PETOSKEY (AP) – A Michigan man whose efforts to keep an eye on his community while wearing a Batman outfit landed him in court said he has good intentions with his crime-fighting work.
State troopers arrested Mark Wayne Williams, 33, on Sept. 29 because they said he refused to leave them alone while they searched for a driver who fled an accident. Williams was charged with resisting and obstructing police in an investigation.
“I don’t want to be a police officer. I think what police officers do is great, but it’s up to each person to take a stand and do something to make things better,” Williams told the Petoskey News-Review. “A lot of times, what I’ve seen from situations I’ve been in, people see something going on and think the police will handle it, but if nobody calls the police or takes a stand, it’s not going to help.
“Dressing up in my costume, as Batman, is my way of saying that it’s not up to the government to save us.”
Williams is due in court Thursday. Police said they arrested him in part because they didn’t want a tracking dog to follow him. He wasn’t carrying any dangerous weapons, but his costume and gear were confiscated, police said.
Williams said he dresses up as Batman and tries to go out every Friday and Saturday, and sometimes on Thursdays, with a partner who dresses up as Batgirl. They patrol from about 10 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., both on foot and in a vehicle.
John Calabrese, director of Petoskey Department of Public Safety, said there have been two occasions when Williams helped his department with information.
“In general, I don’t think it’s a good idea for someone to get involved unless we request it, but if people do have information, we appreciate it,” Calabrese said.
The criminal case isn’t Williams’ first brush with the law as the caped crusader. He was arrested last year after police received a report of a man dressed as Batman on the roof of a Petoskey business. When officers arrived, they found Williams, dressed as Batman and carrying a baton-type striking weapon, a can of chemical irritant spray and a pair of sand-filled gloves.
He pleaded guilty to one count of attempted resisting and obstructing a police officer and was sentenced to six months of probation during which he was forbidden to wear costumes, including his Batman get-up.
Williams said at the time that he never intended to harm anyone.
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