Georgia officer tells frightened woman that the police 'only kill black people'
An experienced Georgia police officer has been put on leave after footage has unearthed of him telling a woman that she wouldn't be shot because she wasn't black.
Cobb County police Lt. Gregg Abbott can be heard on the dashcam video, which has been obtained by WSB-TV, saying: "remember, we only kill black people, we only kill black people, right?"
Although the incident occurred sometime last year, the footage was only recently obtained by the network and has since prompted Cobb County police to open an investigation into the officer's conduct.
Abbott pulled the Sedan over for a DUI stop, and told a woman who was sitting in the passenger seat to use the cellphone that was sitting in her lap. However, the woman in questions tells the 28-year police veteran that she's afraid to move her hands, saying: "I've just seen way too many videos of cops," before Abbott cuts her off.
"But you're not black" he says. "Remember, we only shoot black people."
"All the videos you've seen, have you seen black people getting killed?" He asks the obviously frightened woman, who responds, saying: "Right."
Abbott has now been put on administrative leave until the investigation is over and Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register told WSB-TV that he was less than impressed with the what the officer said.
“No matter what the context it was said, it shouldn’t have been said,” he told WSB-TV.
Register continued, telling the channel that until this point, Abbott has been a quality officer and said that the incident happened before he became a police chief.
“We’re not making excuses,” he said. “We’re meeting this head-on and we’re going to deal with it.”
The woman's lawyer in the DUI case, Suri Chadha Jimenez , said that Abbott was likely being sarcastic towards her client as she had "gave him some lip" previously. However, that still doesn't take away from the fact that his conduct was wholly unacceptable.“It makes you cringe when you hear it,” Jimenez told WSB-TV. “It’s unacceptable.”
Unsurprisingly, Abbott's attorney has defended his client, saying the statements were taking out of context and that he was trying to gain control of the situation.
“He was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger,” lawyer Lance LoRusso told WSB-TV. “In context, his comments were clearly aimed at attempting to gain compliance by using the passenger's own statements and reasoning to avoid making an arrest.”
The International Association of Chiefs of Police gave the Cobb County department high marks for their community relations, even after this event had happened, although they did say that the department showed signs of discrimination and bias. Adding his final thoughts on the incident, Police Chief Mike Register said:
“We are going to keep going forward to make sure we, as a police department, service the community in a most professional way — all segments of the community.”
It remains to be seen what will happen to Abbott after this incident, but it's safe to say that given the rising tensions between ethnic minorities and the police in the US, this was a pretty stupid comment to make.