Why Wisconsin protesters want UN to investigate police shooting

Tony Robinson's family has asked that the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate Robinson's shooting by Wisconsin police last month

Michael P. King/Wisconsin State Journal/AP
Christen Justice, left, and other protesters march west on Commercial Avenue during a protest against the police killing of Tony Robinson in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Hundreds of people protesting the shooting of an unarmed biracial man by a white police officer linked arms and blocked traffic for nearly an hour Wednesday, but otherwise maintained the peaceful demonstrations called for by the man's family.

A group of protesters called Monday for the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation of a white Wisconsin police officer who killed an unarmed biracial man because they feel the US government can't be trusted.

Members of Young, Gifted and Black along with 19-year-old Tony Robinson's family held a news conference in front of the Dane County courthouse to call on the U.N.'s Human Rights Council to investigate Robinson's death last month.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice wrapped up its investigation of the incident a little more than a week ago. The findings haven't been made public but the protesters insisted there's no way the probe could have been fair. They said the state agents who led it used to be police officers and police protect each other.

They added they don't have faith that any U.S. government agency could conduct an objective probe because it's all one prejudiced system.

U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Neither did media officials with the Geneva, Switzerland-based Human Rights Council.

According to the council's website, the council accepts individual complaints about human rights abuses only if they're not politically motivated, it's submitted by a person or group alleging they were victims of human rights violations, the complaint isn't based on media reports and all domestic remedies have been exhausted.

Young Gifted and Black has been calling for the Dane County Sheriff's Department to release 350 black jail inmates and for police to completely withdraw from Madison's black neighborhoods. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval responded in January with a blog post calling the group's demands unrealistic. Now the group has made Robinson's death its latest cause.

Madison Officer Matt Kenny shot Robinson in an apartment house near the state Capitol building on March 6 after responding to calls that Robinson had attacked two people, acting erratically and was running in traffic. Police said Robinson assaulted Kenny in the apartment but have released no other details. Protesters took to the streets daily during the week immediately following the shooting, likening the incident to police killing black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City over the last year.

According to a state law that requires outside agencies to investigate officer-involved deaths, the Wisconsin justice department led the probe of the incident. The agency turned over its findings to District Attorney Ismael Ozanne in late March. He has yet to decide whether to file criminal charges against Kenny.

Also on Monday, Madison Police released squad car video of another fatal shooting involving Kenney in response to a request from The Associated Press. Kenny fatally shot Ronald Brandon, who was white, in 2007 after Kenny pointed a pellet gun at officers. Kenny was cleared of any wrongdoing.

The video was redacted so it doesn't show the actual shooting, but does appear to show Brandon pointing a gun at officers before he was shot.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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