Alpharetta, GA – An argumentative 65-year-old woman’s arrest led to the resignation of an Alpharetta police officer on Friday, after the department’s chief of police blasted the officer’s actions on social media (video below).
The incident occurred on May 4, after 65-year-old Rose Campbell failed to maintain her lane while exiting the interstate, and nearly collided with an Alpharetta patrol vehicle, dashcam footage showed.
The officer initiated a traffic stop, and Campbell pulled onto the side of the road a short while later.
“Did you realize why I stopped you?” the officer asked, after he introduced himself to Campbell.
“Huh? No,” she replied.
The officer explained to Campbell that she had drifted into another lane while she was turning, and asked for her identification.
“I wasn’t going into the other lane,” she argued. “I was in the right lane.”
“Okay,” the officer replied, before he asked Campbell to wait in her vehicle while he went to run her information.
When he returned to Campbell’s window, he notified her that he had issued her a citation for failure to maintain lane, and provided her with court appearance information.
“I need a supervisor right now,” Campbell interrupted.
The officer told Campbell that he could call a supervisor to the scene, or that he could provide her with his supervisor’s contact information.
“Whoever’s on your shift, I need them now,” Campbell demanded.
“Okay,” the officer responded, as he immediately radioed for a supervisor to respond.
The officer then resumed explaining Campbell’s court appearance information to her.
“I just need a signature here at the ‘x.’ You’re not saying that you’re guilty of it,” he told her. He also told her that he would need to take her into custody if she refused to endorse the citation.
“Technically, a ticket is an arrest that requires a bond,” the department said in a Facebook post. “Officers are permitted, at their discretion, to release people on a signature bond for most traffic tickets, city ordinance violations, and certain state law charges.”
“If the violator refuses to sign the ticket, they will be taken into custody and brought before a magistrate to pay a cash bond as a promise to appear in court,” the department explained.
Campbell refused to sign the citation, at which point the officer repeatedly asked her to exit her vehicle.
“A ticket is saying that you gave me the information, at that I’m acknowledging it,” she told the officer.
Campbell refused to comply with the officer’s directives, and at one point insisted that she was going to leave the scene to go take her passenger home.
“You’re not free to leave at this point,” the officer told her.
Campbell then demanded that he give her a pen. She then grabbed the door, and struck the officer with it as she attempted to pull it closed.
“Get out of the car,” he said, as he reached into the vehicle.
“Stop!” Campbell suddenly screamed. “You’re in violation of my rights!”
She began hollering for a supervisor, and refused to exit her vehicle.
“You’re under arrest for disorderly conduct,” the officer calmly told her.
“No, I’m not!” she screamed back at him. “When your supervisor comes, I will step out!”
“No sir, no sir,” Campbell continued. “This is abusive behavior. Get your supervisor here. I’m being abused!”
Other units then arrived at the scene to assist the officer in removing Campbell from her vehicle, but the irate woman refused to comply while hanging onto her vehicle to prevent officers from removing her.
Officer James Legg ran around to the passenger side of Campbell’s vehicle, and turned the ignition off, while the other two officers attempted to release the woman’s grip on her seatbelt.
“I’ll come out for you,” she told one of the officers. “I won’t come out for him.”
Officer Legg then walked up behind the officers who were struggling with Campbell.
“Hey!” he yelled loudly. “You’re not in charge! Shut the f**k up and get out of the car!”
Campbell immediately stepped out of the vehicle.
“Who are you talkin’ to?” she asked him.
“You!” he yelled.
The other officers did not immediately handcuff Campbell, so Officer Legg “freed her from her grasp on the seatbelt” so she could be taken into custody, he said in a letter to Alpharetta Police Chief John Robison.
Campbell let out repeated high-pitched screams, as the officers led her away from her vehicle, and placed her into a patrol car.
On Thursday, Chief Robison suspended Officer Legg and issued a video statement regarding the incident. In the statement, he assured viewers that he “immediately ordered” an internal affairs investigation into the events that occurred.
He further vowed that there would be a “decisive and appropriate outcome” once the investigation was completed.
“There are aspects of this [dashcam] video...that simply do not represent who we are as an organization,” he added.
The chief posted the video on multiple social media platforms, and included a lengthy caption.
“During the incident, another officer arrived and, as you’ll see from the dash camera video, did not perform in a manner that is reflective of who we are as an organization,” the caption read, calling the officer’s actions “inappropriate” and “inflammatory.”
According to WSB, Officer Legg was placed on suspension, pending the outcome of the internal investigation.
On Friday, the veteran officer resigned, and issued a scathing letter to Chief Robison.
He noted that he believed he acted appropriately during his interaction with Campbell, and pointed out the numerous ways the elderly woman refused to comply and placed officers at risk of harm.
“At the time I arrived on scene, I saw officers unsuccessfully trying to effectuate the arrest of Ms. Campbell,” Officer Legg explained. “I did what was necessary to complete the arrest by raising my voice and using verbal commands using heavy control talk with profanity.”
“It worked instantly, and she exited the vehicle immediately,” he wrote.
“Maybe I should not have used profanity, but its immediate effectiveness is not questionable and I believe I acted reasonably under the circumstances,” Officer Legg argued.
Officer Legg pointed out that he and the other officers involved in the arrest had not even been interviewed prior to Chief Robison’s public condemnation of his actions.
“I do not feel I will get a fair internal affairs investigation from you due to the comments you made,” Officer Legg wrote. “Rather than let an independent agency or officer review my performance, you have all but issued a statement finding my actions unworthy, unreasonable, and in violation of policy.”
Officer Legg, a military veteran who has served the public for over two decades, said he would instead focus his attention on the Police Officer Standards and Training investigation.
“[I] will not subject myself to the investigation of an agency Chief who would rather care about public perception and political correctness over officer, suspect and the general public’s safety,” he concluded. “Effective immediately, and regrettably, I quit.”
You can watch dashcam footage of the incident in the video below: