Evansville firefighter claims mistreatment after incident involving EPD officers

Evansville firefighter claims mistreatment after incident involving EPD officers
Published: Aug. 14, 2013 at 10:20 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 21, 2013 at 9:57 PM CDT
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The photo Madison posted on Chief Billy Bolin's Facebook page.
The photo Madison posted on Chief Billy Bolin's Facebook page.

An Evansville firefighter tells 14 News that all he wanted was to be treated like a human being during a police incident.

The firefighter, who had been riding his bicycle, claims he was cuffed, thrown to the ground, and threatened with a taser after a police officer thought he had given him the middle finger.

On Facebook, firefighter George Madison writes that 'he doesn't want any publicity, he just doesn't want this to happen to somebody else.'

George tells 14 News that he's shaken by the incident and believes this may have been personal.

The photo of the incident has gone viral- Madison kneeling on the ground near the corner of Riverside and Weinbach in handcuffs.

He tells 14 News that he was threatened with a taser and scared by the officer's actions.

"He called me yesterday afternoon right after the incident happened," Evansville Police Department Chief Billy Bolin said. "Said he was on his bicycle, went through a stop sign, saw a police car and said that he waved at the officers, but he thinks the officers thought he was flipping him off."

Chief Bolin, who is friends with Madison, says the incident is now under investigation.

"I know him, I like him. I know the officers involved, I like the officers involved. So, my job is to try to figure out the truth no matter who you like," Chief Bolin said.

In a Facebook post, the youth pastor and member of the fire department's combat challenge team says he doesn't think race had anything to do with what happened.

Madison says the stop seemed to be more of a personal issue than a professional one.

"Just because somebody says something, we can't automatically assume it's the truth. I'm not saying I'm doubting anything that George has said. We have to hear both sides and get to the bottom of it," Chief Bolin said.

Madison says he doesn't want to create a media storm and wants the investigation to run its course.

He tells 14 News, "There are great guys on our police department. The officer may be one of them, but yesterday, he wasn't showing he was."

The EPD released a statement on Wednesday.

It reads, "The investigation began this morning. In order to preserve the integrity of the investigation and to ensure fairness for all of the involved parties, the EPD will not comment on the incident at this time."

Chief Bolin says he hasn't spoken with the officers involved and they are not being named pending the investigation.

He says they will be interviewed once Madison files a formal complaint next week.

Click here to read officer's incident report

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