Local cop indicted for alleged assault of a suspect

Posted 9/8/20

A Washington County grand jury in August indicted Madisonville Police Department Detective Sgt. Lucas Cunningham, previously hailed as a hero for saving the life of an elderly man who fell out of a boat while on Lake Madison, for assault during an arrest, according to Julie Renken, Washington County district attorney.

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Local cop indicted for alleged assault of a suspect

Posted

A Washington County grand jury in August indicted Madisonville Police Department Detective Sgt. Lucas Cunningham, previously hailed as a hero for saving the life of an elderly man who fell out of a boat while on Lake Madison, for assault during an arrest, according to Julie Renken, Washington County district attorney.

The Madison County District Attorney’s office recused itself from the case and a district judge appointed Renken’s office to serve as attorney pro tem. The Texas Rangers division of the Department of Public Safety is assisting in the investigation.

Cunningham allegedly kicked a suspect in the back May 17 in the 3000 block of W. Main St. in Madisonville.

According to the criminal indictment, the incident occurred while Cunningham was assisting with a traffic stop after the individual surrendered on the ground with his hands behind his head for an alleged Evading with a Motor Vehicle charge.

Cunningham has now been with the Madisonville Police Department for more than five years after working as a member of the Tactical Response Team with the Illinois Department of Corrections. He grew frustrated with the state’s approach and began to search for greener pastures outside of his home state.

He put himself through the TEEX Central Texas Police Academy and was then offered a job with the MPD

Two days after the alleged kicking incident, Cunningham was presented with the Houston Area 100 Club Award for his role in saving an 81-year-old man on Lake Madison in June 2019.

“A call came out over the radio that a boat had flipped over in (Lake Madison) and they thought that they saw somebody out in the water,” Cunningham said soon after the rescue. “We came flying across town and drove our vehicles right up to the dam.”

It turned out to be an 81-year-old individual who was out on his boat fishing. When law enforcement approached the scene, they discovered him on his back about 20 feet out on the lake clutching a buoyant cushion.

“I took off my gun, badge and radio and then dove in after him,” Cunningham said. “I went out there to grab a hold of him and just brought him back in. You hear stories about two people drowning in some of these cases because the first person cannot remain calm. But I told him to relax and he stayed perfectly still.”

Cunningham had previously been honored in 2018 by the DPS and the State of Texas with a Director’s Award for his part in saving a local woman's life in the Square.

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