We expect police to be ethical during roadside arrests. However, two Georgia police officers were recently terminated after using a coin flip to decide on a speeding arrest.
The two Georgia police officers were initially placed on leave after they used a coin flip to decide to arrest a woman accused of speeding during a traffic stop, the Washington Post reported. They were later terminated. Courtney Brown and Kristee Wilson, Roswell police officers, stopped Sarah Webb, in April. Reports stated she was going at least 80 miles per hour.
Media reports drew on body cam footage. According to the footage of the incident, Webb informed Brown she was tardy for work while she searched for proof of her car insurance.
Brown warned her she was risking other people’s lives, according to the body cam footage. Brown repeatedly reminded the driver of the slick road conditions because of rain on the roads.
Brown returned to her squad car. She discussed possible offenses. Brown was heard telling her colleague that she hit speeds of at least 90 miles per hour while pursuing Webb. Brown told Wilson that she did not have her speed detection on at the time of the traffic pursuit.
Brown reportedly asked Wilson whether the officers should just issue tickets to the speeding driver.
Media reports stated one officer opened an app on her phone for a coin flip. They said Webb would be arrested if it ended up as heads and released for tails.
The coin in the app ended up as tails. However, the driver was still arrested for speeding, according to reports.
Webb subsequently said she was not aware of the coin flip and the possibility that not being arrested was an option until she was contacted by WXIA-TV’s investigative news team two months later.
In July, Brown and Wilson were terminated from the Roswell Police Department.
Julie Brechbill, the community relations manager for the city of Roswell, confirmed the coin toss cost them their jobs to NBC News on Thursday.
In the termination letter, Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant said that both officers engaged in conduct that adversely impacted the efficiency of the police department and threatened to destroy public respect for the department or its employees.
The episode highlights how Georgia police officers on occasions fall short of the kind of professionalism we expect from them. If you are stopped for speeding or drunk driving, you should never assume police officers are following correct protocols. Our Georgia criminal defense lawyer can explain your rights and defenses. Call us at (404) 913-1529 for a consultation.