The following letter was sent to County Executive David Craig, County Councilman Dion Guthrie, Del. B. Dan Riley and the Edgewood Community Council, along with The Dagger.
It refers to a homeless man who died at the Harford County Detention Center in June after being subdued with a TASER.
By Omar Simpson, Esq.
The Edgewood Community Council meeting last Wednesday got pretty heated towards the end. Since I’ve spoken up about Dwight Madison’s death at the Harford County Detention Center, I’ve been attacked by some people and asked by many people why I care so much about this “issue”. Why am I willing to piss off the Sheriff, County Executive and our Elected Officials over the death of one “homeless” man? Why? Because I believe each and every person is precious and that we ultimately help ourselves when we help our brothers thrive. Let me explain using Matthew 13:3-23 which says:
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”
Each and every person is precious. Each person has a God-given seed of potential that makes him or her invaluable, unique and special. Poor or rich, white or black, male or female…it doesn’t matter. God gives each person a gift and we, as men, should cherish it.
Jesus, was a simple carpenter…hardly a rich man in terms of earthly wealth…but he changed the world. Gandhi was not a wealthy man, but he also changed the world and showed us that peace and love can indeed set us free. Gandhi inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., who was hardly a rich man either, but he changed the world and lit the light on a dream that still inspires us today. These great, great men were not rich men, but they were all valuable. Their very existence proves that there is no relation between a persons’ wealth or status and his or her value as a human being. How many potential Gandhi’s and MLK’s are we losing each year simply because we refuse to truly value one another? Each person is precious.
I sincerely believe our role is to create an environment that helps people grow and thrive. By helping people grow, we inevitably help ourselves. Their gifts contribute to and enrich our community. In Matthew 13, we are told that those seeds that do not fall on fertile soil are, for one reason or another, doomed. Shouldn’t we then do our best to ensure our seeds do indeed fall on fertile soil? In other words, we must do our best to create an environment where each person’s God-given gifts can grow and thrive.
Michael Phelps would never have reached the heights he has reached without a swimming pool. If he had lived in a bad environment, with no pools and no activities for youth, we would never even heard of him…and he would never have found glory in far away Beijing. Environment brings potential to life. Dr. Ben Carson, the world famous surgeon from Johns Hopkins, would never have become the great man he is today without an environment in which he could be educated. Think of how many lives he has saved! Environment, the soil in which we plant our seeds, spurs our potential and brings it to life where it then enriches our community. Our mission should be to create an environment that helps people grow and thrive. By doing so, each person’s God-given gifts will in turn enrich our communities and our lives.
In Conclusion, I fight for Dwight because each person is precious. If we are to be successful, we must create an environment that helps people grow and thrive. By doing so each persons’ God-given gifts will in turn enrich our communities and our lives.
Tragedies, like Dwight Madison’s death at the detention center, only happen when we lose sight of the fact that every person is precious…that each person has a seed of the divine…whether they be rich or poor, black or white, male or female…everyone is precious. Dwight Madison, in his family’s eyes and in God’s eyes was precious. That’s why I fight for him. That’s why I’ll fight for anyone whose human worth is being devalued or denied…that’s why I will fight for you.
It’s not personal Sheriff…it’s not personal Councilmen…it’s not personal Executive Craig. It is more than that…it’s spiritual…an understanding that right now is the time to speak up on a great wrong in the hopes it will never happen again.
Common Sense says
I agree with you Mr. Simpson. Unfortunately, Mr. Madison slipped through the cracks. I work for this County and I know for a fact that this County does everything it can for our mentally disturbed and homeless individuals. Our Mobile Crisis Team is amazing but they can only do so much. Our Health Department gives out free medicine to those individuals who can’t afford it so that they can be mentally healthy. We even have law enforcement officers trained to deal with the mentally disturbed and those in crisis so that they can better help them. However, we can only do so much with the manpower we have and the money we’re given. Your issue isn’t with the Sheriff, Tasers, County Exec or Council. It’s with these hard economic times and the lack of funding coming from Annapolis. And let’s remember that his death was an accident and that those deputies involved have to live everyday with what happened and I’m sure it hasn’t been an easy road. Mr. Madison’s life was precious and it is very sad what happened but let’s not throw the blame around on people who try their best to help.
Dewey Cheetum Howe Esq. says
Mr. Simpson it wasn’t education that made Dr. Carson! It was an uneducated mother who wanted her child to be better off then her. The main point he had parenting! It doesn’t matter what race, religion or enviroment you are raised in if you have parenting. The society has no moral values and it lack homes with a father and mother that enforce good morals. Like I said to you before Mr. Simpson in your original post; you were grandstanding with this incident. You lied, that right everyone should know that you lied about your experience with the police. You are a false profit and you give bible verses, when you are a liar. I’m still waiting for your apology to the law enforcement community. Next time pay the fee to get your add in the Yellow Pages. I know this incident was your chance for some free press.
Mr. Simpson, had Mr. Madison been in your neighborhood banging on doors I guarantee you would’ve been on the phone calling the police to do something about it and had the police NOT arrested him (which in this case was the only option, unfortunately) you would be here writing letter complaining about the police not doing their jobs and letting “bums” wander around your neighborhood. Get over yourself.
I’ve spoken to some of the officers involved in the arrest and Mr. Madison actually said several times that he wanted to go to jail (which I’m sure all his family and friends who left him on the streets will deny) because he didn’t have anywhere else to go. Why he decided to be uncooperative once he got there is anyone’s guess. My guess is that he wanted a place to sleep and the longer he delayed seeing the commissioner the longer it would be before he was released. I haven’t talked to any of the officers involved in the incident at the detention center (well, at least not talked about the incident) so I don’t know what happened there other than what’s in the press release (and even if I did I wouldn’t post it since the investigation is probably still in progress.)
Get over yourself Mr. Simpson and stop using this man’s tragic death as a platform for your political agenda.
I’m not even sure what to say to this. Mr. Simpson has started some sort of revolution, but I don’t know what he’s revolting against. This was an accident. The officers involved didn’t have any ill intent. There is no conspiracy. Mr. Simpson writes as if there is some great cover up here by the county. I’m not even entirely clear what the point of his rant is. Every life is precious?? Ok , I don’t think anyone will disagree with you. But show me where this man’s life was devalued or denied. The arresting officers and the correction deputies didn’t seek this man out. A citizen, like yourself, called and complained. The police officers came and did their job. They took him to jail, where he was disruptive, unruly, and combative. Its the corrections deputies job to maintain order in the detention center, and that means sometimes using physical force or tazers or pepper spray. So they too did their jobs. i dont think any of the officers involved personally knew Mr. Madison so I doubt there was any personal vendetta against him.
Mr. Simpson you are not “pissing” anyone off because your message is not clear. Ill ask again, What is your point? i could understand if Mr. Madison’s rights had been violated, or he had been discriminated against, or brutalized, or abused. But he wasn’t. Its sad that he died and I feel for his family and friends. but dont turn this into some complicated conspiracy to fuel your political agenda. Ill end this by agreeing with you. Every life is precious and the world would be a better place if more people took that into account. The Correction Deputies lives are precious too. And at the end of the day it is there job to go home safe to their families so they can come back the next day to a thankless job where they are assaulted, spit on, ridiculed, and under paid. All in the name of serving the public. Thank you Corrections Officers for all that you do.