Madisonville Residents Claim Racial Profiling

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Some Madisonville residents are speaking out about their police department. At a town hall meeting Tuesday evening, residents made their claims that the department is racially profiling.

City staff and council members heard the calls at the meeting.

More than 100 people attended the Concerned Citizens of Madisonville meeting. The group was formed just last month.

"We are here because we are concerned that the law enforcement practices are not applied equally to all citizens of Madisonville," said Minor Kennard, a representative for Concerned Citizens of Madisonville.

The CCM was joined by representatives of the state and national NAACP, as well as HipHop Against Police Brutality.

"We're concerned with what's going on in Madisonville because we're also concerned with what may go on in Austin, and what may go on in Houston, and what may go on in New York, and what may go on in California," said Kenavon Carter with HipHop Against Police Brutality.

Testimonials given by a number of residents claimed members of the Madisonville Police Department had racially profiled or unfairly treated members of the community.

One speaker of Reginald Scott, who said in the aftermath of drug allegations, authorities have searched his house, drawn guns on his wife and kids, and even pulled his daughter out of class to obtain his phone number.

"There were no drugs there," Scott said of the incident at his home, "and they acted as if they had done nothing wrong. They left me with threats like, 'You'd better stay clean,' and, 'We'll get you next time.'"

Among the demands of the group were an end to "consent searches," when an officer asks to search a vehicle or individual without legal authority. Also asked for was the creation of an independent civilian review panel to second police investigations of racial profiling, as well as an end to what they called overzealous use of wreckers to tow cars when family or friends can often pick up vehicles after minor violations.

City Manager Tom Ginter said, "I will get these to all the rest of the council members who are not here. We'll review them and take a look at them."

Mayor Scott Singletary, a pair of councilmembers and Madison County Sheriff Dan Douget were also in attendance.

Police Chief George Sweetin was on vacation and did not attend the town hall.

The group scheduled another meeting for November 7.

Ginter says he is unaware of any formal complaints against police officers crossing his desk. He and the event organizers urged residents to fully document any incidents.