Georgia cops kept 13-year-old handcuffed in freezing squad car to get him to talk
iStock/Thinkstock(ROSWELL, Ga.) — Flipping a coin to decide whether to arrest a sobbing woman. Keeping a K-9 on the force after it repeatedly attacked a man despite its handler’s commands. And now, leaving a 13-year-old boy handcuffed in the back of a squad car in freezing conditions and then taunting him.
The police department in Roswell, Georgia, has grabbed headlines for the third time this year after body camera footage surfaced that showed an officer trying to “freeze out” a teenager to get information out of him.
The officer, Sgt. Daniel Elzey, was placed on paid administrative leave July 19 — six months after the Jan. 2 incident. Questions remain about what appears to be a pattern of inappropriate conduct on the part of the Roswell Police Department.
City administrator Gary Palmer wrote on July 25 in a Facebook post, after the body camera footage went public, that the series of incidents would be investigated by outside firms and that the police department would also conduct its own internal investigation.
“It is clear to me, the mayor and council and the chief of police that what you are seeing are symptoms of bigger issues; issues that we need to clearly identify and deliberately address as expeditiously as possible,” he said.
The police department has not commented on the incident involving the teen.
The January body camera footage involving the 13-year-old boy was first obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and then published online by the Roswell police on July 25.
In that video, a police officer, identified as C. Dickerson, came across a teen boy driving a golf cart down a highway, according to the report filed by the officer.
The boy, who had grass all over his knees and whose sweater sleeves were soaked and frozen, gave Dickerson conflicting answers about where he lived, how he got the golf cart and where his mother was, the report stated.
In the video, the officer detained the boy in handcuffs at the back of her police car and as the teen sobbed and said the handcuffs hurt, she tried to get him to tell her about a parent she can release him to.
As the night wore on and the officer became more and more frustrated with the boy’s evasiveness — “I’ve had enough. I’ve lost my patience,” she declared at one point — her sergeant, Daniel Elzey, stepped in.
He rolled down the windows of the squad car, asked her to join him in his own heated car and instructed the boy to “think on it for a few minutes” in the back of Dickerson’s open car.
“Let him get a little chilly. Maybe that’ll help,” he told Dickerson.
A little over 10 minutes later, when he went to check on the defiant teen, he told him, “You can take it? Cool. So can I. Because I’ve got heat in this car… If we can make contact with mom, then maybe we can get some heat going.”
“He’s freezing him out,” Dickerson explained to another officer out of view of the body camera.
In the incident report filed by Dickerson and published online, there is no mention of the use of cold as a coercive tactic on the boy.
The boy eventually gave the officers his mother’s contact information, and they left him with her, the report said.
Elzey will remain on paid leave pending the outcome of an administrative investigation, police said in a statement.
Elzey did not return an immediate request for comment from ABC News.
The Roswell Police Department has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently.
Shocking body camera footage from April this year showed police officers flipping a coin to decide whether they would arrest a driver who was pulled over for speeding.
As the woman, 24-year-old Sarah Webb, sat sobbing in her car, the officers used a coin toss app in their own car, amidst laughter, and later arrested her.
In reaction to criticism over the video, Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant posted a statement on Facebook on July 13, saying, “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.”
The two officers were fired last week.
In another video first published by Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA on July 18 and then posted online by the police department, a police dog attacked and bit a man who was complying with police orders. Despite being commanded to let go over 20 times, the dog refused to release the man’s arm. The incident took place in August 2016 but the dog was kept on the force, according to the police post.
“After this incident occurred, the K-9 was given additional training and has not had any incidents with following commands since the additional training,” the post said.
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