East Towne Mall Arrest of Genele Laird

Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 4:01pm

Group of Madison Common Council Members Respond

After taking a day to process and wait for the Mayor to publicly respond, we feel the need to speak to the community regarding the arrest at East Towne on Tuesday, June 21, 2016.

First, like many others, we watched what the video captured many times and cannot see past what seems like excessive aggression.

Second, this event has regrettably further divided our community and highlighted our tendency to take either-or positions: either one person or the other must be wrong.  In fact, both can be true.  Genele Laird allegedly made some poor choices and she will likely face consequences.  The same can be said for the responding officers.  However, we cannot disregard the power imbalance between a young person and trained law enforcement officers.

Third, this event does not signify that the Madison Police Department trains officers to use that level of aggression. We support and acknowledge the good, upstanding work police officers do on a daily basis in our community. However, events like this do affirm and deepen an existing lack of trust between people of color and the police department. They affirm that the community has the right to know the training, policies, procedures and culture of our police department.

Finally, it affirms that a thorough, transparent, and comprehensive review of the Madison Police Department is warranted and should be welcomed. 

We stand committed in continuing our involvement in the development of trust and understanding among all members of our community and the Madison Police Department.
 
Ald. Matt Phair, District 20
Ald. Barbara Harrington-McKinney, District 1
Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2
Ald. Amanda Hall, District 3
Ald. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, District 5
Ald. Marsha Rummel, Council President Pro Tem, District 6
Ald. Zach Wood, District 8
Ald. Maurice Cheeks, District 10
Ald. Sara Eskrich, District 13
Ald. Denise DeMarb, District 16
Ald. Rebecca Kemble, District 18

Contacts