A lieutenant from a police department in Georgia is under investigation after a dashcam video obtained by Channel 2 Action News appears to show the officer telling a driver during a DUI stop, “Remember, we only kill black people.”
Lt. Greg Abbott of the Cobb County Police Department reportedly asked the driver to grab her cellphone, but she replies that she’s afraid to move her hands because she has “just seen way too many videos of cops…”
Abbott responds, “But, you’re not black. Remember, we only shoot black people. We only kill black people, right? All the videos you’ve seen, have you seen the black people get killed?”
The incident occurred in July 2016, and it was brought to light Wednesday after Channel 2 Action News’ open-records request on Friday.
Police Chief Mike Register said Abbott has been placed on administrative duties until the investigation is complete.
Lance LoRusso, Abbott’s attorney, told the station in a statement that the 28-year veteran is cooperating with the investigation, and that “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,” said LoRusso.
Suri Chadha Jimenez, a representative of the driver, said she believes the officer’s response was sarcastic because the woman “gave him some lip,” but nonetheless said, “It makes you cringe when you hear it. It’s unacceptable.”
Register, who was not police chief during the time of the occurrence, told Channel 2 that Abbott was a good officer and never had any racial complaints. He added that “no matter what context it was said, it shouldn’t have been said,” and that it is being dealt with “head-on.”