“Heads, you’re released and tails you go to jail.” That’s what one cop told her partner about suspect at a traffic stop back in April. Now video of the stop has gone public and the the two officers involved have surrendered their guns and badges while their actions are being investigated.
The two Roswell, Georgia police officer stopped Sarah Webb for speeding. When they stopped Webb, though, Officer Courtney Brown added a charge of reckless driving. The pavement was wet, she argued.
“What do you think?” Brown asked Officer Kristee Wilson. Their exchange was caught on camera.
Brown didn’t have an official calculation of Webb’s speed. She was also out of tickets. So Brown opted for a coin toss of sorts. She opened an app on her phone that simulated the flip of a coin.
11 Alive, a news agency in Atlanta, published the conversation.
Officer Wilson: “A (arrest) head, R (release) tail.”
Officer Brown: “OK (sound of coin flip) laugh.”
Officer Wilson: “This is tail right?”
Officer Brown: “Yeah. So release?”
Officer Wilson: “23 (code for arrest).”
Officer Brown: “Michael Jordan? (laugh). Alright, so I’ve got too fast (laugh) for conditions, reckless..”
Webb wasn’t aware of this, though. She was in the back of the car, handcuffed. The coin toss seems to have been a joke between the two officers, as they ignored the result and arrested her anyhow.
Yet the investigators contacted her about the incident and informed her of the conversation.
“Wow, these people put my freedom in the hands of a coin flip,” she said. “And that’s disgusting.”
Webb went to court Monday in Roswell and the charges against her were thrown out. The prosecutor even spoke to Webb and made her intentions clear.
“She said, ‘I have watched the videos and I absolutely refuse to prosecute this case’,” Webb told 11 Alive.
An internal investigation is underway. The officers were not placed on leave until after the video surfaced.
On Friday, Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant issued a statement:
“On April 7, 2018, Roswell Police Officers Courtney Brown and Kristee Wilson made an arrest subsequent to a traffic stop. Brown apparently based her decision to arrest the violator on a coin toss app that was on her cell phone. After I became aware that this incident occurred, I immediately initiated an internal investigation into the matter. I then placed both officers on administrative leave. Since this is an open internal investigation,I cannot discuss the details of the incident until the conclusion of the investigation. This behavior is not indicative of the hard working officers 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.”