VIDEO: Madison Mall Arrest Stirs Protests

June 23, 2016

The family of an 18-year-old woman arrested Tuesday after an incident at East Towne Mall is saying her treatment by Madison police was “unfair” and undeserved.

Police said Genele Laird displayed a knife, threatened to kill security staff, and resisted officers trying to detain her.

A video of Laird’s arrest had hundreds of thousands of views hours after it was posted on Facebook. That video could no longer be accessed early Wednesday, but a longer video was posted on YouTube.

About 30 demonstrators protested Laird’s arrest Tuesday night at the Public Safety Building, displaying a sign that said: “Hands off black women.”

Police Chief Mike Koval met with members of Laird’s family, several City Council members, state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and Michael Johnson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, who called the video “brutal.”

The video shows an officer striking Laird with his knee several times to take her to the ground and while she was on the ground kicking and struggling with officers trying to handcuff her.

Laird can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” several times as she struggled with police before the hood was placed over her head.

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