Updated: Saturday, May 12, 2018, 10 a.m. EDT: The Alpharetta Police Department released a statement Friday saying that the officer at the center of a police stop where an elderly black woman was dragged from her car has resigned.
Former Officer James Legg, who began his letter by saying, “I quit,” offered his side of the story, insisting that he acted “appropriately” and “reasonably,” but did concede that he should not have used profanity (i.e., cussed out an old lady) in the commission of his duties.
Meanwhile, the Alpharetta PD says it will continue its own internal investigation, in addition to announcing an investigation opened by the GBI.
An investigation has been started and an Alpharetta, Ga., police officer has been suspended after a traffic stop ended up with a 65-year-old woman being dragged out of her car.
On May 4, Rose Campbell was pulled over by Police Officer Michael Swerdlove for allegedly not maintaining her driving lane. When Campbell was issued her ticket, she refused to sign it, which is against the law in Georgia, and instead asked for a supervisor to be called to the scene, which is legal.
In an interview with WSB-TV, Campbell said she refused to sign the ticket because doing so would have been an admission of guilt.
“He told me he was giving me a citation for failure to maintain lane. I said, ‘For what?’ Everybody does that when a cop gives you a ticket; unless you’re wrong, you’re gonna ask why,” Campbell said.
After Campbell requested a supervisor, backup was called. It was then that the traffic stop took a turn.
“You’re not in charge; shut up and get the fuck out of the car!” Police Officer James Legg, the now-suspended officer, yelled at Campbell, video footage of the stop shows. Campbell was yanked out of the car; she says she couldn’t believe what was happening.
“Am I in a movie? Is this a movie? I couldn’t believe it. It was surreal,” she told WSB-TV. “I didn’t expect that in America. I didn’t expect that in Atlanta. I didn’t expect that, especially in Alpharetta.”
In a statement on Facebook, the Alpharetta Police Department’s public safety chief, John Robison, said that there were aspects of the stop that “do not represent our organization.”
“We strive to be a transparent department. If we are going to be 100 percent transparent, that means that we also must be willing to share with you any major concerns that arise regarding employee performance and behavior,” Robison said. “There are aspects about this video that simply do not represent our organization.”
It was this transparency that led to WSB-TV’s receipt of the video immediately after the station made a Freedom of Information Act request for it.
Campbell says that she doesn’t know if the officer should be fired or whether she is going to seek legal action, but she says she feels that better police training should be done.