FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - An Alpharetta Police officer involved in arresting a 65-year-old woman during a traffic stop has officially resigned after a video of the incident was released.
Alpharetta Public Safety Chief John Robinson said aspects of the video, "simply do not represent who we are as an organization, upon reviewing the video I immediately ordered an internal affairs investigation be opened on the incident." The department has also asked the GBI to investigate in the interest of further transparency.
The grandmother and Lyft driver who was arrested, Rose Campbell said she is a Christian woman and initially wanted the officers disciplined, not fired. Mrs. Campbell said in a news conference Friday afternoon that she has had a change of heart on that.
"Now I cannot trust. Now I can't trust a blue light. I can't trust it. It has just damaged me. It hurt me. It has left something in my soul I will never forget," the Sandy Springs grandmother remarked.
Alpharetta Police Officer James Legg submitted his resignation Friday afternoon. Officer Legg wrote in his resignation letter that he acted appropriately and followed the way he was trained.
Some members of the state’s legislative black caucus said they want the officers charged with assault and they will not rest with one resignation.
Rose Campbell was stopped by police on May 4 on Windward Parkway for failure to maintain a lane. When she refused to sign the citation, the video showed things beginning to escalate. Campbell did ask for a supervisor.
The responding officer tried to get her out of the car and arrest her for disorderly conduct. A short time later multiple backup officers arrived.
In the video, Campbell is shown screaming for help while she is being arrested.
Campbell, her attorney, and Georgia State Representatives held a press conference Friday afternoon in Downtown Atlanta discussing the incident.
Former Officer James Legg's full letter of resignation reads as follows:
Dear Chief Robison,
Effective immediately, and regrettably, I quit.
Since 1995, I have dedicated myself to public service. As you know, I retired from the military and served in law enforcement in Florida before moving to Georgia. Unfortunately, an incident on May 4, 2018 led me to write this letter to you.
I feel I acted appropriately and the way that I was trained when I arrested Ms. Campbell. As you saw on the video, Ms. Campbell almost drove into another Alpharetta police officer. She was lawfully stopped for failing to maintain her lane. Although she denied the traffic violation, the officer issued her a ticket. Due to her behavior on the side of the road, and after noticing the car had dark tint and there was someone in the backseat, the officer asked her to get out and at some point advised she was under arrest. Ms. Campbell did not obey a lawful command. The officer was unable to subdue the driver and requested for backup officers to come to his location. Numerous Alpharetta police officers arrived, including me.
At the time I arrived on scene, I saw officers unsuccessfully trying to effectuate the arrest of Ms. Campbell. Also, I noticed the vehicle was still running and from my experience, I considered the vehicle to be a possible weapon, so I neutralized it by turning it off. There are uncounted incidents of officers being dragged down the street by motorists who are being arrested. The officers were still not able to complete the arrest of Ms. Campbell as she was still in the vehicle and holding on to the seatbelt. I did what was necessary to complete the arrest by raising my voice and using verbal commands using heavy control talk with profanity. It worked instantly and she exited the vehicle immediately! When the other officers did not immediately restrain and handcuff her I then freed her from her grasp on the seatbelt and she was escorted to the police vehicle. All force ceased and the arrest was now over. I judged her actions to be passive resistance and used very limited force to end a multiple minute encounter with the suspect.
Maybe I should not have used profanity, but its immediate effectiveness is not questionable and I do believe I acted reasonably under the circumstances.
I do not feel I will get a fair internal affairs investigation from you due to the comments you made on Facebook prior to interviewing any of the other officers, or even me. Rather than let an independent agency or officer review my performance, you have all but issued a statement finding my actions unworthy, unreasonable, and in violation of policy. I will justify my actions when given the opportunity to do so through a POST investigation, but will not subject myself to the investigation of an agency Chief who would rather care about public perception and political correctness over officer, suspect and the general public’s safety. I remind you that I did not make the traffic stop, did not begin the use of force, did respond with emergency equipment, did properly analyze the situation, did render the vehicle, safe, did get the suspects attention and out of the car, did effectively get her detached from the seatbelt, and did get her handcuffed with limited force. The encounter had been going on with multiple officers responding with emergency equipment leaving the general public unprotected while the encounter continued. In conclusion, I feel my decisions ended a volatile situation quickly with very limited force and got everyone off the highway and back into service.