Cop resigns after dragging 65-year-old Black grandmother during traffic stop
By Susan Johnes
An ‘unqualified’ traffic cop has resigned from duty after harassing and attacking a Black 65-year-old grandmother without any cause. The incident took place May 5 at Alpharetta, Georgia, a majority White suburb outside of Atlanta.
Officer Michael Swerdlove stopped Rose Campbell for allegedly failing to maintain her lane. Swerdlove issued a ticket, but Campbell did not sign because she thought that her signature was admitting guilt. The woman instead decided to put an “X” as her signature.
Campbell asked to speak to Swerdlove’s supervisor, and soon Swerdlove called for back-up, and several officers arrived at the scene.
One officer, James Legg, began grabbing Campbell and dragged her out of the vehicle before putting her in handcuffs. He also yelled profanity at her during the traffic stop. The video of the arrest was captured on the police dash cam and created an outcry once released to the public.
Following the backlash, officer Legg resigned. But in his resignation letter, Legg said that he didn’t do anything wrong during the arrest except yell profanities.
After review of the video, Alpharetta Department of Public Safety Chief John Robison said he had “major concerns” about how Legg conducted himself.
The officer “did not perform in a manner that is reflective of who we are as an organization,” Robison said in a video posted to Facebook.
In a resignation letter submitted Friday evening, Legg said he “did what was necessary to complete the arrest by raising my voice and using verbal commands using heavy control talk with profanity.”
“I do not feel I will get a fair internal affairs investigation from you due to the comments you made on Facebook before interviewing any of the other officers, or even me,” he wrote in the letter addressed to Robison.
“I feel my decisions ended a volatile situation quickly with insufficient force and got everyone off the highway and back into service.”
The incident is another example of inadequate policing when it comes to Black citizens. There is a nationwide epidemic of Black people who have been mistreated, abused, or killed by police without justification.
“Ms. Campbell was complying with our officers, she was stepping out of the vehicle, there was no reason for officer Legg to interject himself verbally or physically,” said Alpharetta Department of Public Safety public information officer Howard Miller.
The Alpharetta Police Department and Georgia Bureau of Investigation have opened an investigation into the matter.