Police in Alpharetta, Ga. are investigating the arrest of a 65-year-old grandmother who was violently dragged from her car by police during a traffic stop gone wrong.
Shocking dash cam footage of the May 5 incident shows Alpharetta Police Department cop Michael Swerdlove attempting to forcibly remove Rose Campbell from her car after pulling her over for failure to maintain her lane, local station WSB-TV reported. Their encounter quickly escalated from there.
“All I felt was his whole body over me and I could feel the weight over me, grabbing at my belt,” Campbell told the station. “I couldn’t believe it. It was surreal. I didn’t expect that in America. I didn’t expect that in Atlanta. I didn’t expect that especially in Alpharetta.”
According to police officials, the incident unfolded after Campbell reportedly swerved into the officer’s lane, nearly causing a collision. That’s when Swerdlove stopped Campbell and cited her for failing to maintain her lane. The grandmother objected to signing the citation, however, saying she believed doing so would be an admission of guilt. She instead asked to speak to a supervisor.
In the video, the officer is heard asking Campbell to step out of the car, but she refused to open her door, saying she would not come out until a supervisor arrived. Moments later, Swerdlove is seen opening the car door and attempting to pull Campbell out.
The officer eventually called for backup, after which several other officers, including James Legg arrived to the scene.
“The officers who were responding clearly were not aware of what they were responding to,” department spokesman Howard Miller said. “ … The first officer that arrived to assist noticed that the driver they were dealing with was an older lady and didn’t appear to be threatening the officers when they arrived.”
After a while, Campbell agrees to exit her car. The footage then shows an unprovoked Legg start cursing and yelling at the grandmother before snatching her arm in a jerking motion.
Campbell can be heard screaming at the top of her lungs in fear. She later told WSB-TV she felt “violated” by the officers.
Alpharetta Police Chief John Robison issued a statement after viewing video of the incident, in which he confirmed Legg’s immediate suspension. Legg later resigned. It’s still unclear if Swerdlove faced any disciplinary action, however.
“As I was watching the video I had some major concerns about what I was seeing,” Robison said in a taped statement sent to WSB-TV. “There are aspects of the video…that simply don’t represent who we are as an organization. “Once a detailed investigation is completed, I can assure that there will be a decisive and appropriate outcome.”
Campbell has since retained a lawyer but said she hasn’t yet decided if she’ll take legal action against the department.