Robinson family attorneys: Don't be fooled by the City's "spin"

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)—Attorneys representing the family of a man killed by a Madison police officer say the city’s mayor should not lie about how a federal lawsuit was settled.

The family of Tony Robinson Junior was awarded a $3.35 million settlement after filing a lawsuit against the City of Madison in August.

Robinson was shot and killed by Officer Matt Kenny in March 2015. Witnesses said Robinson, who was high on mushrooms, had assaulted two people moments before the encounter.

Kenny was later cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. An internal investigation by the Madison Police Department found he did not violate any police policies.

At a press conference on Thursday, Robinson’s family was joined by their attorneys. They claim the city would never have settled if they did not believe they were wrong. They also claim the city would have lost if the lawsuit went to trial.

However, city leaders say the settlement was a business decision made by the city's insurance company, Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance Company, which will pay the claim.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin released a statement saying in part:
“The City’s insurance carrier, WMMIC, Officer Kenny and the plaintiff settled the case and neither our office nor the City Attorney were involved in the settlement. Let me be clear in asserting that the City of Madison, who was not a party to the case, had no standing and no ability to influence the court or the parties in approving a settlement. Any statement to the contrary is false.”

On Thursday night, the attorneys for the Robinson family responded saying in part: “The citizens of Madison should not be fooled by the City’s ‘spin.’ The City was fully involved in the decision to settle this case. Under state law, the City is responsible for paying any verdict or judgment against Officer Kenny; the City had to approve the settlement; and the City had to contribute financially to the settlement. Any claim to the contrary is false.”

Robinson’s mother, Andrea Irwin, spoke to NBC15 saying no amount of money can make things right, but the family hopes not having to relive Robinson’s last moments at trail can give them some peace.

“Hopefully there will be some change because god forbid anybody else has to go through this,” said Irwin. “Believe me, money just makes us feel even worse. I want my son. I couldn't care about a dollar. I want my baby back."

Jim Palmer, Kenny’s attorney, says he wishes the lawsuit would have gone to trial so he would have the opportunity to defend himself before a jury of his peers.

The US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Wisconsin told NBC15 Thursday afternoon the Robinson shooting is under review by their office, and by the US Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C.

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