COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Atlanta Police Department said one of its officers showed what it calls an appalling lack of judgment when the officer broke quarantine and may have exposed a state trooper to the coronavirus.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher learned that officer should’ve been home when he was speeding down a local interstate.
The incident took place late Sunday along Interstate 75 in Cobb County.
Investigators told Belcher the APD officer was driving 130 mph in a red Challenger when a state trooper stopped him.
That trooper quickly learned that the driver was an off-duty Atlanta police officer.
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But what the trooper didn't learn until later, is that the officer had been tested five days earlier for suspected coronavirus symptoms and should have been in home quarantine.
Attorney Stephen Katz said the APD officer has legal liabilities, citing a ruling by the state Supreme Court.
“If you spread a contagious disease, then, you're going to be held liable. Of course, we have some issues of proof, but the officer is certainly liable,” Katz said.
Channel 2 Action News has learned the trooper was sent home Sunday night to avoid infecting any other troopers.
A reliable source confirmed the trooper is now in isolation for 14 days.
Katz says if the Atlanta officer was under orders to remain in quarantine, he could be prosecuted for violating his oath of office.
“By going outside of that and exposing the public to risk, he could well be held liable for a felony,” Katz said.
“This is very serious. The obvious, of course, is for the health of everybody. He shouldn't have been out. He should have been in taking care of himself,” said Vince Champion with the International Brotherhood of Police. “This is something that should never have happened.”
The state patrol told Belcher there is no incident report with this case because only a citation was issued.
Dashcam video of the incident is not available because the speeding case is still open.
We are withholding the names of both the APD officer and the state trooper.
Atlanta police sent a statement saying as soon as the officer is healthy and returns to work, the department will relieve him of his police duties and begin a disciplinary investigation.
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