News & Politics

Off-Duty Indiana Firefighter Handcuffed, Threatened with Stun Gun for Waving at Cop

Is no one safe from police over-reaction?

A passerby snapped this cellphone shot of firefighter George Madison, Jr.'s brutal stop by cop.

Firefighter George Madison Jr. was out on a bike ride on Tuesday when he made the mistake of waving to some cops in a patrol car. The 38-year-old part-time firefighter, part-time pastor thought he might know the officers since he has dealt with many in his work.

But these cops were not friendly. Here's what happened next, according to the Evansville Courier & Press


“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.”

He said the officer’s angry attitude made him feel angry and alone.

“It was like everything had disappeared, and I was there alone and I got scared,” he said.

Madison thought it might be a good idea to call his friends in the police department to help explain to the officer who he is, but the officer told him to put the phone down and grabbed his arm. That's when the stun gun came out.  

Again, as told to the Courier& Press:

“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.”

Madison said the officer asked him his name, date of birth and place of employment.

“Once they found out I was a fireman their attitude changed,” he said.

At that point the officers allowed him to come to his knees. He said the officer began trying to engage him in conversation, but Madison said he became wary of the conversation’s turn.

“At first I was talking to them. Then I said ‘I don’t have anything else to say to you,”’ he said. “Finally, they asked me if I had calmed down, and I kept telling them I was never out of sorts.”


Madison said the officer explained to him that for all he knew Madison could have been trying to call others to the scene. Madison said he tried to explain his perspective as a young, black male.

“It is experiences like these that people hold onto,” Madison said. “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.”

Madison has filed a formal complaint.













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