Centro Hispano Makes Official Statement on Genele Laird Arrest


    Centro Hispano of Dane County has just released the following statement concerning the Madison Police Department’s use of force against Genele Laird at East Towne Mall on Tuesday night:

    Dear community,
    It was inappropriate.

    The video of two MPD officers accosting a young teen girl on the east side is inappropriate, disappointing, and as a Latina mother of two daughters, I can say – deeply, deeply disturbing.

    We may choose to argue the circumstances underlying this situation. What led up to this? Who did what? What was missing from the video, etc. However, I choose to focus on the actions in the video. When two grown men display overwhelming force as they arrest a young teenage girl after she has already been restrained – this is wrong regardless of the circumstances. This should never be an option in Madison, Dane County, or this country. And if is – this needs to be fixed.

    What is seen in that video are two trained professionals who are unable to handle a situation and reacting with overwhelming force. Two adults being violent with a young person who has already been restrained. Let’s be frank and acknowledge there is a problem here. We must critically review our systems that have allowed this incident to happen. This should be welcomed and asked for, not only by our City residents, but also by our City officials.

    Centro will follow the lead of our partners – community organizations, activists, & church clergy in the Black community, whom I deeply respect, as they come together to face the reality of all this. We need to ensure these actions do not happen again.

    Our youth and their future are much too important.

    Karen Menendez Coller,
    Executive Director
    Centro Hispano of Dane County