Madison Officer Matthew Kenny's family breaks silence
On Thursday, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association released a statement on behalf of the family of Madison Police Officer Matthew Kenny.
Officer Kenny is under investigation for the fatal shooting of 19 year old Tony Robinson, an unarmed bi-racial man who was being investigated for two assaults in his neighborhood.
The officer said he got into a struggle with Robinson and now the Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating.
There have been several protests, some very large, to call attention to policing policies and issues of race and community relations.
Here is the full statement as released to CBS 58 News:\"Up to this point, we have preferred to remain silent, out of respect for the profound grief we know that Tony Robinson's family and friends feel. We are deeply saddened by his loss. We know he mattered, and we wish that this tragedy could have been avoided. We also understand and support the impulse to protest, and we want to thank Tony Robinson's family and other community leaders for their consistent calls for peaceful demonstrations.
Madison as a community, can do better for all its citizens. We must discuss, perhaps with more urgency, how our community handles racial inequality and then do something about it. And while we acknowledge that Madison has problems, we also feel that my brother is not one of them. Matthew is an exemplary officer who operates with the highest level of integrity, judgment, and restraint. Further, his life has taken him across the country and around the world and into contact with people of all cultures and backgrounds. Growing up, Matthew lived in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Houston, Texas, and outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During his service in the Coast Guard, Matthew moved from Alaska to Puerto Rico to Virginia; while serving on the ice breaker the Polar Sea he sailed from the North Pole to Antarctica. It would not be difficult to find a wide array of people who can testify to his kindness, work ethic, and sense of fairness. We know that his colleagues and friends both on the MD and in the Coast Guard have all valued his thoughtfulness, even when they also made fun of his lifelong habit of voracious reading.
As for his family, we can attest to Matthew's caring, considerate nature, and his conscientiousness. His commitment to serving his community has led him to undertake numerous tasks that others would prefer to avoid. Matthew has pulled bodies from the sea after a plane crash in the Caribbean, sailed into rough waters to rescue boaters and fishermen in distress, and, while working for the MD, intervened in countless domestic disputes, and deftly handled innumerable intoxicated, out-of-control people. He sees people at their worst, but he has maintained his dedication to the safety of our city.
As we have this important discussion about race, inequality, and best practices for community policing, we hope we can all continue to consider the complexity of these issues, the challenges we ask our police to address daily, and the humanity of all involved.
My parents and I don't wish to speak directly to the media, but we did want to take this opportunity to issue this statement on behalf of our family as the public discussion of this tragic event continues.