An Indiana man was almost tased after offering a simple, friendly wave to police officers as he rode by on his bicycle.
George Madison Jr., a pastor and firefighter, was riding his bike when he noticed a cop car pull up in an intersection. Since he knows a lot of police from his work as a firefighter, he thought he recognized one of the officers in the cruiser and offered a friendly wave.
But the officers apparently interpreted this friendly gesture differently. Thinking that Madison had flipped them the bird, they stopped him for questioning. Madison then went to call the police chief, Billy Bolin, who he is acquainted with. But he says the officers told him to hang up his phone and get on the ground. When he hesitated, one officer pulled out his Taser.
“It was literally maybe inches from my face,” Madison 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.”
Of course, the cops started to go easy on him when they found out his was a firefighter. But that was after they had nearly tased and cuffed him, so, how exactly could that have gotten any worse?
An internal investigation has been launched, and Chief Bolin told a local news outlet that he knows both Madison and the officers involved. He says he has to “figure out the truth no matter who you like.”
A photo of Madison on the ground was taken by a witness and posted to the pastor’s wall. It went viral, and commenters have suggested that race played a factor (Madison is African American, while the officers are white). Madison himself said on another Facebook post “I don’t think race has anything to do with it,” suggesting that the incident was somehow personal in nature.