Police harass man for waving at them

In Evansville, Indiana, a 38-year old firefighter and youth pastor waved at officers in a police car. Then:

“I remember looking down the barrel of a Taser, because (the officer) was gritting his teeth and saying, ‘Don’t make me pull this trigger,’” Madison said Wednesday afternoon.

It seems the police car made a sudden turn in front of him as he was about to blow through a stop sign. Madison says that when he saw it was the police, he waved. Whether Madison was about to flip off the cops or not, their response was over the top.

“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.”

Madison knew the local police chief and tried to call him,

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.”

When the officers discovered Madison was a firefighter and that he indeed knew the police chief, they tried to smooth things over.

Here’s a photo of the incident taken by a passerby:

firefighter youth pastor stopped for waving

I don’t care if Madison gave the officers the finger. Since when did American citizens lose their right to do so? Don’t we expect police officers to show more self control than the average person? And what happened to “all men are created equal”? Must we now avert our eyes and bow our heads when police officers pass by, as if they were royalty or gods? They are public servants. If law enforcement culture no longer sees itself that way, we’re in big trouble.

From some of my recent posts, it may seem that I lack respect for law enforcement. That is not the case. As I’ve said before, they have a dangerous and often thankless job. They risk their lives for the sake of others and are therefore heroes.

On the other hand, something has gone wrong in law enforcement and that’s what I’ve been writing about.

Radley Balko gave an excellent talk on his book Rise of the Warrior Cop. It’s over an hour long but very informative. Here is a link to it at C-Span’s video library.

Here are the thoughts of a former police officer:

In the following videos, you’ll see what happened to an animal rights activist after he was asked to leave a rodeo. In the first, you’ll see how the police followed him from the rodeo and then stopped him. In the second, you’ll hear the officer’s own recording of the event and how their police department is controlled by the rodeo board.

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