Tony Robinson did not attack Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny, Kenny shot and killed him from some distance, and Kenny lied to investigators about the incident, according to attorneys for Robinson’s family.

Attorneys David Owens and Anand Swaminathan
Attorneys David Owens and Anand Swaminathan

In strong statements at a press conference Thursday, attorneys for the estate of Tony Robinson said they will make new evidence public in coming weeks that shows Madison Officer Matt Kenny lied about the shooting of the 19-year-old, calling on District Attorney Ismael Ozanne to reopen a criminal investigation and urging the Madison Police Department to conduct another internal investigation.

They say audio, video and forensic evidence will make it clear that Kenny shot Robinson from the bottom of the stairs at 1125 Williamson Street, not while Robinson was attacking him at the top of the stairs as Kenny has claimed.

They also noted that Kenny claimed to have a concussion after being attacked by Robinson, but was horseback riding just days afterward.

“If there was a concussion … there’s a whole bunch of inconsistent behavior,” said attorney David Owens.

“At the very least, he should be charged for lying. Perjury,” said Anand Swaminathan, an attorney representing Robinson’s estate.

The attorneys from the Chicago firm Loevy & Loevy earlier today announced that the City had settled their civil rights lawsuit, due to go to trial on Monday, for a record $3.35 million.

Sharon Irwin, the grandmother of Tony Robinson, Jr, comforts Tony's younger brother as attorneys recount the circumstances of his death at a press conference Thursday.
Sharon Irwin, the grandmother of Tony Robinson, Jr, comforts Tony’s younger brother as attorneys recount the circumstances of his death at a press conference Thursday.

They said the City settled because their investigation clearly showed that the incident in which Robinson was fatally shot could not have happened in the way Kenny described.

“We are going to ask the district attorney here to reexamine the case,” Owens said. “We are going to give him all the evidence that we learned during the discovery hearing and implore him to reevaluate the situation.”

The attorneys were also sharply critical of the Madison Police Department’s internal investigation that came after the DA declined to press charges, even though he knew Kenny’s story didn’t add up.

Attorney Anand Swaminathan and Andrea Irwin
Attorney Anand Swaminathan and Andrea Irwin

“What the District Attorney is saying is I may not be able to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt, but I’m telling you that story does not make any sense,” said Swaminathan, a Madison native. “The Madison police department then goes and conducts its own internal investigation and asks zero questions. We will ask the Madison police department to conduct the internal investigation that it never conducted. Now do it. Now you have all the evidence. You decided to pay $3.35 million to resolve this case. Clearly you knew you had a problem. Now do the investigation that you never did.”

The attorneys said the state Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations did an adequate job, but could have done more.

“They did what was asked of them” by the DA, Owens said. “If the district attorney wanted to get to the bottom of some of these questions, he could have asked more.”

They also noted that Kenny was allowed to review the audio and video evidence before being questioned, something that is allowed in officer-involved shooting cases but no other criminal cases. Owens speculated that Kenny may have viewed the evidence and then constructed a story to fit the evidence.

The attorneys do not have a specific plan yet to make the evidence public, but will do so in the coming weeks. They say they hope the community will view the evidence and put pressure on the Police Department and local officials to reopen the investigation. They do have the option to hire pi newport beach to do a private investigation.

Meanwhile Andrea Irwin, Robinson’s mother, asked the community to have an open mind and be careful about making comments about Tony online, which often tend toward portraying him as a drug user who attacked a police officer.

“I just want people to understand that we have children,” she said. “We have two teenage boys and a young daughter who don’t deserve to be reading and watching things that are said in such a disgusting manner. Whatever you believe about my son he was a human being. He was my son and he was Tony (Robinson, Sr)’s son and he was a brother and a nephew and a grandson. If you don’t care about us, my children don’t deserve to hear the horrible things that are said.

“We don’t care about the money,” she said. “We wanted to go to trial. But we don’t want to put our kids through things they don’t have to go through. My son deserves some peace. He is gone. We don’t need to hear what a disgusting human being you think he was. We have children who need to be left alone, and that’s all we ask. I hope that when you go and look at everything, you go in with an open mind.”

District Attorney Ismael Ozanne did not immediately respond to a request for comment.