have resisted in Wisconsin and nationwide, telling the racist cops and politicians that modern lynching will not be tolerated. These ongoing actions include street demonstrations, direct action and civil disobedience inspired by the revolutionary resistance of the people of Ferguson.

Stop police-state terror!

On March 7, hundreds at a YGB organizing meeting in Madison decided the next actions in response to Robinson’s killing. Following the meeting, a protest took to the streets with a lead YGB banner declaring, “Black Lives Matter.”

Members of the Coalition for Justice, including Maria Hamilton, the mother of Dontre Hamilton and Occupy The Hood members from Milwaukee, participated in these actions. Many working-class white youth are also demanding justice for the Robinson and Hamilton families and others whom Wisconsin police have killed. On March 8, hundreds participated in Madison in a Kid Action and Candlelight Vigil for Robinson.

The YGB and Coalition for Justice aim to call actions to inspire people to resist the system that criminalizes and kills people of color.

On March 11 at 3 p.m. in Madison, poor and working people will rally against the New Jim Crow and demand justice for Tony Robinson, meeting at Worthington Park at the corner of Darbo Drive and Rosemary Street in the Darbo neighborhood. A student walkout at Edgewood High School is also scheduled. All protesters will converge at a protest location of the 1%.

A statement from Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) says the youth group stands “firmly opposed to racist killings whether in Ferguson, Gaza or Madison. Down with the racist police state! Justice for Tony Robinson and all others who have been harmed or killed by police terror!”

Heath Tschetter is a member of Janesville, Wis., FIST. For more information, go to