Well this is perfect. Get elected and avoid making tough decisions.
The family of Tony Terrell Robinson is awarded $3.35 million AND gets to trash Officer Matt Kenny and the Madison Police Department to their heart’s content. They can do so without taking an oath to tell the truth, without following the rules of evidence, or be cross examined.
The Mayor and the Common Council and the City Attorney can point their fingers at the man behind the tree. Because the buck does not stop at city government, any more. No, the final, incontrovertible decision goes to an obscure insurance company. Actuaries and bean counters. Don’t blame us.
Michael May, the city attorney:
The City of Madison is no longer a party to this lawsuit. The City was dismissed in a ruling by the Court on February 13. Thus, our office was not involved in the negotiation of the settlement.
Ald. Maurice Cheeks to a constituent:
If you have questions of a legal nature, you may direct them to Michael May by email. If they concern the details of the settlement, you should direct them to Attorney Hall. Cheers.”
The City’s insurance carrier, WMMIC, and the plaintiff settled the case and neither our office nor the City Attorney were involved in the settlement. Let me be clear in asserting that the City of Madison, who was not a party to the case, had no standing and no ability to influence the court or the parties in approving a settlement.
Meanwhile, Matt Kenny — a City of Madison employee — is allowed to twist in the wind.
Screwed, blued and tattooed
“This is an officer that has had his career marooned and placed on a desert island for the last two years subject to the court of public opinion,” Police Chief Mike Koval said. “So to that extent does this have a chilling effect on policing? Yes. From a recruiting standpoint, of course it does.”
“Here we have an officer who has been exhaustively independently and transparently investigated by multiple agencies, and cleared of any wrongdoing, by all accounts has done his job and frankly he’s being held out to dry because of a business decision by an insurance company,” — Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.
This non-decision, this evasion of responsibility is reverberating throughout the city. People are angry.
Someone in city government at some point washed his hands, like Pontius Pilate, of the decision. Someone demanded that the cup be passed. Who, when, and through what instrument? What alderman will take this up? What newspaper editorial, Scott Milfred, will thunder its outrage! What good gummint group will be suit?
Surely, Madison’s insurance premiums will sky rocket. The Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance Company is not exactly a Fortune 500. It is a mutual of only 15 counties and three cities (Madison, Eau Claire, and La Crosse) and two sports districts (Packers and Brewers).
“Unfortunately, the way the case was concluded leaves the public and all local governments still struggling to understand how police officers are to proceed in dangerous situations when confronted by individuals who are impaired by substance abuse or mental health issues,” Soglin’s statement said.
The citizens must demand that multi-million dollar decisions like this, with vast policy implications, be returned to their elected reps. Tell the alders you demand accountability!
Ald. Paul Skidmore responds properly to a disgruntled constituent
Thank you for expressing your opinion on the Robinson settlement. I must say that it came as a total surprise and disappointment. I agree with your sentiment and I am angry. In addition to the ridiculous settlement, it does not give officer Kenny the opportunity to have his day in court. He has been cleared in every investigation, and by every agency at all levels of government. Yet, he is subjected to continual harassment from individuals and groups, and sadly, many of my colleagues on the Council.
I do not intend to accept this settlement without a fight. I have talked to Chief Koval, who is outraged, and I will be talking to police union officials and others to see what we can do. It is my understanding from the City Attorney that this decision was made solely by the insurance company, who wanted to limit their liability.
As your alder I hope you would reconsider your decision to leave Madison. I love this City, and I am honored to serve the 9th district. I hope that you will decide to stay. I can safely say that you share the opinion of the vast majority of other 9th district residents. I have not heard from a single person who supports this settlement, or who condones the continual harassment of our public servants.
Thanks again for contacting me. You have not heard the end of this story. — Ald. Paul Skidmore