“By my own standards what we witnessed is not acceptable. We will continue to work, internally and community wide to minimize the use of force and focus on de-esclation when appropriate” — Madison Mayor Paul Soglin
Madison (Wisc.) police officers were cleared in the tactics they used to arrest a young African-American woman.
Reports recently released showed that the Madison Police Department internal review and the external review by the Dane County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney determined the two police officers involved in the arrest Genele Laird, an African-American teenager, at East Towne Mall violated no department policies and training practices, and committed no crimes. (See local news report HERE.)
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin’s full statement on release of the reports.
In part: “By my own standards what we witnessed is not acceptable. We will continue to work, internally and community wide to minimize the use of force and focus on de-esclation when appropriate.”
Part of an earlier statement I made to the community:
“I just don’t think this is the way police should go about arresting young women. I cannot accept this. If this is our system of training, it’s got to be changed, you can’t do this anymore.”
Madison Police Chief Michael Koval conceded the rulings clearing the officers of any wrongdoing do not end the controversy, nor the goal of more force-free policing.
“There are many in the community – reasonable-minded people – who have a very visceral reaction to what they see ( bystander video). I get that, we have to own that. And now, more importantly, we have to be conscious…of repairing the harm that this has caused, building some bridges.”
Madison PD internal investigation relied heavily on the state’s DAAT system of police defensive tactics training as a standard practice and the USSC opinion in Graham v. Connor.
The question remains, who sets the standard? Do the police? Courts? What about the community having a greater role in setting use of force standards. Isn’t that what Community-Oriented Policing is?
Chief Koval’s letter to the community says the department will have a new “coordinator” review all uses of force by police personnel – after the fact. What it does not say it if any current policies or practices will be changed.