A lesson in escalation

The Alpharetta, Georgia police chief invoked the “this is not who we are” reaction to the latest display of police escalating a situation, releasing a video on Facebook that shows five police officers — all white men — wrestling a 65-year-old African American.

She wouldn’t sign her traffic ticket.

“As you’ll see, this was a complicated issue due to the age of the driver as the officer did not want to hurt her,” the chief writes on his Facebook page. “Back-up was requested and available officers responded to the scene, some of which responded to handle traffic control along Windward Pkwy.”

But there was one cop who “does not reflect who we are.”

May 4 traffic stop

Living up to our Standards On Friday evening, one of our officers made a traffic stop for a moving violation that escalated to an arrest of the driver. During the incident, another officer arrived and, as you’ll see from the dash camera video, did not perform in a manner that is reflective of who we are as an organization. The stop was made on Windward Pkwy near GA400 when our officer observed the violator’s vehicle drift into another lane nearly causing a collision. The encounter began normally until the violator refused to sign the ticket being issued. After being told that she would be arrested for not signing the ticket, she requested that a supervisor respond to the scene. A supervisor was immediately notified per the request. Why is it required to sign a ticket in Georgia? Technically, a ticket is an arrest that requires a bond. Officers are permitted, at their discretion, to release people on a signature bond for most traffic tickets, city ordinance violations, and certain state law charges. If the violator refuses to sign the ticket, they will be taken into custody and brought before a magistrate to pay a cash bond as a promise to appear in court. While a situation may arise when someone is charged with an offense that they feel is unjust, a courtroom is the time and place to dispute the officer’s decision. It is there that the officer must prove their case to a judge and/or jury. During this particular stop, you will see that the driver became so upset that she struck the officer with the door of her vehicle. She was then told that she was under arrest and, after she refused to obey the officer’s lawful order to step out of the vehicle, the officer attempted to physically remove her. As you’ll see, this was a complicated issue due to the age of the driver as the officer did not want to hurt her. Back-up was requested and available officers responded to the scene, some of which responded to handle traffic control along Windward Pkwy. One officer in particular; however, interjected himself into the situation using language and tactics that were inappropriate, even inflammatory. Again, this officer’s behavior does not reflect who we are as an organization and, because of this, we have initiated an Internal Affairs investigation. Our process allows us to thoroughly review the matter and determine what actions are appropriate moving forward.

Posted by Alpharetta Department of Public Safety on Thursday, May 10, 2018

“I just panicked. I felt like my heart exploded,” Rose Campbell, 65, tells a local TV station.

She she doesn’t think the officer should be fired.

The city won’t have. He resigned this morning.

“I feel I acted appropriately and the way that I was trained when I arrested Ms. Campbell,” he said in his resignation letter.

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] 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,” he said.

  • lusophone

    What’s the next step if profanity doesn’t work?

    • RBHolb

      Firing six-guns into the air, but it occurs to me that Yosemite Sam may not be the model for modern law enforcement.

  • Erik Petersen

    I think its perhaps only the willfully obtuse now who would deny that we have abysmal quality policing in this country at this time.

    Several elements of this abysmiality are top of mind… the trigger happiness, the brutality. The mundane excess of ‘command presence’ by all these b-string high school free safeties turned Barney Fife is worth some words. …Cops are dinks, generally.

    • After reading this, you may want to be careful about what you say about the police online: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/11/rakem-balogun-interview-black-identity-extremists-fbi-surveillance

      • Erik Petersen

        … I hear you…

    • Jim Hawke

      What an eloquent comment… unfortunately pitiful. Officers are more educated, exercise more restraint than at any time in history. To blame officers for all of these situations that make the news is, forgive the pun, a cop out. With approximately one million officers in the US, and millions of contacts each day these situations will happen..the situations I’m speaking of is non compliance by citizens who have been brain washed by the media into believing they have non existent rights (such as not signing a ticket). This situation became a media story because of a woman who chose to act like an idiot. Profanity was a useful tool in this situation, or maybe pepper spray or a taser would be better? Officers don’t have the luxury of walking away once a contact begins. Lastly, perhaps this officer actually saved a life by taking a potential “accident waiting to happen” off the road

      • Erik Petersen

        If we’re going to have a conversation, it would be useful you demonstrate how elastic your perspective is. I have my doubts your type ever acknowledges police misbehavior. Which does, in fact, exist. But go ahead, give us a critique of Jeronimo Yanez’ training and restraint as demonstrated when he killed Philando Castile.

