A Georgia police officer has found himself at the center of a firestorm of controversy after shocking dashcam footage surfaced of the cop assuaging a nervous DUI suspect that officers “only kill black people.”
In the video, Lt. Greg Abbott of the Cobb County Police Department can be seen trying to calm an anxious suspect who was apparently too afraid to reach for her cellphone for fear that the cop would shoot her, WSB-TV reported.
“Remember, we only kill black people,” Abbott quips. “We only kill black people, right?”
It was not until an investigative reporter submitted an open-records request that Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register and his staff looked at the video, opening an internal investigation late last week; the incident apparently took place last year. Abbott was assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.
“No matter what context it was said,” Register noted of Abbott’s stunning remarks, “it shouldn’t have been said.”
Attorney Suri Chadha Jimenez, who is representing the woman who was stopped by Abbott, claimed that the officer was being sarcastic after her client got mouthy.
“It makes you cringe when you hear it. It’s unacceptable,” she said.
Abbott’s attorney, Lance LoRusso, offered up his own statement in relation to the case:
“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.”
Register claims that he was not made aware of any racial bias complaints against Abbott.