Norway, South Carolina - City councilman Michael Singleton was arrested after threatening a Norway police officer on a traffic stop. The confrontation was captured on dash camera video (below.)
The unidentified police officer was conducting a traffic stop and issuing a ticket for a window tint violation. In the past, the driver had already been given a verbal warning and explanation how to bring the vehicle into compliance, and she failed to correct the problem.
City councilman Michael Singleton then arrived and the officer addressed him by name. Singleton demanded the driver's license from the driver, who is his relative. Singleton then held the license up to the driver's window, and proclaimed that if he could read the driver's license through the window, then it was legal.
The officer didn't pay attention to the city councilman's explanation of the law. As the officer was trying to explain the ticket to the driver, Michael Singleton got next to him and then verbally interrupted.
"If you want your job... If you want your job..." Singleton proclaimed without finishing.
The officer then ordered Singleton to leave the traffic stop. Singleton responded by yelling at the officer. Singleton then identified himself as the police commissioner. After a heated exchange, Singleton said, "Come Monday, you might want to resign."
The officer replied, "You are interfering with a traffic stop. Leave."
"You're not talking to me like that," Singleton said.
"Yes sir, I am."
Singleton then declared his position again, "I am your commissioner..."
The exchanged finished with the officer telling Michael Singleton that he would be seeking a warrant for his arrest.
The officer did exactly as he promised he would, and obtained a warrant for Singleton.
The warrant states, "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..."
In addition to trying to abuse this authority to coerce an officer, Singleton was dishonest about his actual position. The city says that Michael Singleton hasn't been on the police commission for a year.
Singleton later turned himself in and was booked on his warrant. He was released on $6,000 bail.
According to WISTV 10, Police Chief Scott Ward is backing his officer. "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.”
Rather than take responsibility for a mistake, Michael Singleton is choosing to continue being dishonest. He claims that some random citizen called him about the traffic stop, and he didn't know that the stop was on his family member or what the circumstances were. The dash camera video clearly shows that Singleton was aware of who was stopped, and the reason why. He's now calling this incident "racial profiling."
Despite the fact that the former police commissioner is well aware of how the police department is funded, he is lying to the media, claiming that officers are profiling citizens so that they can get paid.
Chief Ward said that Michael Singleton's claims have no basis in fact.
Michael Singleton isn't backing down, and he says that he will continue to question the town's officers. We'll see how well that works out at his trial.
Do you think that there's any excuse for this sort of behavior from a city council member? We'd like to hear what you think. Please let us know in the comments.
You can see the dash camera video below: