The following letter was sent to Harford County Executive David Craig, County Councilman Dion Guthrie, Sheriff Jesse Bane, Dels. Dan Riley, Susan McComas and Mary-Dulany James, and members of the Edgewood Community Council. A copy was provided to The Dagger.
How, I ask you, does a homeless man, convicted of no crime, and charged only with misdemeanor trespassing, end up dead after being detained by officers in the Harford County Detention Center? Unfortunately the victim, Dwight Jerome Madison, can’t speak for himself. What is worse is that the only witnesses to his death are the police officers that were tasering and detaining Mr. Madison at the time of his death last Thursday. Hardly unbiased witnesses! For these reasons I have contacted the FBI and the U.S. OAG and asked them to investigate Mr. Madison’s death. I have also asked the ECC to hold an emergency forum so that we all can find out what happened.
It could just as easily have been you or I swept up by the HCSO. How often have you walked your neighborhood? How often have you gone out on a nice day to enjoy the sunshine? How often have you and your sons or daughters simply gone for a stroll to the high school, park or 7-Eleven?
On any given day, you, I or our kids could be stopped and detained. In fact, I have been stopped by the very same police that detained our hapless victim. In February of this year, 2009, the Sheriff’s office stopped me while I was on my morning walk, allegedly because I had a camera while I was out walking. I have no doubt whatsoever that I would have been detained if it weren’t for the fact that I know Councilman Dion Guthrie. I had the authorities call Dion, who then vouched for who I was and that I am a member of the Edgewood community!
Just as quickly and as easily as Mr. Madison disappeared, I could’ve ended up in the Detention Center. Who would have stood up for me if I suddenly turned up dead? Who will stand up for you?
We must stand up for ourselves and demand answers from the only people in the position to cause Dwight’s death. Otherwise, next time…it will be you or me or our sons and we will have no one to blame but ourselves. If we don’t stand up and let the powers that be know that the weak as well as the strong deserve respect and deserve to be treated with dignity, we cannot later complain when our own lives are forfeit.
Come together. Join me in demanding explanations from our elected representatives concerning Dwight’s death at the Detention Center.
Right Now is the time for those that believe Dwight deserved better… that he was somebody…that he deserved to live…to stand up and demand an accounting for this man’s life. You deserve the truth…your sons and daughters deserve the truth…but most of all Dwight Jerome Madison deserves justice.
Omar J. Simpson, Esq.
See related story here: http://www.daggerpress.com/2009/06/14/prisoner-dies-at-detention-center-after-being-tasered/
Common Sense says
Please don’t waste our precious resources on an incident that is an open and shut case. The entire incident was taped and shows that Mr. Madison was having a bad day and made some wrong choices that resulted in his death. It is very sad but it is the truth.
Well done. I applaud your sense of justice and decency. This case is anything but open and shut. The investigation of this incident needs to be handed over to an outside and impartial agency. Thank you for taking the time to do the right thing.
Phil Dirt says
Sheesh. The Sheriff’s Dept. has been accused, tried and convicted in one letter.
Mr. Simpson – If your accusations are correct, you are to be congratulated for seeing that justice has been done.
However, if you are wrong, will you, right now, promise that if an investigation clears the Harford County Sheriff’s Depratment of any wrongdoing or illegal acts, you will compose a letter thanking them for performing their duties appropriately and send a copy to David Craig, Dion Guthrie, Jesse Bane, Dan Riley, Susan McComas and Mary-Dulany James, members of the Edgewood Community Council, and The Dagger?
And just for the record, so we do not have any suspicions about your motives, are you affiliated in any way with members of Mr. Madison’s family? Do you stand to profit monetarily in any way from this case?
You said, “that the weak as well as the strong deserve respect and deserve to be treated with dignity”. I hope you agree that the law enforcement officers also deserve respect and need to be treated with dignity.” If it is shown that Mr. Madison did resist lawful orders and approached the deputies in a threatening manner, will you just as forcefully declare it to be so?
Remember, justice is a two way street. Bring on the investigation.
Elliot Reid says
Of course their going to do an investigation!?!? Does anyone REALLY think this will be swept under the rug? How could it? This letter is nothing more than a self-aggrandizing, shameless promotion. You should charge him a fee for the advertisment.
Believe-you-me, the HCDC is THE most liberal, inmate-serving facility I have ever had the (dis)pleasure to work for. even if someone wanted to give an inmate “what for”, the built in, redundant tattle-tale network would out you in a second…not to mention the overwhelming amount of paperwork that accompanies ANY use of force – much less resulting in death – would serve to dissuade even the most ‘overzealous’ of C.Os.
The “Man” is not at work here – if you wanna play tough-guy, understand that Big Boy rules apply in jails.
I too, would be interested to know if Mr. Simpson stands to profit from this witchhunt. financially, politically? The precedent has been set for rabble rous….Community Organizers.
Get a Grip says
Of course there will be an investigation. An in custody death does not happen without an investigation. This is pure grandstanding and playing to potential jurors for the civil lawsuit that I’m sure will be coming.
Mr. Simpson, I assume that after calling for all these agencies to investigate this incident along with the lawsuit I’m sure you’ll be a part of, you will be more than happy to reimburse the county, whatever other LE agencies you brought in, and the deputies involved for all legal and investigative costs if your claims are proven unfounded? Yea, I didn’t think so. You can explain to the next round of county employee layoffs that the county couldn’t afford to pay them any longer because they had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending themselves in your lawsuit.
