Georgia cop who said "we only kill black people" will be fired: police1:22
The Cobb County Police chief says a Georgia police officer who was heard on a dashcam recording during a traffic stop telling a woman that U.S. police "only kill black people" will be fired.
A US officer caught on camera telling a woman police “only kill black people” will be fired, the police chief said Thursday.
“I have known Lt. (Greg) Abbott for years and perceived him as honourable, but he’s made a mistake,” Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I don’t know what is in his heart, but I know what came out of his mouth. We recommend that he be terminated and we are moving forward on that.”
Lieutenant Abbott was recorded last month on dash-cam video making the controversial statement to the woman, who was a passenger in the car.
The woman told Lieutenant Abbott she was afraid to move her hands because she had “just seen way too many videos of cops…”
He responded: “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 Atlanta TV station Channel 2 Action News’ open-records request on Friday.
Police Chief Mike Register said Lieutenant Abbott has been placed on administrative duties until the investigation is complete.
Lance LoRusso, the lawyer of the male driver who had been pulled over, said he did not think the officer had “meant malice” and that he had “made a bad joke”, according to the New York Times.
Racial tensions remain high in the US after a spate of police killings of African-Americans, many of them filmed by eye witnesses. The killings led to the creation of the Black Lives Matter protest group.
Current US president Donald Trump has been blamed by some for stoking these tensions after refusing to condemn White Supremacist groups and encouraging police to use heavy-handed tactics.
Lance LoRusso, Lieutenant Abbott’s lawyer, told the station in a statement that the 28-year veteran is co-operating 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 Mr 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.”
Chief Register, who was not police chief during the time of the occurrence, told Channel 2 that Lieutenant 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.”