Statement of Mayor Paul Soglin on East Towne Incident

Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 4:16pm

The events of last Tuesday night will be the subject of discussion and review for some time.  As the mayor of Madison, I am constrained from discussing some of the specific details but that does not prevent me from making observations about some of the underlying issues.
First, there is the general matter of resisting arrest. We must have a better understanding of what kind of force can and will be used when an individual either resists arrest or interferes with an arrest, particularly where it is reported that a deadly weapon is involved.
As we discuss police policies and practices, that review must be broadened to include something distasteful and abhorrent to all of us, and that is the use of force. When the city goes to bid on the pending RFP on the subject, I can assure you that its scope will include an examination of the rules for officers and the public when officers give a command.
The most important issue to the parties in this instance, the young woman Genele Laird and the officers involved, will be the public review of their respective behaviors. Let the rest of us realize that they are important people and there are serious implications for their futures. As a community that cares, I hope, regardless of the findings, that we respect their humanity and dignity and wish them the best.
Lastly, there is what I perceive as the most important issue for Madison, the matter of race. I find our community divided. I can guarantee that my administration will continue to move forward with an open and candid discussion of the underlying issues which range from deep-seated institutional racism in this country, to the behaviors of each of us as individuals. I say this without directing criticism at the Madison Police officers or any of the witnesses.


  • Gloria Reyes608-266-4611
Mayor's Office