Calhoun County Sheriff Steve Hinkley has fired a department deputy.    The deputy was one of two responding to a call recently to a rental housing complex in Springfield. The caller thought a man might have been illegally soliciting residents at Wyndtree Apartments in Springfield.  During the initial contact between deputies, the man refused to provide his identity. He was arrested for resisting and obstructing police. It later turned out he was trying to gather petition signatures to possibly form a tenant association.  Springfield has no ordinance against soliciting.  The man, 44-year-old La’Ron Marshall, who lives at that rental complex, has already received an apology from the department for the incident.  Sheriff Steve Hinkley came on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show ten days after the incident and acknowledged the department's mistake.

 “We hold ourselves to high standards of professionalism to the communities we protect. When we are right, we are right. When we are wrong, we admit we are wrong. On January 2, we were wrong”.

Springfield Man Arrested-Youtube
Springfield Man Arrested-Youtube

“Transparency and honesty to our community is the foundation to all of our success,” Hinkley continued in the statement.  “The conduct and actions of this case, in which Mr. Marshall was collecting signatures, does not represent our commitment to our community. The actions that Mr. Marshall took that day of circulating a petition are protected by our constitution. While some ordinances in communities, even within Calhoun County, prohibit vendors from selling items without a permit, no law—local, state, or federal—prohibited Mr. Marshall from exercising his constitutional rights on January 2. “

Marshall told Trace Christenson of the Battle Creek Enquirer, “Things need to change and that is a start. I am happy. It's messed up that he had to lose his job, but something has to happen."

Sheriff Hinkley said, “We are reviewing procedure, policies, and training to ensure our community receives the best service from our department”.

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