On the same day Madison police arrested Genele Laird, whose forcible detention was caught on a viral video, officers had a run-in with another young woman who fought their efforts to take her into custody.
But this time, according to police reports, there were no knee strikes, no punches and no use of Tasers to control her, as there had been for Laird, the black 18-year-old arrested June 21 by two white officers outside East Towne Mall.
Like Laird, Tessali R. Kellogg, 26, of Middleton, reportedly kicked one of her arresting officers several times in the legs. She also disobeyed police orders, attempted to leave before officers were done with their reports and then spit or attempted to spit at them — again, all like Laird allegedly did.
Kellogg resisted as officers tried to detain her for alleged drunken driving, after she drove her moped into the back of an SUV stopped at the eastbound Williamson Street intersection with Paterson Street, at about 7:42 p.m.
Laird’s arrest earlier the same evening occurred after she reportedly brandished a knife at employees of a Taco Bell in the mall food court and threatened mall security officers in a dispute over whether someone stole her cellphone.
One difference that some have seized on between the two cases is that Laird is black while Kellogg is white. But the real difference, according to Madison Police Training Officer Chris Masterson, is that officers in Kellogg’s case got handcuffs on her “almost immediately.”
That meant that, unlike in the Laird arrest, most of Kellogg’s reportedly unruly behaviors — including screaming and swearing, refusing to sit down and twisting and arching her body to avoid being searched and to confront officers, even when she was partially restrained in a wheelchair at Meriter Hospital before going to jail — occurred after Kellogg had been rendered more controllable.
“Once the handcuffs are on, it’s a total change in how easily a person can be moved around,” Masterson said.
For example, when Kellogg reportedly tried to sprint away from the scene after being handcuffed, her balance was compromised enough that she got only a few steps into the intersection before she fell down. That made it easy to catch up to her and walk her back, Masterson said.
Similarly, although Officer Christopher Hagen was unable to avoid being kicked several times in the shins by Kellogg, according to reports, it was easier for officers to lower her to the ground and attach leg restraints to prevent further kicking because her wrists were in cuffs.
In contrast, when Laird was kicking as officers held her to the pavement outside the mall, they were still struggling to get handcuffs on her, Masterson noted.
That made her a bigger potential danger, he said, especially with reports that Laird had displayed a knife inside the mall. The knife later was found inside her backpack, so it wasn’t readily accessible as she struggled with police. But officers would have had to proceed with extra caution going in, Masterson said.
And it made Officer Andrew Muir’s decision to use a Taser on Laird’s leg to try to control her kicking an appropriate response, Masterson said.
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“It’s a threat evaluation,” Masterson said. “What’s a bigger threat to the officers — someone not in handcuffs (with a possible weapon) or someone who is?”
Masterson also said it was “very hard” to compare police calls and second-guess the level or type of force used in each one, because important circumstances can vary even when some elements seem similar.
“One of the big differences is which officers respond to a call,” Masterson said. “Every officer is different and has different physical capabilities and strengths and weaknesses. One officer may have a lot of extra training at handcuffing or he may be a great athlete and may be able to do things that not every other officer can do.”
Police training also typically provides officers with “a range of reasonable responses,” but what’s reasonable for one officer may not be for another, depending on each officer’s respective training, abilities and limitations.
By happenstance, Muir also was the first officer on the scene at the Kellogg call, according to video, audio and police reports released to the Wisconsin State Journal under the state’s open records law. But he left within five minutes to continue working on the East Towne Mall case, records show.
The identity of the other officer who responded with Muir to the call involving Laird is not known. Police spokesman Howard Payne said the department has decided to withhold both officers’ names until an internal review of their use of force is finished, although Muir’s involvement with that arrest was disclosed incidentally in the records of the Kellogg arrest.
The three officers more heavily involved in handling Kellogg’s arrest were Hagen, Sam Brier and Hector Rivera.
In another link with Laird, the video depicting Kellogg in the back of Rivera’s squad car shows the officer using an alternate entrance to the jail after the main entrance was blocked by a protest over Laird’s arrest hours earlier.
Nine days later, on June 30, Rivera would fatally shoot a man with a history of mental illness at a Near East Side home. Police said that man, Michael William Schumacher, 41, of Fitchburg, had broken into the home and was smashing things before aggressively advancing toward Rivera with a pitchfork. Rivera is on paid leave while the shooting is investigated by an outside agency.
Kellogg, who also has a 2010 misdemeanor conviction for shoplifting, remained in jail for three nights before an initial court appearance June 24, when she was released on a signature bond. She faces one felony charge for battery to a police officer and three misdemeanors for resisting arrest, possession of cocaine and disorderly conduct.
Kellogg also was issued citations for following too closely, first-offense drunken driving and possession of drug paraphernalia. A police report said a glass pipe used for smoking marijuana fell out of her pocket when she ran away while handcuffed, while a glass jar with marijuana residue in it and digital scales were found in her backpack, along with 0.4 grams of cocaine in cellophane packaging and nearly $500 in cash.
Laird spent two nights in jail before she was released by District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, who referred her to an alternative restorative justice program, normally reserved for people between 17 and 25 who live on Madison’s South Side and whose offense constitutes a misdemeanor. If she fails to complete the program, Ozanne said he would file felony criminal charges against her including discharging bodily fluids at a police officer, battery to a police officer, resisting an officer causing soft-tissue injury, obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct while armed.
Attempts to reach Laird and Kellogg for comment were unsuccessful.