A firefighter and youth pastor from Indiana filed a complaint with the Evansville Police Department this week, following an encounter with one of the department’s officers.
While taking an afternoon bicycle ride last Tuesday, 38-year-old George Madison Jr. was surprised when a police car quickly turned out in front of him, blocking his path.
“He did it real fast. I thought it was one of the guys I knew,” said Madison, who has met many local officers through work and charity fundraising.
Thinking he was in the company of friends, Madison waved at the officers in the car.
“The officer jumped out and says, ‘What are you doing throwing your hands up at us?’ He is talking to me as he is coming toward me. I tried to explain, but I couldn’t get a word in edgewise,” Madison explained to the Courier Press.
Madison, now fearing for his safety, picked up his cellphone to call his friend, Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin. The officer then grabbed Madison’s arm while demanding he drop the phone. Madison, who was completely shocked, says he momentarily hesitated. The officer instantly pulled out his Taser and placed it inches from Madison’s face.
“I remember looking down the barrel of a Taser, because he was gritting his teeth and saying, ‘Don’t make me pull this trigger,” said Madison. “I immediately threw my hands in the air. I said ‘Please don’t hurt me.’ The next thing I know I’m laying down the ground and they cuffed me.”
The officer then began demanding to know Madison’s name, date of birth and where he worked. Once the officer discovered Madison was a firefighter, the officer’s attitude changed almost instantly.
As Madison attempted to explain his perspective to the officer as a young, black man, amazingly, the officer then asked Madison if he had “calmed down” yet despite Madison calmly trying to defuse the situation throughout the entire encounter.
Later that evening Madison was finally able to contact Evansville Police Chief Bolin before filing a complaint with the department’s internal affairs division. Police officials declined to release the officer’s name while the investigation is ongoing.
“I don’t want this man to lose his job or weeks of pay, but I have to look at it from the standpoint of I have a family to think about. I shouldn’t feel bad for standing up for my own rights,” said Madison.
Despite the ordeal, Madison has continued to stay positive and says he won’t let it change his outlook on life.
“The fact that I am a firefighter or preacher doesn’t make a difference. All anybody wants is to be treated like a human being. I refuse to allow a bad experience that I have with one person or officer to change my perception. I just refuse to allow this experience to make me feel any different.”
H/T – Mark Wilson