08/15/2013

Firefighter 'waving' at cops is cuffed, threatened with ECD

Police believed the off-duty firefighter had flipped them off, but he claims he waved

By PoliceOne Staff

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A firefighter has filed a formal complaint about a police officer who he said stopped him during a bicycle ride Tuesday afternoon, threatened him with a stun gun, and handcuffed him.

Courier Press reported that Evansville firefighter George Madison Jr., 38, who is also a youth pastor, said he waved at officers in a patrol car as he was riding his bike.

The father of four said he feared for his safety during the stop by the two officers, according to the report.

“I remember looking down the barrel of a Taser, because (the officer) was gritting his teeth and saying, ‘Don’t make me pull this trigger,’” Madison said Wednesday afternoon.

Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin said he would “look into” the situation and that he needed “to stay impartial” until he hears both sides, according to the report.

During the incident, a passer-by took a cellphone picture which was shared on firefighter Madison’s Facebook page, according to the report. Madison admitted he was not going to stop at the intersection, but said the officer startled him by making a sudden left turn in front of him, according to the report.

“The officer jumped out and says, ‘What are you doing throwing your hands up at us?’” Madison said. “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 believes the cops thought he was flipping them off, and the official run card confirmed it, according to the report. The card also claims Madison ran a stop sign.

Madison tried calling the Chief Bolin, but the officer told him to put the phone down, according to the report. That’s when Madison hesitated and the officer grabbed his arm and pointed his stun device.

“It was literally maybe inches from my face,” he said. “I immediately threw my hands in the air. What he asked me to do I was more than willing to do. I said ‘Please don’t hurt me.’ The next thing I know I’m laying down the ground and they cuffed me.”

It wasn’t until Madison revealed his identity and occupation to the officers that they finally eased up, according to the report.

"The fact that I am a firefighter or preacher doesn’t make a difference," he said. "All anybody wants is to be treated like a human being."

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