Chief Koval's Blog

Observations from Chief Koval - Records Release of Tony Robinson Jr., Armed Home Invasions and Badger Basketball

April 6, 2015 3:13 PM

Last Friday (4/3/15), MPD responded to a deluge of open records requests by placing them on our web site for public examination. Prior to release, we worked with the City Attorney's Office to ensure that every attempt was made to be in compliance with the law on open records and to foster transparency.  Given the intense public interest surrounding the death of Mr. Tony Robinson, the decision to post the sought-after materials online was deemed the most efficient means of meeting our obligations (which assumes that public policy favors the release of records as opposed to non-disclosure).

All of the released material was provided in response to third party requests for information and only after having first obtained approval from the City Attorney's Office.  None of the material(s) posted came about as a Department-led initiative to volunteer information or records that were not specifically enumerated in official requests.  Additionally, our Department contacted the Robinson's attorney to make them aware of the fact that release would be occurring.  Numerous community leaders were also notified in advance to explain what would be taking place.

The foregoing information is provided here now to emphasize that the only purpose of last week's release was to be answerable to open records requests.  There was and is no intent to create or influence those decisions which are the exclusive province of the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) report of findings to the Dane County District Attorney's Office.  Those materials that have been released were within the records domain of MPD, exclusively, and have not touched upon any of the independent records or findings that have been generated by DCI pursuant to their officer-involved shooting investigation.

While all of the various parameters used have already been discussed at length in an accompanying eleven-page document authored by Lt.  Anthony Bitterman and posted in conjunction with the releases that were made last week, I felt it best to summarize the process in this format in an attempt to negate or defuse any supposition that the release of these records was timed to cast aspersions on Tony Robinson or to influence the decision making process of the District Attorney's Office.  In fact, in all of the public appearances or media requests that have been fulfilled since March 6, I have never discussed any matters (personal or private) of Mr. Robinson except to thank the family, repeatedly, for their willingness to urge responsibility and restraint in the midst of their own personal loss and grief.

On another note, last Friday there was a rash of crimes committed on the west side of Madison between the hours of 5am-10am.  Victims ranged in age from early 20's-91.  MPD responded to a series of attempted and completed armed home invasions.  In the ultimate demonstration of community policing--where constituents partners with police to collaborate in the prevention and detection of crime---two subjects were ultimately arrested owing to alert citizens taking timely action and quick responding cops who were able to bring the men into custody without incident.  These arrests would not have been possible were it not for the work of our citizens who played an instrumental role.

Finally, we saw a tale of two State Streets last Saturday night during the aftermath of the UW's win over Kentucky.  Madison's State Street was celebratory and largely without incident; not so much in Lexington.  Here's hoping for similar results--both on and off the court!  As a former Bucky Badger, you know where my allegiances are in tonight's match-up!  On Wisconsin!

Posted by: Chief Koval

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