On March 6, 2015, Tony Robinson Jr, 19 was shot and killed by a City of Madison police officer during a check welfare call gone very, very wrong. Responding MPD Officer Matt Kenny pursued Robinson, who was disoriented from a severe reaction to hallucinogenic mushrooms, into an upper flat at 1125 Williamson Street where Robinson had stayed with friends. According to Officer Kenny, Robinson hit him in the head, at which point Kenny shot Robinson in the head, torso and right arm at close range, fatally wounding him. The shooting sparked mass protests in Madison against police violence, and demanding Kenny’s termination and prosecution for using deadly force on an unarmed individual. Official review of the shooting is still ongoing as of April 2, 2015.
As part of the investigation, 1125 Williamson Street was turned into a crime scene for several weeks following the shooting, displacing two of Robinson’s friends. Rather understandably, they don’t want to live there anymore and were planning to move out.
They weren’t, however, expecting to receive this in the mail (click to expand):
From the Wisconsin State Journal:
Two teens who live at the Williamson Street home where Tony Robinson was fatally shot by a Madison police officer last month could face eviction as their landlord demands they pay the nearly $1,200 cost to clean the scene of the controversial shooting, according to a friend….
On Wednesday, Spaulding said, Anthony Limon opened a letter from Peterson dated March 24 saying Limon must pay for “bio-hazard cleanup” at the apartment, as well as rent that was due March 21.
A photo of the letter, provided by Spaulding, shows it is addressed to Anthony Limon and Tamara Herrera, Limon’s mother who is also listed on the lease. The letter says the brothers have until April 2 to pay the costs.
Peterson said Herrera and Anthony Limon, 19, violated the terms of their lease by allowing people who were not listed on that lease to stay at the apartment. Along with Javier Limon, 18, Spaulding has said Robinson occasionally stayed at the apartment as well.
Peterson said an attorney working with Anthony Limon told him the teens will move out of the apartment this month, avoiding a potential eviction. After they have left the home, Peterson said, he will continue to seek the money listed in the letter.
“It will be up to the court to determine whether or not that’s a valid claim,” Peterson said.
When reached yesterday by a local radio station, the Devil’s Advocate, Peterson had some additional words of wisdom regarding his right to his money:
The landlord at the 1125 Williamson Street-upper two flat, Peterson has issued a five day notice to pay rent or vacate premises-a precursor to eviction under WI law. When reached for comment by the Devil’s Advocates Mike Crute Wednesday evening, Peterson confirmed he was the property owner and manager and that he was responsible for issuance of the five-day notice. When questioned about the whether he felt the financial charges where justified, landlord Ray Peterson said the following:“Yes, I do think it ($1192.15 for bio-hazard clean-up) is an appropriate legal charge.”
Asked whether it was fair to criticize him for lack of compassion under the circumstances, landlord Peterson said,
“You may be right, maybe we shouldn’t comply with the legal aspects.” Peterson concluded “But I treat everyone the same, we don’t discriminate against anyone.”
Nice even-handed guy just doing his job, huh?It probably does not surprise you to learn that Mr. Peterson’s ideas on following the law are…inconsistent. He has a lengthy history of court judgments against him for illegal(constructive eviction by turning off heat) and meritless action against tenants (garbage countersuit when sued for withholding security deposit). Lest one think the term “slumlord” is overly hash here, apparently at least one Dane County Circuit Judge said the same thing in another judgment against Peterson (mentioned on p. 7-8 of yet another judgment for $22,000 in rental ordinance violations).
While it is a low bar, I think Mr. Peterson has comfortably surpassed himself here.
Mr. Spaulding has set up a GoFundMe to help in the legitimate transition expenses of Robinson’s friends.