An off-duty firefighter in Indiana claims he waved at cops only to have them pull over, threaten him with a stun gun and handcuff him. But it's an incident the man says he won't let change his perspective of law enforcement.
According to the Evansville Courier & Press, firefighter George Madison was riding his bike Tuesday afternoon when he waved at a patrol car. Officers though said Madison "flipped" them off, leading them to stop.
“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 told the Courier & Press of the incident.
Later, Madison was handcuffed and pictured on the side of the road by a member of his church where he is a youth pastor.
What started off as a wave lead to a misunderstanding that escalated with this off-duty firefighter in Indiana. (Photo via WTVW)
Madison said he at first thought he might have known the officers, but when they turned sharply in front of him, jumped out of the car and said "'What are you doing throwing your hands up at us?’” But at that moment, Madison didn't recognize them.
Madison told the Courier & Press he tried to explain, but "I couldn’t get a word in edgewise."
Madison, knowing several officers in the department and Chief Billy Bolin, called Bolin, hoping to clear up the situation. But his arm was grabbed by the officer, which lead him to flinch and the officer to whip out the his stun gun.
“It was literally maybe inches from my face,” Madison 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 on the ground and they cuffed me.”
Later, after finding out his occupation, Madison said they allowed him to come onto his knees.
Here's how the situation went down according to the officer's incident report:
Mr. Madison quickly pulled out his cell phone and began making a phone call. Mr. Madison was advised to put his cell phone away while officers were attempting to speak with him about the incident. Mr. Madison refused to put his phone down and told officers to hold on a minute. Officer Clegg reached for Mr. Madison`s phone and Mr. Madison postured up and pulled his arm back in a aggressive manor. Officer Clegg pulled his taser out and told Mr. Madison to get on the ground. Once on the ground I (Officer Clifton) then placed Mr. Madison in handcuffs for safety reasons. Mr. Madison then advised his name and information for officers. Mr. Madison stated he was trying to call Billy Bolin or Adrian Brooks before speaking with officers. Officers explained to Mr. Madison we dont know who he is trying to call and maybe he was calling buddies over to come to the stop. Mr. Madison was unhandcuffed and officers finished explaining to Mr. Madison he is to follow all traffic laws on a bicycle while riding on the street. Mr. Madison was advised by raising his arm and making a gesture at officers after he failed to stop at the stop sign only drew attention to himself.
Although Madison told the Courier & Press that many might hold a grudge over a bad experience like this, he "[refuses] to allow this experience to make me feel any different.”
The pastor of Madison's church, Rev. Gerald Arnold, told WTVW-TV he wasn't shocked by the situation "because it does happen." Like Madison, Arnold said he realizes "it's not the police department itself.
"But there are individuals that overreact," he continued.
Madison filed a formal complaint with the police department, which is being investigated internally.
Watch WFIE-TV's report of the misunderstanding that is now under investigation:
(H/T: Daily Mail)