MADISON, WISCONSIN – Genele Laird, 18, was arrested at East Towne Mall Tuesday after allegedly making threats and displaying a knife, police said. Videos of Laird’s arrest led to protests calling for her release.
The attorney for Genele Laird, whose forcible arrest at East Towne Mall on Tuesday was caught on a video that went viral, said she will not be charged with the four felonies originally sought by Madison police.
Laird, 18, was released from the Dane County Jail Thursday night, on orders from District Attorney Ismael Ozanne.
Laird’s attorney, Syovata Edari, told the State Journal she’s been in contact with Ozanne, and it’s her understanding she will not face charges.
“She could go through a restorative justice process,” Edari said. “We are trying to work together to de-escalate things.”
Ozanne and Madison Police Chief Mike Koval plan to hold a news conference at 2 p.m. Friday in the Dane County Courthouse to discuss the arrest and subsequent release of Laird from jail.
Laird’s arrest led to protests that started Tuesday night and continued into Thursday, when family and friends gathered for an initial court appearance that never happened.
Police were responding to allegations that Laird threatened an East Towne Mall employee with a knife. A video taken by a bystander showed two police officers struggling with Laird to put her hands behind her back. One of the officers knees her several times, causing the three to tumble to the pavement, where one of the officers continued to knee and hit her then stun her with a Taser before she’s taken into custody.
Charges initially sought by police included disorderly conduct while armed, resisting arrest, battery to a police officer and discharge of bodily fluids for allegedly spitting at one of the officers.