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Passionate but peaceful protesters descended for a third day Sunday on the Madison, Wisconsin, street where an unarmed black teenager was killed by a police officer Friday night.
Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. was shot by veteran Madison police officer Matt Kenny after reports of the 19-year-old jumping in front of traffic and assaulting someone in a home. Police said Kenny forced his way inside of the home after hearing a disturbance and fired on Robinson when the teen attacked him.
Neighbor Marshal Erb said scene of the crime filled "almost immediately" with protesters, including Robinson's aunt and grandmother, who told the group gathered there that the recent high school graduate, was "a beautiful, beautiful soul."
Erb, who said he didn't know Robinson, said the area became a "hot spot" for protests. "It's definitely a lot of emotion," he said. Crowds carrying signs that read, "Black Lives Matter," continued to protest in Madison Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
“This has to stop, and we can stop it,” Craig Spaulding, a friend of the Robinson family, told NBC News outside the home where the teen was shot.
While the Madison police chief “has taken tremendous strides,” Spaulding said, there have been “mounting tensions” between the community and police for years.
Robinson’s death has “ripped this community apart,” Spaulding added.
A "kid-centered" gathering, organized by the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition was also planned for Sunday. On the coalition's Facebook page called, "Ferguson to Madison," the group said: "We need a way for our kids to talk about this horrifying tragedy and be part of the movement for Black Lives!" Children were encouraged to bring art supplies to create #Justice4Tony signs, and parents were asked to speak with their kids beforehand about ideas they had for reform in the community.
During a news conference Saturday, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said the case would be independently probed by the state Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation.
Koval said he understood the frustration in the community and that the shooting death of a young black man by a police officer would likely spark distrust. “When you have a person of color who is unarmed and that life is then taken, it’s only natural that questions and objections should arise,” Koval told NBC News Sunday. “I get that and I’m empathetic to that,” he said.
— Elisha Fieldstadt