"We need change:" Hamilton family, Coalition for Justice march in solidarity with Robinson family

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The "Coalition for Justice" organized a rally in Milwaukee on Wednesday evening, May 13th. It was an opportunity for folks to stand in solidarity with the family of Tony Robinson and other supporters -- one day after the Dane County District Attorney announced no charges would be filed against the officer who shot and killed Robinson.

Tony Robinson

The Coalition for Justice has held several rallies and protests in response to the Dontre Hamilton shooting -- which took place at Red Arrow Park. Hamilton was fatally shot by former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney. After a lengthy investigation, the Milwaukee County District Attorney decided the shooting was justified. That was also the conclusion in the Robinson case.

About 60 people gathered in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee on Wednesday evening. They then marched through downtown Milwaukee to the Federal Courthouse before returning to Red Arrow Park.

Those who took part in the rally say this was about standing up against what they see as injustice.

Some of those who marched in Milwaukee Wednesday evening rallied in Madison earlier in the day.

Organizers in Milwaukee said this was an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the family of Tony Robinson and those who have been protesting his death in Madison.

"It's painful. It's heart-wrenching," Dontre Hamilton's mother Maria Hamilton said.

Maria Hamilton said her first thought when hearing the decision out of Madison was: "Oh my God, not again."

She says she is helping Tony Robinson's mother, Andrea Irwin through this trying time.

"I've been where she's at right now, and I can guide her through it," Maria Hamilton said.

Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny

19-year-old Tony Robinson was shot and killed by Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne declined to charge Kenny -- saying the shooting was justified.

Records show Robinson was high on psychedelic mushrooms, THC (marijuana) and xanax on March 6th. 911 callers reported he had attacked people in an around an apartment home on Williamson Street. When Kenny entered that apartment home, Kenny says Robinson attacked him as well -- punching him in the head with a closed fist.

Officer Kenny’s statement indicated he heard “yelling and screaming” coming from apartment #2, and items being thrown or breaking. He heard someone say “what are you going to do (expletive), and believed Robinson may have been upstairs assaulting someone. He radioed dispatch that he was entering the home, and as he went in, he drew his firearm. As he climbed the stairs, Kenny said he yelled “Madison police,” and heard someone say “well, the police are here.”

That’s when Kenny said Robinson turned the corner and struck Kenny with a closed fist on the left side of his head — knocking him back and into the wall on his right. Kenny’s report is consistent with damage to the drywall on the right side of the staircase near the eighth step. Kenny said Robinson continued to come toward him — swinging at him. Kenny was rocked back and was losing his balance on the stairs. He worried that he would be struck again and lose consciousness or hit his head falling backwards. He worried his firearm would be taken and used to shoot him and anyone else who may have been in the home. He said there were two streams of fire — one involving three shots, and the second involving two to three shots. He said he did not see anything in Robinson’s hands or in his waistband. Kenny then radioed “shots fired,” and requested an ambulance. He began rendering aid to Robinson before paramedics arrived and took over.

Photos released Tuesday show an indent where Kenny's body hit the drywall near the staircase. Those photos also show Kenny's injuries suffered that night -- a close-up of Kenny's face shows blood on his chin, and scrapes to his forehead, head and arm.

"That officer could've responded a lot differently.  He went to that house without backup. He placed himself in a position of harm," Dontre Hamilton's brother Nate Hamilton said.

So the Hamilton family and others marched through Milwaukee -- calling for a fix to a system they believe is broken.

"We need change. We need better transparency and we need prosecutors that will do their job. I don't see us stopping any time soon. We need to come out every time we see injustice and stand up against it," Nate Hamilton said.

Maria Hamilton says since she founded "Mothers for Justice United," she's been in contact with at least 250 mothers whose children have been killed under a variety of circumstances.

Maria Hamilton says changing the system begins with encouraging peace in the inner-city. She says she may begin outreach there in the near future.