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Madison Teenager Whose Arrest Sparked Protests Released From Jail

Bystander Video Shows Officers Struggling With Young Black Woman


A black teenager whose arrest at a Madison mall sparked protests alleging discrimination has been released from jail under orders from the Dane County district attorney.

Eighteen-year-old Genele Laird was freed around 7:45 p.m. Thursday. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne declined immediate comment.

Earlier Thursday, Laird’s supporters gathered for her initial court appearance, but her case was never called.

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Police have said Laird displayed a knife Tuesday at East Towne Mall while confronting a person she thought had stolen her cellphone. She allegedly threatened security staff and resisted arrest. A video shows police struggling with Laird as they took her to the ground. Two officers were treated for injuries.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that several community leaders and city council members have called the use of force excessive.

At a press conference earlier in the week, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval stood by the officers and the department’s use of force guidelines but said the incident was under review.

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