Norway councilman claims racial profiling as defense in shouting match with police officer

Norway councilman claims racial profiling as defense in shouting match with police officer

NORWAY, SC (WIS) - Michael Singleton isn't backing down after he was arrested Wednesday morning.

It was a Sunday evening traffic stop, captured on dash-cam video, that got Singleton, a Norway town councilman, into trouble.

"I was at home, and I received a call saying that, 'You know, you guys really need to do something about this police. You know, he pulled someone over.' At the time, I had no idea that it was a relative," Singleton said.

When he got to the corner of Harrison Avenue and 3rd Street in Norway, he says he realized it was a family member being ticketed for tinted windows.

"Now, the fact that I became belligerent or appeared to be belligerent is only for the mere fact that he had already started talking aggressively," Singleton said.

According to the arrest warrants, at about 6:30 p.m. on April 9, an officer was conducting a traffic stop on Harrison Avenue in Norway. The arrest warrant says Singleton  "came to the scene of the traffic stop, stopped and parked his vehicle in the roadway and exited his vehicle and attempted to hinder, obstruct, interfere or prevent the affiant from performing his duty by demanding the officer to tell him what was going on prior to the officer issuing a uniform traffic summons to one of his family members."

The warrant continues: "Defendant stated to the officer that he is the police commissioner along with statements that the officer may want to resign and that he is the officer's boss. Further investigation found that the defendant is not the police commissioner and is believed that he attempted to use his council position for his family's benefit..."

The councilman is now charged with interfering with the Norway police officer. An arrest warrant says he used his office for his family's benefit.

Police Chief Scott Ward says what Singleton did was wrong.

"Number one, he interfered with a police investigation. He also violated the officer's space by coming up to him and leaning down beside him. That's a safety issue," said Chief Ward.

Meanwhile, Singleton is preparing to fight the charges and argue his side of the story.


"My intentions were not to use my position as council member. I'm going to be honest with you, being on council here in Norway absolutely means nothing to me, but the work that I do does," he said.

And he said he'll continue to call out and question the town's officers.

"What I'm concerned about is the way that the police department is harassing and profiling our patrons so that they can have a paycheck," he said.

WIS asked Singleton if he stood by his earlier accusation of racial profiling.

"I do!" Singleton said.

Chief Ward said the councilman's claims are unfounded statements that are simply not true and have no basis in fact.

Ward plans to present the case to SLED next week.

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