A police lieutenant in Cobb County, Georgia, is under investigation after dash cam footage captured him reassuring a white female driver that he had pulled over during a DUI traffic stop that police officers “only kill black people.”
WSB-TV Atlanta reports that dashboard camera footage it obtained through an open records request shows Cobb County Police Lt. Greg Abbott making what the department deemed were “inappropriate racial comments” during a traffic stop last year.
In the video, the driver can be heard telling the police veteran of nearly three decades that she was scared to move her hands in order to get her cellphone because “I’ve just seen way too many videos of cops … ”
“But you’re not black. Remember, we only shoot black people,” Abbott can be heard saying. “Yeah. We only kill black people, right? All the videos you’ve seen, have you seen the black people get killed?”
Abbott was placed on administrative leave late last week after the department claims it was made aware of the video on Friday.
“No matter what context it was said, it shouldn’t have been said,” Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register told Channel 2.
Suri Chadha Jimenez, who is representing the driver in the case, said he thinks the officer was being sarcastic after the woman “gave him some lip.”
“It makes you cringe when you hear it. It’s unacceptable,” Jimenez said.
Abbott’s attorney, Lance LoRusso, gave Channel 2 this statement:
“Lt. Greg Abbott is a highly respected 28-year veteran of the Cobb County Police Department. He is cooperating with the department’s internal investigation and will continue to do so. His comments must be observed in their totality to understand their context. He was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger. 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.”
Cobb County commission chairman Mike Boyce also told Channel 2: “I have seen the video and obviously have great concerns. I find the comments on the video repugnant and offensive beyond measure.”