SC cop suspended after accusing mayor of fixing speeding tickets

By Jody Barr - bio | email

NORWAY, SC (WIS) - A Norway police officer has been suspended indefinitely after speaking out about the town's mayor having a judge drop two speeding tickets the officer wrote. Those tickets, according to the officer, were written to two of the mayor's friends. The mayor says she had every right to drop the tickets.

After our story aired Thursday night, officer Chris Moore was suspended by Police Chief Sean Hamilton.  Hamilton ordered Moore to park his car at town hall, and leave his badge, gun, and cuffs in the seat. Hamilton was hired recently by Mayor Cindy Williams.

Councilwoman and police commissioner Ann Johnson has called an emergency town council meeting for Friday afternoon to talk about the situation.

Moore is two weeks away from his one-year anniversary as a Norway officer. In that time, he's written more than 700 speeding tickets.

"The range I'll give someone is 10 over," said Officer Chris Moore. "If you're going 12 over or 15 over, you know you're speeding and that's not right."

But it was two tickets he says he wrote in September that's pushed him over the limit. "You want to make sure you don't write the wrong person because it's happening to where if you do, you get called in to the office and asked about a ticket that you wrote and they want you to take care of it," said Moore.

That's what Moore says happened the day he wrote one particular ticket. He cut the driver a break during the stop, knocking $50 off the fine. 

Moore says the mayor had the ticket in her hand when she came to speak to him. "She went on there to ask me, 'here's the ticket, pretty much take care of it,'" Moore recalled. "And I looked at her and told her, 'okay, you know, well I'll think about it and see what's going on because it's 15 miles over the speed limit on a secondary road where kids play.'"

Moore went to court on September 17, and found out the ticket was dropped. But he says he never approved dropping the charges. "I had full intentions of prosecuting them," said Moore.
Moore says he started investigating, and found it happened again on a ticket he wrote three days after the first one. He says he found the second ticket in Williams' desk inside town hall.

"This is the driver's copy," he said, showing us the ticket. "This is the one they get, this is the actual citation that I hand them on the side of the road. It would be weird for them to have this. They had to hand-deliver this to her, or mail it to her."

The mayor declined an interview about the tickets, but admitted over the phone that she had the charges against the drivers dropped. The mayor admitted the drivers are friends of hers.
Norway's police chief sent the State Law Enforcement Division a letter asking for an investigation. In the letter, Chief Sean Hamilton tells SLED the mayor didn't know it was a "no-no," and that the mayor says she "wouldn't ever do it again."

"She finally told me that she did noll pross the ticket and I was not asked, I was not told about the ticket, I was not told it was noll prossed," said Moore. "I mean, I was completely out of the loop."

"To take your hard-earned work that you worked on to write that ticket, and risked your life to come up to that car and write them a citation and have it thrown out, it's a little bit of a slap in the face," commented Moore.

Sled has received a request from Norway to investigate.

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