VIDEO: Officers On Leave After Using 'Coin-Toss' To Make Arrest Decision
Roswell, GA – Two Roswell police officers have been placed on leave after bodycam footage showed them using a coin-toss phone app to decide whether or not to arrest a woman for reckless driving (video below).
The incident occurred in on April 7, when Roswell Officer Courtney Brown spotted a vehicle traveling approximately 85 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone, NBC News reported.
Officer brown initiated a traffic stop on the black 2005 Mercury Sable, which was being driven by 24-year-old Sarah Webb, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“You know how fast you were just going, ma’am?” Officer Brown asked Webb as she stood inside the woman’s open driver’s door, bodycam footage showed.
“I’m so sorry, I’m late for work,” Webb said, rifling through her purse.
“So you can go over 80 miles per hour?...No, ma’am,” Officer Brown told her.
She then requested Webb’s driver and vehicle information and told the woman to shut off her vehicle and pass her the keys.
“The ground’s wet, it’s been raining, you’re going over 80 miles an hour on this type of a road – that’s reckless driving, ma’am,” Officer Brown pointed out.
Officer Brown returned to her patrol vehicle to run Webb’s information.
“I’m gonna take her probably for reckless,” Officer Brown told Officer Kristee Wilson when she arrived at the traffic stop. “She flew past me going probably 80-85…I had to get up to 90 to catch her. What do you think?”
She noted that she didn’t have any speed detection to verify Webb’s rate of travel, but Officer Wilson pointed out that Officer Brown’s camera would show the speed her car was going as Webb passed her.
The two officers discussed the wet roadway and the risk Webb posed to herself and others.
“I mean, that’s unacceptable,” Officer Brown said, adding that she told Webb she should have called her boss to say she would be late. “Do not [speed] and put people’s lives at risk.”
“What do you think?” she asked Officer Wilson again. “Just tickets?”
Officer Brown then opened a coin-flip application on her phone, FOX News reported.
“A [arrest] head, R [release] tail,” Officer Wilson said.
“Okay,” Officer Brown replied.
“This is tails, right?” Officer Wilson asked her.
“Yeah,” Officer Brown confirmed. “So, release?”
“Twenty-three,” Officer Wilson corrected – giving her the radio code for arrest.
Officer Brown returned to Webb’s vehicle to take her into custody.
“Why am I being arrested?” she asked the officer.
“Because, ma’am, you were driving entirely too fast for conditions,” Officer Brown explained. “You put a lot of people’s lives in jeopardy, okay?”
Webb was charged with reckless driving, speeding, and driving too fast for conditions, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Although she was lawfully arrested, Webb was unaware that a coin-toss app was used to help determine whether she would be cited and released or taken into custody until she was notified of the bodycam footage by WXIA.
Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant said he was unaware of the circumstances of Webb’s arrest until just prior to July 4, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
He said he immediately placed Officer Brown and Officer Wilson on paid administrative leave and launched an internal investigation into the incident.
“This behavior is not indicative of the hard-working officers of the Roswell Police Department,” Chief Grant told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday. “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.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” the chief told NBC News. “This isn’t a police procedure, to bring a coin flip…that’s not part of that decision making to decide to take someone’s freedom.”
On July 9, the charges against Webb were dismissed, WXIA reported.
“I think they should be fired,” Webb told FOX News. “I don’t think at all that they should be getting a paid vacation.”
You can watch bodycam footage of the traffic stop in the video below: