A Wisconsin state representative observed incidents that led up to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Madison, where protesters later gathered at the site of the killing, the lawmaker said on her Facebook page.
The shooting on Friday evening marked the latest in a string of incidents that have placed U.S. law enforcement agencies under scrutiny over the use of lethal force, especially against minorities, the poor and the mentally ill.
An officer responded to a disturbance on Friday evening and later forced his way into an apartment that a 19-year-old suspect in a recent battery had entered, the city’s Police Chief Mike Koval has told reporters.
A struggle between the suspect and the officer ensued and the teen was fatally shot, Koval said.
State Representative Chris Taylor, who said on Facebook she observed what led up to the shooting, is the co-author of a bill signed into law last year that requires outside investigators under the direction of the Wisconsin Department of Justice to probe officer involved shootings. Her office has said it was the first law of its kind passed in the country.
“Earlier this evening I pulled into the gas station on Williamson Street, simultaneously there were some incidents across the street that resulted in an officer-involved shooting,” Taylor wrote.
“It was an unspeakable tragedy,” she added. “I’m heartbroken for everyone involved and for my community. I’ve been informed that the Department of Justice’s division of criminal investigation is on its way to the scene.”
Taylor’s post on Facebook gave no further details on the shooting and she did not return an email seeking comment.
Videos published on social media showed around 100 protesters at the site of the shooting chanting slogans like, “Who can you trust? Not the police,” in front of a row of officers.
Protests also have been held in Los Angeles and Washington state in recent days over police killings of unarmed men from minority groups.
Last autumn, the deaths of two unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City triggered a nationwide wave of demonstrations against the use of excessive force by law enforcement.
The Wisconsin State Journal newspaper reported that friends of the teenager identified him as Anthony “Tony” Robinson.
A spokesman for Madison police did not return calls or emails on Saturday morning and a member of the 19-year-old’s family could not be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; editing by Andrew Roche)