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Sheriff apologizes; Black man getting signatures arrested

SPRINGFIELD, Mich. (AP) — A Black man who was arrested while collecting signatures to form a tenant organization in his neighborhood said authorities have apologized and don’t plan to pursue charges.

La’Ron Marshall of Springfield said he met with the Calhoun County sheriff and undersheriff Saturday.

“I was not doing anything illegal,” Marshall said. “I was trying to collect signatures to bring the community together as a collective and trying to see what we could do in keeping the community safe.”

Marshall was arrested Jan. 2 and spent a night in jail after someone called the sheriff’s department to report a suspicious person. A deputy, one of two at the scene, told him he was soliciting without a permit, according to a video recording.

“Soliciting what?” Marshall asked.

“Whatever you’re soliciting,” a deputy said.

Sheriff Steve Hinkley said a deputy, who was placed on leave, was mistaken.

“It appears he may have been acting on ordinances that were valid in other communities and not this particular community,” Hinkley said last week.

Marshall believes he was racially profiled.

“Things need to change. Especially with what’s going on all around the country. It’s just crazy,” Marshall said. “As a Black man, a Black and native man, I’m tired of being looked at in a certain way.”

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