Madison woman in Restorative Courts system faces misdemeanor charge
MADISON, Wis — A Madison woman whose arrest went viral last year is facing a judge on unrelated charges.
Genele Laird, 19, avoided criminal charges last year by agreeing to go through the Dane County Community Restorative Courts process.
The director of the courts, Ron Johnson, said Laird’s status in the program will not be affected despite the potential charges against her.
The CRC allows offenders and victims to come to a resolution, while avoiding a criminal record.
Laird’s forceful arrest caught on camera at East Towne Mall last June went viral and prompted concern over use-of-force by police.
Laird is facing one count of hit-and-run. Johnson said Laird’s involvement in the program will not be affected because the restorative justice system is designed to allow for people to receive multiple chances.
The alleged incident happened in December 2016 near Highway 12 and Seminole Highway in Madison.
Court records say Laird hit another car on the eastbound side of the Beltline while attempting to change lanes. The purported victim told police the car that hit him exited the highway and pulled into the 7-Eleven before going on its way.
Authorities said that a week later, Laird voluntarily met with Madison officers and admitted to driving away after feeling a “nudge” near the back of her vehicle.
Restorative court doesn’t specifically address what crimes would constitute an offender to be kicked out of the program, but Johnson said the charges would have to be “serious.”
Laird was scheduled to appear before a judge Tuesday. The hearing was postponed.