Indiana Man Handcuffed for Waving While Black

George Madison Jr., moments after he was handcuffed for waving at police (Facebook/Evansville Courier & Press)
George Madison Jr., moments after he was handcuffed for waving at police (Facebook/Evansville Courier & Press)

On Tuesday afternoon, while riding his bike on South Weinbach Avenue in Evansville, Ind., George Madison Jr., 38, waved to a couple of police officers nearby. From where Madison was, the officers looked familiar to him. After all, as a firefighter with the Evansville Fire Department, Madison is friends and has worked closely with many of Evansville's finest, including the police chief, Billy Bolin. 


But Madison didn't look familiar to the officers, and as the Evansville Courier & Press reports, Madison said his friendly wave was deemed a threat by the officers.

"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 said he knew Bolin from their community involvements and began to call him on his cellphone hoping to diffuse the situation.

However, the officer told him to put the phone down. Madison said that when he hesitated, the officer grabbed his arm holding the phone, causing Madison to flinch.

Before he knew it, Madison said, the officer had his stun device out.

"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."

Once they established who Madison was, the officers, Darin Cliton and Jason Clegg, brought Madison up to his knees and let him go. Madison, who is a father of four and also a youth pastor at Memorial Baptist Church in Evansville, filed a formal complaint with the police's internal-affairs division. Chief Bolin told the Evansville Courier & Press an investigation is under way.

Read more at the Evansville Courier & Press.

Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.