Target: Billy Bolin, Police Chief of Evansville, IN
Goal: Discipline officers who threatened and cuffed man for waving
When he went out on a recent bike ride, Evansville, Indiana man George Madison Jr. had no idea what was about to happen to him. He certainly could not predict he would be threatened with a Taser near his face and handcuffed.
Madison, a firefighter and Baptist youth pastor, was stopped by two police officers when crossing a four-way intersection. He admittedly neglected to stop and when a police car sharply turned in front of him, he waved as he thought he recognized one of the officers. The two policemen, identified as Officers Jason Clegg and Darin Clifton, took exception to this gesture, and ordered him to pull his bicycle over. It was at this point Madison began to have no doubt one of the most harrowing experiences of his life.
“What are you doing throwing your hands up at us?” one of the officers shouted, according to Madison. As the officers continued to yell and berate him, he attempted to calm the situation by calling Police Chief Billy Bolin, but was stopped by one of the Officer Clegg who grabbed his phone. Madison said Clegg then threatened him with a Taser “literally maybe inches away from my face” and subsequently cuffed. Only after finding out he was a firemen did the two policemen relent.
Though media have mentioned Madison’s African-American race, he said he does not believe his treatment was due to prejudice, stating “My major concern is that my dignity and right to be treated like a human being was violated. I still believe and will continue to trust the system.” An investigation by the Evansville Police Department found Officer Clegg did not violate procedure.
This should not stand. Regardless of whether or not it was because of racial discrimination, George Madison’s treatment was a clear case of police brutality. There was no reason to threaten to shock him with a Taser or handcuff him. By signing this petition, you will demand Chief Bolin discipline officers Clegg and Clifton.
Dear Chief Bolin,
I am writing to protest the treatment of George Madison Jr. by policemen in your department. Madison, a fireman and youth pastor who had worked with you on community events, was recently stopped by Officers Jason Clegg and Darin Clifton while on a bicycle ride. After waving because he thought he recognized one of the two officers, Madison was pulled over.
It was then that Madison began to feel terrified for his life. When he attempted to call you to calm the situation, Officer Clegg took his phone. Madison then stated Clegg threatened him with a Taser “literally maybe inches away from my face” and then cuffed him. Only after finding out his occupation did the two officers relent.
Though news articles about the incident have mentioned Madison’s African-American race, he said he did not believe his treatment was due to racial prejudice. He stated “My major concern is that my dignity and right to be treated like a human being was violated. I still believe and will continue to trust the system.” When Officer Clegg was cleared by an internal affairs investigation, however, the system did in fact fail Madison.
This should not stand. Madison’s case was a clear example of police brutality. There was no reason for him to be threatened with a Taser near his face or handcuffed. I ask that you discipline Officers Clegg and Clifton for their disgraceful conduct.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: scoutnurse via Flickr