        • Jim Hawke

          Last I heard the verdict was….not guilty. But if you choose to vilify all officers then that’s your “elastic perspective”. My type is I’m not a “Monday morning quarterback” having not walked in the shoes of many of these officers, I choose to wait for the facts. I will always believe that non compliance is the root of all of these media events. And until folks stop and heed force will continue to be used to effect arrests and protect officer’s safety.

          • Erik Petersen

            These conversations are somewhat predictable, which is why I prefaced my low expectations for elasticity of mind and high expectation for obtuseness among those who will excuse the police of anything and everything.

            Yes, Yanez was of course acquitted, as that’s how the jury felt the law needed to be applied. It remains fairly undisputed… at least among the non-obtuse… that Yanez killed an innocent motorist. He was fired for it, his municipality settled with Castile’s family for more than $3M, and the whole thing is regarded as an embarassment

            But yeah, he was acquitted. Touche.

          • Jim Hawke

            If you’re going to use big word in an attempt to impress, at least get some facts straight. Yanez actually was provided a buy out. Three million was nothing compared to the cost to defend against a frivolous law suit and repair the property damage caused by “protesters”. The City sold out in their best interest. The reason that the jury voted for acquittal is because, as you point out, they weighed the evidence and issued the appropriate verdict. Just because the defendants in these types of cases are police officers doesn’t mean they get special treatment. To the contrary, they are generally charged by a prosecutor to appease a few activists. Freddy Grey a fine example. Again, ignorant people look to social media to try these offers without the facts. It really is too bad the same media can’t convince people to comply with officers when they make contact. You have misjudged me, because I favor the justice system doesn’t mean I would support an officer no matter what the circumstances were.
            Good day, I appreciate your comments.

          • Erik Petersen

            Yanez was fired, alright… He wasn’t coming back, by choice of St Anthony. They did basically buy out his arbitration rights with the separation package. Don’t be… obtuse. He was terminated in a way that is not distinguishable from being fired.

            The city settled because the court claim was persuasive, not because it was frivolous. When you have to defend a frivolous claim in court, you don’ have to spend $3 million before its tossed out.

          • Jim Hawke

            Ah, but how much money does it cost to repair damages to the property of citizens, public property, overtime costs to try and control a riot. And let’s not forget the reputation of the City, $3 million was nothing, and of course paid, I’m guessing, by the City’s insurance company. We’ll never know what would have been. My opinion is based on no conviction, even for the lesser crime of manslaughter. Oh, as a side note, it was a separation agreement.

          • Erik Petersen

            You’re BSing, spitballing, and speaking from plain rube ignorance of relevant contextual facts.

            A city facing a litigation claim that’s subject of some public controversy does not strategically weigh the potential of riot damage cost from said controversy when deciding if they are going to settle. They have insurance to pay for that, just like everyone else has property casualty insurance. Get that point straight first, its not a matter of opinion, its fact.

            They settled because the Castile family had a persuasive claim to take to court, one that featured malfeasance of type that municipalities very often pay out for in 7 figure amounts. The chance SA was going to win a court case was very slim because of the relevant facts. That’s why they chose to avoid trial and settle at some semblance of a prevailing claim amount. Had very little to do with appeasing public outcry.

            Yes, duh, it was a separation agreement.. So they could get rid of him and make it stick without having him take it to appeal, which SA would have eventually won on merits, but it would have taken time. It equals, he was fired.

          • Jim Hawke

            Obviously you know more than this, at least in your view…so I’ll leave this my last comment…. “whatever”.

          • Erik Petersen

            That I know more is not a matter of self perspective. I do in fact know more.

  • AmiSchwab

    this ex-cop’s attitude and explanation shows that he should never be allowed to wear a badge again. what a piece of shit.

  • Angry Jonny

    I’d be interested in what particular tattoos those cops are sporting.