Slain Teen Tony Robinson's Uncle Says Family Trusts Investigators

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The uncle of a Wisconsin teenager who was fatally shot by a police officer in Madison Friday night said Monday that the family trusts investigators to handle the probe into his nephew's death "with integrity."

The investigation into the shooting death of unarmed 19-year-old Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. by Madison Police Department officer Matt Kenny was handed over immediately, as Wisconsin law mandates, to the state Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation.

"We trust them to handle this with integrity," Robinson's uncle, Turin Carter, told a group of reporters standing outside the home where Robinson was killed, with relatives, including the teen's mother, Andrea Irwin, and father Tony Robinson Sr., standing behind him.

"We want to know the facts of the matter and nothing else," Carter said. "We don't want our biases involved."

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement Monday that the state Department of Justice was working "expeditiously" on the investigation and keeping the family abreast of "as much information as possible without jeopardizing the quality and integrity of the investigation."

The statement said that the Dane County District Attorney would review the findings of the investigation once it was complete and "issue a public statement concerning his conclusions" in the case.

The shooting sparked daily protests in Madison, including one on Monday when students left classes at Madison's East High School and marched toward the capitol holding signs that read: "Black Lives Matter." Carter asked protesters to remain peaceful, and said he hopes the demonstrators "engulf" the message that "all lives matter."

Carter also urged that residents avoid an "anti-police" message. "In terms of not trusting police, we don’t condone that," he said.

"We need to change our mindset about the police ... just because people trip doesn’t mean they’re lost," Carter said, asking that Robinson be allowed the same grace.

Carter said his nephew "felt like a misfit most of his life" because of his "racial ambiguity" and for that reason, sometimes associated with "people making bad decisions." Robinson pleaded guilty to an armed robbery in 2014, according to Dane County Court documents. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval had declined to comment on Robinson's criminal history at a Saturday press conference.

"We don't think Tony's a saint," Carter said. But Robinson was "a good, kind-hearted kid, who was happy," he said, adding, "he just wanted to be loved."

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— Elisha Fieldstadt

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