AKAs Make Official Statement on Genele Laird Arrest

    Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Kappa Psi Omega Chapter has made the following statement concerning the Madison Police Department’s use of force against Genele Laird at East Towne Mall on Tuesday night:

    “On Tuesday evening, June 21, we sat in horror as we witnessed the video that went viral of the Madison Police Department’s apprehension of Genele Laird, an 18-year-old young woman who allegedly caused a disturbance inside the food court of the East Towne Mall.

    The portion of the video we witnessed showed a male police officer rush Ms. Laird and viciously subdue her with what can only be described as excessive force, or more pointedly, police brutality. In the aftermath, we have heard media and police officials suggest “we don’t know the whole story.” However, regardless of what we did not see what we DID see represents what we deem an abuse of power and contrary to what we as a community consider quality policing.

    After being kicked, punched, tased, and slammed to the ground, Ms. Laird was taken to jail while the officers sought medical assistance. We are deeply concerned about Ms. Laird’s mental and physical state as well as the repercussions of her having felony convictions on a previously unblemished record. We want to see the police officers disciplined and appropriate police tactics practiced in our community. Given the extant tensions between the Black community and the police department and the hard work of various leaders to agree upon appropriate policing, we are mortified at what has transpired. We stand in solidarity with African American and other community civic and service group to say this must stop!

    We will be vigilant throughout this process and intend to monitor all aspects of it — Genele’s adjudication, the discipline of the police officers, and the remediation of the police procedures so this will NEVER happen again!

    As citizens and taxpayers we expect to receive respect, due process, and fair treatment – indeed we demand it!”