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Madison police shooting forces liberal city to look at race gap

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-03-12 14:55

Madison police shooting forces liberal city to look at race gap

Police block traffic along Washington Avenue outside the Wisconsin Department of Corrections as protests moved to the streets in Madison March 11, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

 Three days of peaceful protests in Madison, including a crowd of about 2,000 people, mostly high school students, who demonstrated in the Capitol rotunda on Monday, resulted in no arrests.

That stood in contrast to the rioting that erupted in Ferguson following Brown's death and a November grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who shot him. Protests spread across the United States last year after a New York grand jury cleared a police officer in the choking death of Eric Garner.


A scathing U.S. Justice Department report found widespread racial bias in Ferguson police and court practices that targeted fees and fines mainly at black residents of the town.

"The police reaction has been better than in Ferguson so it's not going to get out of control," said Darrian Henning, a 16-year-old African-American from Sun Prairie High School, the school Robinson graduated from in 2014.

Koval said comparisons to the Brown shooting were inevitable, but his force had a better relationship with its community than Ferguson police.

"Whether I like it or not I am inextricably tied to the Ferguson phenomenon," Koval told CNN on Tuesday, adding he would like to believe that Madison police will not be defined by the shooting.

Robinson's uncle, Turin Carter, warned against a simplistic explanation of his nephew's death based on race, but said Madison has work to do on racial issues.

"It's an air of liberalism that's pushed and perceived mostly because of UW as being progressive in its history," Carter told reporters on Monday. "But when you look at the capitol, things are a little different in terms of who's actually running the government."

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