Madison, WI — A video of a gruesome assault by police on a teen girl was uploaded to Facebook Tuesday and quickly went viral — sparking a protest outside the Public Safety Building that night.
According to police, they were responding to calls that 18-year-old Genele H. Laird was threatening mall employees after alleging that her phone had been stolen. When officers with the Madison police department showed up, they claim Laird was agitated and “actively resisted all of their attempts, fought with officers, spit in one of the officer’s face, and tried to kick and scratch both officers.”
However, the video shows officers as the aggressors and a horrifying example of police brutality.
Family and friends of Laird and state and city officials spoke with MPD Chief Mike Koval Tuesday night, who said they would get to the bottom of the situation, according to WISC.
“The chief will investigate internally and the DA will be investigating and so it will take a few days for all the evidence to be gathered and witnesses to be interviewed,” said alder Marsha Rummel.
“You have four alders here – a state rep – so from a medical perspective we want to understand what happened, what happened to police officers what happened to this young lady what the process is going to be,” Boys and Girls CEO Michael Johnson said. “I think it was important tonight to let the family know there was due process.”
As the video begins, an officer is seen attempting to throw the seemingly non-violent Laird to the ground. After another officer showed up, all hell broke loose.
The two police officers appear to have a hard time placing handcuffs on Laird, so she is thrown to the ground as officers deliver blows. As Laird flails around in agony, this set the officers off even more and they began to dole out knee strikes and punches.
As the cops beat Laird into submission, one of them begins tasering her torso and leg repeatedly. All the while Laird is screaming in agony and pleads with the cops to get off of her, saying, “I can’t breathe.”
At the end of the video, after she’s been savagely beaten, cops then put a bag over her head while she lies face down on the concrete.
According to WISC, Laird was arrested on tentative charges of disorderly conduct while armed with a knife, resisting police causing injury, battery to a police officer and discharge of bodily fluid.