Two Roswell, Georgia police officers have been placed on administrative leave after an investigation by news station 11Alive found that they left the decision to jail a woman or not up to a coin flip.
Back in April, Sarah Webb was stopped by two officers—Courtney Brown and Kristee Wilson—for speeding on a rainy day. The two officers wanted to decide whether to give her a ticket and let her go or arrest her, and they flipped a coin in order to do so: heads, Webb was arrested, and tails, she was released. The 11Alive investigation obtained bodycam footage that shows the two officers using a coin flip app on one of their phones.
The body cam video shows one officer pulling over Webb and telling her she was driving recklessly. That officer returns to the police car, and tells the other the situation. The first officer admits she doesn't have any speed detection, and the other later points out Webb has no other tickets on her record. At around the 2:30 mark of the video above, one of the officers gets out her phone and the following exchange ensues, as transcribed by 11Alive:
Officer Wilson: “A (arrest) head, R (release) tail.”
Officer Brown: “OK (sound of coin flip app).”
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...”
Even though it appears to have come up tails, which, by the rules of their own game, would have meant Webb would have gone free, Webb is then handcuffed and placed in the back of the police car. When investigators contacted her and told her about the coin flip, she said: "Wow, these people put my freedom in the hands of a coin flip. That's disgusting."
On Monday, the prosecutor dismissed the case. "She said, 'I have watched the videos and I absolutely refuse to prosecute this case,'" Webb said.
Although the traffic stop occurred in early April, and the case was thrown out earlier this week, the police officers were only placed on administrative leave after 11Alive began their investigation. An internal affairs investigation is also being conducted.