Mayor Soglin calls for review of police arrest tactics - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Mayor Soglin calls for review of police arrest tactics

Posted: Updated:

MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison Mayor Paul Soglin calls for review of Madison Police arrest tactics, and a comprehensive examination of the culture of all city departments, in the wake of a teen suspect's controversial arrest at East Towne Mall.

Authorities say 18-year old Genele Laird threatened a fast food worker with a knife Tuesday before an officer tried to arrest her outside the mall, with another, arriving officer using his knees, a punch and a taser to subdue the resisting teen.  A passerby videotaped the encounter and it went viral.

"I saw someone who was a suspect in a situation involving a knife taken into custody, and the process of taking that person into custody resulted in a great deal of force - force that we would all hope is not necessary,"  Soglin said Monday at a news conference.  "I would like to see arrests made without that kind of force."

The president of the Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association has said the officer's use of force and tactics were appropriate, and consistent with training and standards of police departments across the country.  Soglin says city officials need to review the police department's adoption of those tactics.

"Just because something is lawful, it may still be unjust,"  Soglin says.  "Just because it is lawful, does not mean it's right."

Soglin says he would like to again implement a quality improvement program to assess the state of the functioning of all city departments, with emphasis on department culture, after the program's lapse during Soglin's absence between mayoral tenures.  Soglin cited a hazing incident involving a Madison police officer, and the silence of officers who were witnesses, as an example of an episode of cultural dysfunction in the police department several years ago. 

Soglin also cited a past, discarded police practice of entering bars and taverns to check IDs, but stopped short of indicating whether any review of arrest tactics could lead to a rejection of the use force in certain situations.

Authorities say Laird has admitted her actions led to the police response at the mall.  She's entered the Madison Community Restorative Justice Court, and the Dane County district attorney says if she completes the diversion program successfully, she will face no criminal charges. 

Soglin says he will talk with other city leaders about his proposed, citywide review of departments to ensure best practices are emphasized.



Powered by Frankly