Video: Cops Used Coin-Flip App to Decide Woman's Fate

2 Georgia officers suspended after body cam video shows them laughing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2018 6:59 AM CDT

Heads, you're under arrest. Tails, you're free to go. Body camera video shows Georgia police officers laughing as they use a coin-flip app to decide whether to detain a woman during a traffic stop in April, reports the AP. The video shows Roswell police Officer Courtney Brown asking Sarah Webb whether she knew how fast she was going. Webb apologizes, saying she was late for work, and Brown tells her to turn off the car and hand over her keys. Brown returns to her car to consult with fellow officers about whether to arrest Sarah Webb or just give her a ticket. Brown says she didn't record the actual speed at which Webb had been driving, though CNN notes that she was estimated at 80mph in a 40mph zone. Brown then says "Hold on," as she opens a coin-flip app on her phone. Officer Kristee Wilson suggests heads should mean arrest and tails should mean release. Brown agrees.

"This is tails, right?" Wilson asks. "Yeah, so release?" Brown responds. But then Wilson suggests a police code for arrest, and the two laugh. The officers decide to charge Webb with going too fast for conditions and reckless driving. Brown then arrests Webb, handcuffing her and putting her in the back of a patrol car; she spent the day in jail. Police Chief Rusty Grant said Friday that he started an internal investigation and put the two officers on administrative leave. "I have much higher expectations of our police officers and I am appalled that any law enforcement officer would trivialize the decision making process of something as important as the arrest of a person," he said. WXIA-TV reports the charges against Webb were dropped. Webb said she didn't know that her fate had relied on a coin toss until the TV station contacted her. "Wow, these people put my freedom in the hands of a coin flip," she said. "And that's disgusting."

(Read more coin toss stories.)

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