A Georgia cop facing the ax for telling a driver he wouldn’t shoot her because she wasn’t black has announced his retirement.
“Remember, we only kill black people,” Cobb County Lt. Greg Abbott said on dashcam video obtained by WSB-TV. “We only kill black people, right?”
Footage the network obtained of the June 2016 stop prompted county Police to open an investigation.
Abbott pulled the sedan over on suspicion of driving under the influence and told a woman in the passenger seat to use the cell phone in her lap.
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The woman tells the 28-year police veteran she’s afraid to move her hands.
“I’ve just seen way too many videos of cops,” the woman says 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 woman, to which she says, “Right.”
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Chief Mike Register said the officer shouldn't have made the remarks.
Abbott was put on administrative leave before his chief announced Thursday afternoon that he had begun taking action to fire him.
“There’s really no place for these types of comments in law enforcement,” Police Chief Mike Register said at a news conference.
Simultaneously, Abbott sent an email to officials announcing his retirement, Commission Chairman Mike Boyce told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Suri Chadha Jimenez, an attorney representing the driver in the DUI case, said Abbott was likely being sarcastic because the woman “gave him some lip.”
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But that still doesn’t take away from the horror.
“It makes you cringe when you hear it,” Jimenez told WSB-TV. “It’s unacceptable.”
Abbott’s attorney said the statements were taken out of context and the veteran lawman was trying to defuse a confrontation.
Cobb County police Lt. Gregg Abbott is under fire for telling a woman that police "only kill black people."
“He was attempting to deescalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger,” lawyer Lance LoRusso said in a statement.
An internal police review also said Abbott was being sarcastic, though the police chief said that was not an excuse.
“I feel that no matter what context you try to take those comments in, the statements were inexcusable and inappropriate,” Register said, pointing out that Abbott was in a leadership role in the department.
Some questioned whether the lieutenant’s behavior spoke to something broader.
“Although we applaud them for their transparency in this regard, the officer’s interjection of race into the stop was particularly troubling and may be systematic, a deeper issue in the department,” local NAACP head Deane Bonner said.
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