After Evansville firefighter George Madison filed a federal lawsuit against the city and officers involved in an August 2013 controversy, the attorneys representing the officers have requested a counterclaim. In the motion, the officers have alleged Madison intended to profit off of ‘baseless’ and ‘malicious’ accusations contained in Madison’s suit. The incident involving Madison and Evansville Police officers Jason Clegg and Darin Clifton sparked a month-long controversy, headlined by one of the most emotionally-charged City Council meetings in recent memory.

In July, Madison filed a 15-page federal lawsuit against the City of Evansville, Officer Clegg and Officer Clifton, claiming his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. In addition to those allegations, Madison claimed the actual reason he was stopped and detained was his race. Madison also alleged he was the victim of assault, battery, false imprisonment and excessive force, according to the lawsuit. He is seeking $700,000 in damages.

“The actual reasons for the stop and detention of Madison, a black male, were his race and / or the waving gesture he made toward the [officers],” Madison’s lawsuit stated. “Upon the stop and detention of Madison, one of the [officers] angrily inquired why Madison ‘threw his hands up at [them],’ berated Madison and would not allow Madison to answer this, and other questions.”

The officers stopped Madison for failing to stop at a stop sign while riding his bicycle near at the intersection of South Weinbach Ave. and Kathleen Ave, according to police records. On several occasions, Madison admitted to running a stop sign. Claiming to have previously known the officers, Madison said he waved as he went through the intersection. However, Officer Clegg and Officer Clifton believe Madison had flipped them off, police said. Officer Clegg and Officer Clifton never cussed at Madison nor did they use derogatory language or any racial epithets, according to the department’s internal investigation. Once the officers stopped him, Madison claimed the officers were acting aggressively, prompting him to call Chief Billy Bolin. Fearing the unknown and fearing for their safety, the officers told Madison to put the phone away while they talked to him but Madison pulled back in an aggressive manner, according to the run card for the incident. This prompted one officer to pull out his taser and order Madison to the ground. Madison was detained and handcuffed, police said.

As part of normal court proceedings in the lawsuit, on Sept. 10th, Madison gave a deposition under oath. In the deposition, Madison admitted that he had “absolutely zero evidence” that the incident was race related, according to the officer’s counterclaim.

Parts of the deposition were included in the officer’s counterclaim as an exhibit.

Attorney: What information do you have that Officer Clifton undertook any action at the time of the incident because of your race?

Madison: I don’t have any information.

Attorney: What information do you have that Officer Clegg undertook any action at the time of the incident because of your race?

Madison: I don’t have any information.

According to the officer’s counterclaim, Madison further testified under oath that the first time he raised race as an issue was when he filed his lawsuit seeking money damages.

“And so the first time that race has become an issue is when you filed a complaint seeking money, correct?” the officer’s attorney asked Madison, according to the transcript of the deposition.

“Yes, sir,” Madison replied.

In his lawsuit, Madison also claimed to have been assaulted and battered by Officers Clegg and Clifton. However, under oath, Madison back-tracked on those claims, according to the counterclaim.

“What unlawful touching of your body did Officer Clifton do at the time of the incident?” the officer’s attorney asked Madison, according to the transcript of the deposition.

“None that I know of. That I’m aware of,” Madison replied, according to the deposition.

Furthermore, in his lawsuit, Madison claimed that he was the victim of excessive force which violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights. However, when asked what excessive force Officer Clifton used against him, Madison, who was under oath, said, “none to my knowledge.”

In the lawsuit, Madison alleges that he was injured, endured physical pain, mental suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress that will continue in the future. Madison is asking for a jury to award him compensatory damages, emotional distress damages and punitive damages.

After discovering this evidence, the attorneys representing the officers filed a motion to request a judge to permit the counterclaim, alleging Madison “knowingly, intentionally and maliciously made these claims without factual foundation,” according to the counterclaim. The counterclaim also alleges Madison falsely claimed he was wronged because of his race solely in an attempted to extract money from Officer Clifton and Officer Clegg. By doing so, the officers allege that they have been damaged. The officers are requesting damages as well as litigation fees.

“We are studying their motion carefully,” said Mark Sniderman, the Indianapolis-based attorney representing Madison. “We intent to vigorously oppose it.”

Sgt. Jason Cullum, the Evansville Police Department spokesman, said he can’t comment on pending litigation but did release the following statement.

“We’re aware of the countersuit filed on behalf of our officers. We look forward to the opportunity to have this resolved in the courts.”