The Madison, Wisconsin police department is under fire after a video showing two of its officers beating a teen girl outside of a shopping center went viral. Genele Laird, 18, was taken into custody for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The incident occurred at the East Towne Mall on June 21.
The event started when police were called to the mall after receiving a report of a woman with a knife. When officers arrived, they found Laird outside and began questioning her. A few minutes later, one officer attempted to pull Laird’s hands behind her back for cuffing, and she resisted, leading to a scuffle. Another officer arrived to assist, and Laird was subdued to the ground. She continued to scream, and was repeatedly punched, kicked and tased. After she began spitting, the officers placed a bag over her head.
The incident was captured on video by a friend of Laird, who kept recording despite warnings from the officers. He edited the clip and uploaded it to Facebook, where it was viewed over 300,000 times.
A statement released by the Madison Police Department explained the incident as an arrest made after Laird allegedly threatened workers with a knife at a Taco Bell restaurant in the mall. The department had no comment about Laird appearing unarmed in the video.
Laird’s friend and the police department both declined to be interviewed.