Norway town leaders dispute councilman's "profiling" claim

Norway town leaders dispute councilman's "profiling" claim

NORWAY, SC (WIS) - After a caught-on-dashcam moment, the majority of elected town leaders in the Town of Norway are speaking out against Councilman Michael Singleton, who police say broke the law when he interfered in a recent traffic stop of his relative.
In the video, Singleton walks up and quickly raises his voice when he addresses the town officer, who had pulled over a driver for a window tint violation. Singleton tells the officer he's his boss and suggests the officer should consider resignation.

"I'm like, 'Whoa! I don't believe this!' It was hurtful for me to see that one of my council would do something like that. It was real hurtful," Mayor Anne Johnson said of Singleton in the dashcam.

"It was very disturbing and I saw a person increasingly showing anger as the video went on," added Mayor Pro Tem Bonnie Fogle.

Mayor Johnson, Mayor Pro Tem Fogle, and Councilman Gregg Covington aren't speaking out because of the incident itself.

Tuesday's interview was spurred by Singleton's comments after his arrest – comments to WIS last Wednesday in an interview during which he called out the town's two-man police department.

"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 in the interview.
"Earlier, you used the phrase 'racial profiling.' Do you stand by that?" WIS then asked.
"I do!" Singleton quickly responded.

The group of town leaders disagrees wholeheartedly with Singleton's response.

"There's absolutely no racial profiling," said Councilman Gregg Covington.

"On Monday mornings, when I come in here, and Sergeant Lucas has his tickets over on his desk, I do look at them to see who he stopped, and I see just as much white people as I do African-American people. Sometimes I see no black people on that," the mayor added.

In a phone conversation Tuesday night, Singleton said he never made a claim of racial profiling, but WIS reminded him of his response in the interview last week.

The councilman then said he possibly got too "worked up" during that TV interview. He said he can't prove racial profiling, but he said he can prove that other types of profiling do happen in Norway.
Last week, Councilman Singleton also told WIS he fields complaints about the police constantly.

The other town leaders said on Wednesday that they don't.

Singleton suggested during the Tuesday night phone conversation that if people with complaints "showed up at houses," Orangeburg County deputies would be called "possibly because of the way look."

When it comes to profiling, WIS asked the Norway Police Department for some numbers.

From October to now, the town reported that 263 African-Americans were ticketed by town officers and 260 white people were. According to the 2010 census, of the town's 337 residents, 40% are white and 54% are African-American.

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