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Video: Ind. Officer Cleared In Firefighter Stop

August 26, 2013  | 

VIDEO: Off-Duty Firefighter Argues with Ind. Officers

An Evansville (Ind.) Police officer who drew his TASER on an off-duty firefighter followed agency procedures in detaining the man during a stop that escalated into a verbal argument.

Officers Jason Clegg and Darin Clifton stopped George Madison Jr., an off-duty firefighter and youth pastor, after Madison failed to stop while riding his bicycle at a four-way stop, reports the Evansville Courier & Press.

Madison waved his arm at the officers and took out his phone to make a call after he was stopped. He ignored several warnings to put away the phone and flinched, causing Officer Clegg to draw his TASER. "Don't make me pull this trigger," Clegg reportedly said.

Madison later filed a complaint against Clegg saying he felt threatened by the officer during the Aug. 13 stop. During a City Council meeting on Aug. 21, Council President Connie Robinson and others questioned Police Chief Billy Bolin about the lack of diversity training in the agency. The chief said officers are trained to show "common basic courtesy," reports the Courier & Press.

Comments (16)

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16

Grog @ 8/26/2013 4:53 PM

Well, "lack of diversity training" huh? That's just stupid as hell. How about the firefighters be required to attend "How not to be a douche during a traffic stop" training? I mean really... If the firefighter would have listened to the officer's commands, this incident would have never happened.

Perhaps he should watch the video "How not to get your butt kicked by the police".

Brian @ 8/26/2013 5:05 PM

Bicycle running a stop sign....hmmm... Heiness! Oh a black man is on it.... Bet he's got a warrant. Lets stop and run him. Yeah yeah... We know how it goes. Former LEO and white. Dumb stop. And you end up looking like asses.

jay @ 8/26/2013 5:48 PM

That was a dumb ass stop. Less chatter more work. Stop with the lecture, put pen to pad and move on. cheese and rice!!!!!!!

Bluevixen @ 8/26/2013 6:10 PM

Is this article for real? We all know that there was nothing but a whole lot of "testosterone" running wild in this intersection. Madison was riding his bike on the roadway and therefore should have been obeying the rules of the road. He thought the officers should have yielded the right-of-way to him instead of turning in front of him and he reacted when they didn't. The officers felt disrespected when Madison reacted to them because they thought he should have stopped at the stop sign or at least yielded to them and not waved them off. Once they made the stop and discovered that not only was he an off-duty firefighter but also had the Chief of Police's cellphone number, then they had to make the best of the situation and that's why they came up with this whole, "failed to comply with commands and aggressively jerk his arm as though he was going to throw a punch as the officer attempt to take his cellphone." Both sides acted badly, bottom line.

Acceptance @ 8/26/2013 8:12 PM

I truly believe that "our experiences emphasis our judgments." I agree with a lot of what Bluevixen posted. They all acted accordingly because of their experiences. The fire fighter had bad experiences growing up as a young man and the law enforcement officer probably dealt with some disrespectful thugs and believe most black males lack respect. However, if we could replace that black firefighter with a white middle age male who fail to stop for the stop sign, they probably would have continued driving their patrol car and ignored the violation. God Bless America!!

Lenny @ 8/26/2013 8:15 PM

While it certainly appears that Madison may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, I also think that Cletus and Jethro could use a change of scenery. Probably Mississippi, and sometime during the early 1960's. "You gonna stay calm now?" Despicable! Also haven't heard anyone wittering about what
happened earlier and the lack of video until after our boys here had their fun. If that's what passes for "common basic courtesy," in Evansville Ind won't be visiting anytime soon.

Doug M. @ 8/27/2013 5:54 AM

1) The failure to stop at the stop sign as required justified the stop. Not only are big riders a major pain in the butt about non-compliance with the rules of the road, but this is a serious safety issue for the rider. (Although as a rule I think the real law that should apply is Darwin's.) If they do stupid stuff and get creamed by a truck, it's no loss.
2) A stop is the officer's, and using the phone is a no-go. Ever. Putting it away is not a "warning", it is a lawful command.
3) This was not a "complaint", which would be an allegation of facts which if true violate a valid applicable standard of conduct. It was a snivel.

Chief B @ 8/27/2013 6:56 AM

A bicycle on the road must follow the same rules as motor vehicles. Stop signs, yield signs, speed limit signs, etc. are all enforceable. You know what else? DUI. If you have a bicyclist run a stop sign, and causes an accident with a car, you don't think the cyclist will be cited? You NON-LEOs needs to go to another site, your ignorence is showing.

Brian @ 8/27/2013 7:56 AM

Chief, with all due respect, I'm a retired LEO. It was a chicken shit stop. The officer never stated he was weaving all over the road. He ran a stop sign. He never said you were almost hit by a car. I bet it's simply, oh a black guy... Riding a bike... Must be suspended.... Bet he has warrants.... We are not ignorant sir!

Brian @ 8/27/2013 7:59 AM

And you know it was probably not racist. Its about the numbers....Young coppers get in contests to see how many arrests they make over other colleagues. And don't tell me it doesn't happen.

On the Job @ 8/27/2013 8:31 AM

Although I didn't see what transpired before the video, I felt sorry for the firefighter. It appeared the officers were badgering him even after he apologized. This shouldn't be blown out of proportion, if he did something wrong, he should be told what he did, correct him, but don't preach. It almost seems they were overdoing the explanation of what he did wrong to justify why they cuffed him. He is a big dude, and certainly the officers should do what they needed to protect themselves. But after everything is said and done, good god, don't preach. He apologized, shake hands and drive-on.

FireCop @ 8/27/2013 11:43 AM

Just follow the darn officer's directions and you won't get hurt idiot. Everyone knows that. If you've done nothing wrong, nothing should come of the whole situation. Both sides seemed to have an issue here....looks like some more training is coming. Stay safe.

Cash @ 8/27/2013 6:17 PM

I stop 2 to 3 bikes a week in my town of all white people. Follow the rules and dont get pulled over.

Troop @ 8/28/2013 12:10 AM

Some of my best felony arrests stemmed from a bicycle stop. Drugs, weapons, wanted persons. Nothing wrong with these stops.

DepDog @ 9/2/2013 4:39 PM

Being from Indiana, and why they stopped him, and yes some you hit on it. I would like to think we have gotten beyond the "R" word, but unfortunately I know it still exist. Can promise you had it been the middle age white male on the other side of town, it would have been no problem.

Firm, Unfair, and Inconsitent

just eavesdropping @ 11/14/2014 8:13 AM

Please help an internet surfer understand. The firefighter provided identification, so he complied with the basic rules of a traffic stop. Unless he is under suspicion for committing a crime, he should have been free to go. The officers didn't need to investigate or question him about his fire station. The firefighter said he got his on phone because he was afraid of being targeted for "biking while black" (not his words). Is reaching for a phone against the law? Is it noncompliance or something? When does that apply? The firefighter said he wouldn't answer questions, but what information was necessary for a traffic stop? Unfortunately he never asked if he was being detained for a crime, or else they would have had to let him go, right? So, yeah, nerves, males locking horns, whatever. Firefighters are not trained for traffic stops, but cops are. If you are going to leave skin color out, though, you have to leave machismo out too, though.

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