Statements on the Arrest of
NAACP DANE COUNTY STATEMENT
Within 48 hours of her arrest and the post to Facebook, Genele Laird was released from the Dane County Jail and will be
referred to an alternative restorative justice program. She will not face criminal charges if she completes the program. The
District Attorney stated “Her victims each made the decision that restorative justice makes sense in this case.” The NAACP
stands in support of alternatives to incarceration, this is a reasonable response in the interest of justice. Does it end here?
It is inhumane to repeatedly punch, knee and continuously taser anyone who is not a threat. The unwarranted conduct
demonstrated by officers of the Madison Police Department was beyond excessive. This brutal conduct remains front and
center in the discourse surrounding disparate treatment applied to members of communities of color. I saw nothing in the
video that suggest the officers had any training nor attempted to apply de-escalation methods and tactics. I heard nothing in the
press conference that suggested a proactive change toward building effective working relationships and trust between police
and communities of color.
The absence of squad car/dash board cams, body worn cameras and audio recording devices further places the Madison
Police Department in question. If not for the bystander’s video, this would be another example of police conduct unseen by the
The NAACP Dane County will continue its role with the Black Leadership Council as it addresses the systemic and structural
problems in the Madison Police Department, which plague communities of color.
The NAACP Dane County Political Action and Criminal Justice Committees will continue engagement in the discriminatory
impact of policies, procedures and the conduct of public servants at the local level.
The NAACP Dane County will coordinate with the NAACP Wisconsin Conference, NAACP Region III and NAACP National to
ensure that the civil rights of all citizens are upheld.
YWCA Madison joins the community in expressing shock and grief over the events involving Madison police officers and Genele
Laird, an 18-year-old young woman at East Towne Mall on Tuesday. While we acknowledge that a full account of what
transpired is still forthcoming, we have seen the recording of two white police officers aggressively arresting a young Black
woman who was not holding a weapon at the time of the arrest. It is clear to us, regardless of any perceived provocation, that
actions exhibited by police officers leading up to and during the arrest were excessive and unjust.
If, upon further investigation, it is determined that the officers acted within police policy we strongly advocate for review of
policies that would support such hostility. If the officers did not act in accordance with policy, we expect that the department will
hold those officers accountable and make appropriate amends.
We acknowledge the reality that people of color throughout our nation live under threat of injury or worse if their behavior is
perceived by police as non-compliant. We also note that girls of color are often overlooked when policymakers address issues
of gender and racial inequality. Black girls face disproportionate challenges in schools and in the justice system, even though
so much of the conversation about criminalization and the school-to-prison pipeline centers on boys of color. YWCA Madison is
committed to empowering girls and women of color, and condemns any injustice that would threaten their ability to thrive.
We encourage community members to learn about your rights when it comes to interacting with law enforcement. Take time to
learn more by visiting https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights.