May 11, 2015 by Amelia Royko Maurer
On Sunday, May 10, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne gave notice that he will be reporting his decision on the officer-involved killing of Tony “Terrell” Robinson Jr. on Tuesday, May 12. While he was reviewing the evidence, he had promised to give the family and the public 48 hours notice.
For the past three weeks, residents of this community have fretted over the likelihood that Ozanne would continue Dane County’s unbroken 129-year record of ruling officer-involved killings justified and not indict police officer Matt Kenny, who shot and killed the unarmed 19-year-old Tony “Terrell” Robinson Jr. on March 6. Residents had been especially concerned that the D.A. would announce his determination on the Friday before Mother’s Day, thus taking no consideration over how that might affect Tony’s grieving mother. I, who have suffered my share of thoughtlessly timed announcements from both county and city law enforcement, assured people that no one who is truthfully calling for peaceful protest and honestly claiming to care about Tony’s family’s loss would be so incredibly daft as to push those who are hurting in to deeper desperation. To do so would sure seem like a move intended to incite rage, and nothing could be more cruel, not to mention harmful, to the safety of the affected community. ‘It won’t happen,’ I thought.
Perhaps I’m Dane County’s #1 most naive person, but know that there are worse contests to win. For example. D.A. Ismael Ozanne did not make his announcement before Mother’s Day but on Mother’s Day. That’s right. Ozanne, an elected official, decided that no day would be better to interrupt a grieving mother than Mother’s Day; a mother who was presumably doing all she could to deliver a smile to her living children on a day that likely reminds her of what is essentially every parent’s greatest nightmare, the loss of her child and in the worst way possible.
There are many reasons why dying at the hands of a police officer is, by far, the worst. Had Tony lost his life to cancer, no doctor would have confused his vulnerable family and friends with lies as means to earn their trust. Had Tony died in a car accident, the insurance company wouldn’t have re-victimized his mother by releasing her address and telephone number to the general public. Had he succumbed from a plane crash, the airline wouldn’t have released records from times he was an innocent and juvenile bystander wherein he could easily be confused with and portrayed as a criminal. And had he died at the hands of a civilian, that civilian wouldn’t have been allowed to intentionally or unintentionally torment his mother on her first Mother’s Day without him.
But when you die at the hands of a police officer, all of law enforcement is free, under the guise of ‘just following procedure,’ to join in and make the nightmare inconceivably worse for those you leave behind, for as long as possible. It doesn’t matter if this is the result of intentional harm or oversight. It’s on repeat play and the impact is harm.
Some will refuse to acknowledge the significance of Ozanne giving notice on Mother’s Day, or they will act as if Tony’s mother deserved it since she requested advance notice. If this had been done to the children, wife or mother of a cop, those same nitwits would take note. But this wouldn’t be done to the family member of a cop for the same reason no officer is nominating their colleagues for medals of valor for apprehending former Dane County Deputy Andrew Steele and his 9 mm after he had just murdered two sisters, one of them the mother of his children. And it wouldn’t happen for the same reason the Wisconsin Professional Police Association broke trend and didn’t post the news of Steele’s apprehension on their Facebook page, high-fiving the Wisconsin officers for nabbing a highly trained marksman and murderer.
Some suffering families and communities are treated with humane consideration, and some are quietly tortured and told not to resist.
No leader capable of rational thought could put their boot to the back of a suffering individual or community and not expect rage in response so this begs the questions: Why are some of our most powerful elected and appointed officials asking for peaceful protest while simultaneously choosing actions that cause harm and have the great potential to incite rage? Are they trying to start a riot? If they are, what will they try next, after nobody takes the bait?