Candidate for Wyandotte County commission seat faces city battery charges in Topeka

The trial for a Wyandotte County commission candidate who is accused of battery in Topeka municipal court was delayed Tuesday at the request of his lawyer.

At a brief hearing, the attorney for Tarence Maddox said there is a good chance the case will settle before trial. The lawyer, Jeffrey Jones, withdrew Maddox’s not guilty plea. His next court appearance was set for Oct. 3.

Maddox, 40, could face jail time if convicted of the two misdemeanor charges. He is a candidate in the Nov. 7 general election for the District 4 seat on the Unified Government’s Board of Commissioners, a seat he held a decade ago.

The charges stem from an Oct. 14, 2022, incident. Shortly after 6 p.m. that day, an officer in Overbrook pulled Maddox over for speeding in Osage County, police said. The officer took Maddox, who allegedly had a suspended driver’s license, into custody.

Maddox began complaining of medical issues, so the officer accompanied an ambulance to The University of Kansas Health System campus in Topeka.

Once there, Maddox was “combative and uncooperative with hospital staff,” Overbrook Police Chief Eric Carlson said in a statement at the time. During an altercation, security officers used a Taser on Maddox, and Topeka officers were called to help subdue him, police said.

Carlson said none of his officers was injured during the incident. After Maddox was released by the hospital, he was taken to the Shawnee County jail, where he bonded out.

A police report lists two men as the “victims” in the case: a nurse and an Overbook officer.

Maddox was charged in Topeka Municipal Court with two counts: “Battery, intentionally causing contact in a rude, insulting or angry manner,” a Class B misdemeanor, and battery against a law enforcement officer, a Class A misdemeanor.

He faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the first charge, and up to a year in jail with a fine of $2,500 if convicted of the second one, a city spokesperson said.

Months after the incident, Maddox filed to run in an attempt to regain his old seat on Wyandotte County’s governing board.

Maddox’s attorney declined to comment after the hearing. Maddox did not respond to a call or text seeking comment.

In a Facebook video in January, Maddox said the news months earlier — when KCTV5 reported on his arrest — may have left viewers thinking he “lost” his mind. He described the allegations as “false.”

“I ain’t never lost my mind,” he said. “I’m well centered, I’m well grounded, I meditate weekly. … We all fall short every now and then, but at the end of the day, them lies that be told, they’re going to be unmasked in the coming weeks and all that kind of stuff.”

The charges mark the latest legal trouble for Maddox, who has had a tumultuous political career. He was censured twice when he was a UG commissioner from 2011 to 2015 for, among other things, threatening to sic county inspectors on a gas station owner and throwing a fit at Legoland, which led to his later conviction for disorderly conduct.

Maddox lost his seat in the 2015 election to Harold Johnson, who has held the seat since then. Johnson is not seeking reelection.

Maddox, who is president of the NAACP branch in KCK, is running against Evelyn Hill, a consultant who served from 2014 to 2017 as president of the Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education. They beat out two other candidates in the August primary election.

Of the 512 votes cast in that summer race, Hill came out on top with 190, while Maddox got 130. One of them will represent residents who live between the downtown KCK government district and the Northeast, as well as part of the Kensington neighborhood.