Madisonville Group Demands Apology From Chief

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The group protesting the practices of Madisonville's police department are now demanding an apology from its leader.

On Tuesday, the city council heard demands from the Concerned Citizens of Madisonville, a group that formed complaining the department was racial profiling.

Following that meeting, Chief George Sweetin dismissed those suggestions in an interview with News 3, and talked about attending a Concerned Citizens meeting.

"Twenty-five percent that I saw in the meeting I attended were fine, outstanding citizens and productive citizens of this community," Sweetin said. "Seventy-five percent of them were either under federal indictment, state indictment, on probation, on parole or ex-convicts, so I don't hold a lot of stock in those type of people."

In a statement released Thursday, Kenavon Carter with HipHop Against Brutality demanded an apology.

“For the police chief to make such a statement about citizens in Madisonville is a shame," Carter wrote, "and I believe it says a lot about how he views this community and how he runs this police department. It is that type of mentality that has permeated down to some of his police officers, who stop and search community members all too frequently.

“The attitude of Chief Sweetin is not going to stop people from demanding equal treatment under the law,” Carter continued. “But at some point the City Council and the Mayor of Madisonville are going to have to take a long look at the man running their police department.”

Sweetin only heard about the apology demand from News 3, and had no comment.

The CCM has scheduled another meeting for November 21 to discuss the situation.

Among their demands is an end to consent searches of vehicles, or at the least, a policy change regarding them. Statistics brought by the group show 85 percent of Madisonville's searches are consent, meaning they have no evidence of a crime, but ask for permission to search anyway.

Also demanded was the creation of a citizen review panel to help oversee investigations into police complaints, as well as an end to "overzealous" use of wrecker services on minor traffic violations.

After Tuesday's meeting, Sweetin said the demands were unnecessary, that consent searches were finding drugs and illegal weapons, that the city council and staff were enough of a check on internal police investigations, and that the department would be liable for vehicles left on the roadside if wrecker services were reduced.

Sweetin also vehemently denied his department was racial profiling.