ROSWELL, Ga. – Two Georgia police officers have been placed on leave after video showed them using a coin-toss app before determining whether to arrest a woman caught speeding in April, and the police chief said he is “appalled” by the move.
So were they serious, or was it a case of inane humor caught on camera? Regardless, unless there are revelations to the contrary, the episode appears to be an embarrassment for the agency.
“Why am I being arrested?” Sarah Webb is heard saying to Officer Courtney Brown in the bodycam footage posted by WXIA, which first reported the story.
Webb, who said Friday she was speeding because she was late for her job at a hair salon, was arrested on charges of speeding, reckless driving and driving too fast for conditions, according to police records. However, on Monday a prosecutor dismissed the charges, NBC News reported.
In the video posted by WXIA, Brown and another officer, Kristee Wilson, are heard discussing what they should do with Webb. Reportedly, Brown says that she doesn’t have speed detection equipment and Wilson says she doesn’t have any tickets.
The officers used the terms “A” or arrest for heads, and “R” for release for tails, according to the station. The video audio appears to show Wilson say “This is tail right?,” Brown says, “Yeah. So release?” and then Wilson says “23,” or a police code for arrest, WXIA reported.
“These are people who are supposed to protect us, and instead are treating our freedom and our lives like games,” Webb, 24, told NBC News in a phone interview Friday. “It’s disgusting. It’s scary to think police officers do stuff like this.”
Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant said that both officers have been placed on administrative leave and an internal investigation has been launched.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, to be honest,” Grant told NBC News of the video. “It was appalling.”
“This isn’t a police procedure, to bring a coin flip — whether it’s an app or an actual coin toss — that’s not part of that decision making to decide to take someone’s freedom,” Grant said.
Webb said she didn’t know the officers used the coin-toss app before arresting her until she was contacted by WXIA three weeks before her court date.
In a police arrest report, Brown wrote that she was on patrol on April 7 when a vehicle sped past her. As a result, she estimated the car was traveling around 85 mph in a 45 mph zone before it was pulled over, according to her report.
Grant told NBC News that the two officers were put on administrative leave within a few days after he learned about the video.
In a statement to WXIA, Grant said that the officer’s behavior is not representative of the standards of the Roswell Police Department.
“I have much higher expectations of our police officers and I am appalled that any law enforcement officer would trivialize the decision making process of something as important as the arrest of a person,” he said.
Webb said she’s not satisfied with the officers being put on administrative leave, which she called “a paid vacation.”
“I would like to see them fired, because they shouldn’t have been playing with my freedom on a flip of a coin,” she said.