Police in Georgia are reeling after a new video has surfaced showing one of their own making a statement that has not only sent shivers down the spines of law enforcement, but also the black community countrywide. The video shows a veteran police lieutenant caught on a police camera during a routine traffic stop in 2016 telling the driver he pulled over that police “only kill black people.” The Georgia police lieutenant is now on administrative duty while he is under investigation, according to authorities.
An Atlanta television station was the first to obtain the dash cam footage taken during the July 2016 traffic stop. In the video, a woman, who is white, was pulled over by Cobb County Police lieutenant Greg Abbott, is afraid to put her hands down while sitting in her car. Abbott is telling the woman what is going to happen, that she is going to be arrested and her car impounded. He tells her to call whoever she needs, but she won’t, saying that she is too scared to put down her hands because of all the videos she had seen of cops. Abbott, also white, says to the woman, “But you’re not black. Remember, we only kill black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right?”
Mike Register, Police Chief of Cobb County, said that in no way are the statements made by Abbott acceptable. They are not the type of culture he and other officers are facilitating at the Cobb County police department or in the community they serve.
According to Lance LoRusso, Abbott’s lawyer, the lieutenant is fully cooperating with the investigation. In a statement, LoRusso said that Abbott’s comments should be seen in their totality. The video is allegedly taking his comments out of context. He states that Abbott was trying to de-escalate the situation. He said the passenger in the car was uncooperative and he was trying to get her to follow instructions by using her own statements to calm her down and avoid having to make an arrest.
According to NBC, the date the incident took place was not clear. It did take place the same month that a suburban Minneapolis police officer shot and killed Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop, and the same month that police in Baton Rouge shot and killed Alton Sterling outside of a small store during a confrontation. Both of those shootings and in the wake of other high-profile shootings involving police and black men had sparked protests nationwide.
In May of this year, a study was released sarong that Cobb County police must face the reality the the public perceives them as racist and that their policing is discriminatory. The study, completed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, have encouraged the Cobb County, Georgia police department to track officers interactions with individuals from different races. They want to be able to diffuse any volatile situation that could come from the color of the skin of officers and the public prior to it erupting into something larger and unnecessary.
Check out the video of the incident below. What do you think? Share your comments below.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Cobb County Police Facebook