UPDATE: The man who shot the video of the arrest of Genele Laird has been identified as 19-year-old Daniel Patrykus of Fond du Lac. His Facebook profile is once again active, and his original video available, after having been unavailable for about 12 hours. He says he has “no idea” why his Facebook profile was disabled.
A video showing two Madison police officers using a taser, fists and knees to subdue an 18-year-old disorderly conduct suspect went viral Tuesday and then disappeared from Facebook just after midnight Wednesday.
The video depicts two Madison Police officers using a taser, at least one punch to the abdomen and several blows with their knees to subdue 18-year-old Geneve Laird outside of East Towne Mall Tuesday afternoon, prompting a protest Tuesday night outside the Public Safety Building downtown and a meeting between community leaders and Madison Police Chief Mike Koval.

Here is the most violent portion of the video:

The 90-second video was originally posted by someone using the name RichBoy Robinson on Facebook, who posted a longer, seven-minute version later. Madison365 and tens of thousands of others shared the video. Shortly after midnight Wednesday, however, it appears that Robinson’s Facebook page had been deleted, and the video and all its shares were deleted with it.

Here is the full seven-minute video:

According to a Madison Police incident report, Laird, who works at Lidz in East Towne Mall, confronted a Taco Bell employee whom she accused of stealing her phone. Police say mall security told them that she brandished a knife and threatened mall security officers. Police say that Laird was uncooperative and resisted their attempts to arrest her, and that she spit in the face of one of the officers. She is being held on charges of disorderly conduct while armed, resisting police (causing injury), battery to police officer, and discharge of bodily fluids.


A bystander captured the arrest on cell phone video and posted it to Facebook under the name RichBoy Robinson, where it was shared several thousand times and viewed hundreds of thousands of times. RichBoy Robinson’s Facebook page appeared to be deleted between midnight and 1 am Wednesday for reasons that remain unclear.

Before being deleted, the video prompted a meeting between Madison Police Chief Mike Koval and Laird’s family, several Madison Alders, State Rep. Chris Taylor, a representative from the office of County Executive Joe Parisi and Boys and Girls Club of Dane County CEO Michael Johnson. A few dozen others gathered outside the Public Safety Building to protest the police’s actions.

At an impromptu press conference after the meeting, Johnson called for restorative justice rather than felony charges for Laird, especially since Laird’s family says she has never been in trouble before. Court records indicate she has not had any run-ins with the law as an adult.

“We all saw that video and it’s brutal,” said Johnson, calling on District Attorney Ishmael Ozanne to have “empathy.”

“We want to make sure there’s due process, but let’s do it in a way where we meet with the family, meet with community leaders and figure out we address this issue,” Johnson said. “When you continue to see videos like this, it creates a mistrust in the community.”

Alix Shabazz of Freedom, Inc, also at the protest Tuesday night, called for Laird’s immediate release and for charges to be brought against the arresting officers.

She was calling for help,” Shabazz said. “Just like Tony Robinson. His friends called the police for help and the police killed him. Thank God she is not dead.”

Madison Alder Shiva Bidar, who attended the meeting with Koval and Laird’s family, said in an interview afterward that the meeting was “important.”

“It was important to have the meeting. It was important for the family to meet (Koval) face to face,” she said. “The chief shared that there were a lot of unanswered questions and he was not able to speak in much more detail because he had not had a chance to read the report, talk to the officers, et cetera. What i feel very sad about is the fact that we have no real answers, there’s this 18 year old with no prior criminal history in jail.”

Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain declined to make any additional comment beyond the incident report.

The latest incident comes just weeks after Koval and Common Council alders sparred over the Common Council’s vote to spend $400,000 on an independent review of the Madison Police Department.

Also on Tuesday, just hours after the arrest, Madison Police showed off their new military-style Armored Rescue Vehicle at a Madison Mallards game at Warner Park.