The fact of the matter is, Mr. Madison attacked 2 deputies and a civilian at the detention center, got tased, and then tragically struck his head when he fell. Had he not attacked those people he would still be alive. had he left the area as told by the original responding deputies he never would’ve even ended up at the detention center in the first place.
Ms. Madison says
Well no Mr. Omar J. Simpson, Esq. is not related to the Madison family. Actually I am glad he reached out. No one has requested his services and no one has contacted him.
For the rest of these people making more ignorant comments…have a great day. You dont know the half of the story.
And to Common Sense – please inform us how YOU saw a tape of the incident? Thats what I would like to know.
Doowie Cheetum Howe Esq. says
Mr. Simpson maybe you can just tell the truth, instead of making yourself a victim of the Sheriff’s Office. Your account of the facts are a lie and self-promoting your Esq. services. Maybe you can be put on retainer by the family. You were not out for a simple walk with your camera! The Sheriff’s Office received a call for service on you. You were told why you were stop and were not detained any longer then you had to be, to resolve the matter. The area you were was near APG and was of a National Security concern, that day. That was explained to you before the roadside investigation concluded. I do not believe that knowing Dion kept you from going to jail. If you were commiting a crime you would have surely went to jail Mr. Simpson. I surely hope that you show the same conviction to the Sheriff’s Office when you have to apologize for your exaggeration and misinformation
Common Sense says
I haven’t seen the tape because it hasn’t been released yet (if it ever will be.) However, I know for a fact that most of that detention center is taped especially in the processing center and they’re in place to stop ridiculous accusations like Mr. Simpson’s.
I already posted this in the main articles section put ill put here so mr simpson can read it. Also Mr Simpson needs to brush up on his law and read the plain feel doctrine as well as Terry v. Ohio 1968 that enables an officer to stop someone on the REASONABLE SUSPICION that a crime has been, is being, or could be about to happen. Its called a Terry Stop. No probable cause is necessary. No excuse for ignorance here. WOW- everyone keeps talking about a force continuum. The fact is that most detention centers and police agencies are moving away from continuum’s because they prove ineffective. the whole if you have a knife then ill use a gun policies are out the window. what kind of sense does it make to first go hands on, then if that doesnt work to use pepper spray, then if that doesnt work use a taser, then if that doesnt work shoot the bad gay. Meanwhile as this process continues the victim or suspect depending on how you look at has succumb to at least 4 uses of force. Now everyone would argue that its brutality and overkill. The use of the taser subdues a subject without having to subject officers to hands on combat. The victim in this case could have just as easily hit his head on the floor being wrestled to the ground by officers. The taser is a pro OFFICER SAFETY device. Maybe the family would prefer that officers beat the subject with their asp batons until he was weak enough to succumb to hadcuffs. At the end of the day its the officers job to go home, whatever the cost is. Its unfortunate what happened here but the taser is not to blame. Read up on use of force policies before you comment. I am for the record not entirely sure what kind of policy the HARFCODC uses but as a police instructor i do know that force continuums are being phased out of agencies.
Well said BPB.
Michelle Etlin says
I hope Mr. Simpson can get some answers other than the cover-up-type platitudes espoused by the Sheriff of Harford county, Maryland.
Here is the problem: Videotape was done by the folks who somehow killed a homeless man without a record for any violence or, for that matter, apparently, any other crimes.
Here is another problem: Answers are not often forthcoming from the Sheriff’s office in Harford County. Furthermore, they feel that they can charge anybody with a crime of any sort, hold them under any kind of circumstances, and do anything they want, and cover it up with some platitudes and a “videotape” of the person committing violence against an officer. Let me ask this: why is a person being transported to court without handcuffs on? Jail policy? Why is a person ABLE to choke an officer while he is being taken to court? Jail policy? Why does not all of this look suspicious to anybody who has ever seen something as simple as “Law & Order” on TV?
If you arrest somebody, follow procedures to book them and get them into court, and you won’t have to kill them and then make up a story. Mr. Simpson, check into http://www.TheHostageChild.com. We’re concerned that the Harford County Detention Center et al. may be planning another unfortunate accidental death.
1) He wasn’t being taken to court. He was being taken to the District Court Commissioner just like every other person arrested in Harford County. The commissioner is located at the HCDC.
2) Just because someone is in handcuffs doesn’t mean they can’t hurt an officer (and there are several cases of suspects in handcuffs managing to wrestle a police officer’s firearm away from them and then kill the officer.)
3) Um…it happened at the jail. Who else is going to be taping it besides the HCSO? There are dozens of cameras all over that facility, though there are a couple areas not covered by the cameras.
4) You’re seriously comparing something that happened in a jail to an episode of Law & Order? Even if they were somehow remotely related, it’s TV. That’s kinda like people thinking police officers carry around digital fingerprint readers, instant DNA analyzers, and can get fingerprints off dirt covered rocks because they saw it on CSI.
In any case, you’re clueless and are trying to use this unfortunate situation to promote your propaganda website. I also find it interesting that most of the “reader comments” on your website are from the U.K. and South Africa and none of them come from anyone who actually has any firsthand knowledge of anything that happens in Harford County.
“Videotape was done by the folks who somehow killed a homeless man without a record for any violence or, for that matter, apparently, any other crimes.”
Defendant Name: MADISON, DWIGHT JEROME
Charge No: 001 Description: CDS:POSSESS-NOT MARIHUANA
Disposition: PBJ SUPERVISED Disposition Date: 02/07/1994
Charge No: 002 Description:CDS PARAPHERNALIA USE POS W/INT USE
Disposition: NOLLE PROSEQUI Disposition Date: 02/07/1994