Police in Madison, Wisconsin, were filmed punching, kneeing and tasing a black girl outside the East Towne Mall on June 21 (video below).
Facebook user RichBoy Robinson posted the video on his page with the caption: “I real life just watched the cops beat the s— out of this 18yr old girl for no reason. But I got the whole thing on video! OFN! Someone bout to loose their job frfr. Listen closely how he called her a b—- while literally Punching and Kneeing the girl while on the ground already.”
The video begins with an officer holding the arms of the young black woman, identified by police as Genele H. Laird, notes WISC.
Laird does not appear to be acting violently in the beginning of the video. Two police cars pull up, one officer gets out, begins shouting at Laird and trips her down on the concrete.
The same officer is seen kneeing, punching and tasing Laird.
While the officers are on top of Laird, she is heard saying that she can’t breathe. Laird appears to say that she is going to spit on them, and the cops place a hood over her head.
In response to the incident, demonstrators protested outside the Dane County Public Safety Building that night with a sign that said: “Hands Off Black Women.”
According to police, the officers were called by mall security about a woman who was “out of control and making threats.”
Laird allegedly confronted a Taco Bell employee over a stolen phone, and threatened the employee with a knife.
Mall security said they responded to the incident, but Laird refused to leave without her phone and allegedly threatened to kill the security guards, who called the police.
The Madison Police Department said that officers tried to arrest Laird who resisted, fought and spat on one cop.
Laird was tentatively charged with disorderly conduct while armed with a knife, resisting police causing injury, battery to a police officer and discharge of bodily fluid.
However, there is no mention in the charges about threatening to kill people (why the police responded), which is normally a “terroristic threats” charge.
Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said during a press conference on June 22 that the video doesn’t capture the entire 15-minute narrative of the entire incident, reports the Wisconsin State Journal.
As a matter of record, people have been convicted and sent to jail on less video evidence than what was filmed in this incident.
Koval defended the officers’ actions, but refused to identify the officers because of alleged threats made against them by the public.
Koval added that his officers’ job is to restore order, but the video clearly shows the situation violently escalating when the second officer arrives.
After defending his officers, Koval promised to view the video with a critical eye to make sure Laird’s rights were not violated.
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney is going to oversee the police department’s internal investigation.
“I am outraged to my core,” Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison, said in a statement.
“The abuse this young woman faced at the hands of these police was savage and excessive,” Anthony added. “As a community, we must make it clear that we will not tolerate this type of barbarism.”
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