The two Madison Police officers, whose struggle with a suspect outside of a mall was caught in a viral video, have been cleared of any wrongdoing in how they handled the arrest.
The officers faced accusations that they used excessive force while trying to arrest 18-year-old Genele Laird in June, after a video posted online showed the black woman being kicked, punched and tased. Police have said those tactics were warranted because Laird was resisting arrest and struggling with officers, who were investigating reports she had threatened a mall employee with a knife.
Laird’s arrest sparked protests across Madison, which has seen its police department come under fire in the past for how officers have handled confrontations with minority suspects. While she faced felony charges, prosecutors decided not to file any after Laird agreed to take part in a restorative justice program earlier this summer.
The case was subject to an independent review by the Dane County Sheriff’s office, which Madison Police Chief Mike Koval says found the officers’ actions were justified. “Their findings have determined that the officers involved in this incident were in fact acting lawfully, within the scope of their training,” the chief said in a recorded statement released Thursday morning.
Koval says the findings mirrored an internal review done by the Department. The report was also reviewed by the Dane County district attorney, who declined to pursue any criminal charges.