News World ‘We only kill black people,’ police officer tells driver at traffic stop

‘We only kill black people,’ police officer tells driver at traffic stop

Police officer says "we only kill black people"
A screen shot from the officer's dash camera. Photo: YouTube
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

A United States police officer who assured a woman he had pulled over that she had nothing to worry about as police “only kill black people” has lost his job over the incident.

Television station WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News in Atlanta, Georgia, obtained the video showing Lieutenant Greg Abbott of the Cobb Country Police Department making the remark during a traffic stop.

In the footage, Lieutenant Abbott is seen standing alongside the car and instructing a woman in the front passenger seat to make a call using the mobile phone resting in her lap.

“It’s in your lap right there,” he says.

She replies that she does not want to move her hands, adding she has seen “way too many videos” showing how police behave at traffic stops.

“But you’re not black,” Lieutenant Abbot replied. “Remember, we only kill black people. Yeah. We only kill black people, right?”

 The New York Times reported that the police department in Georgia fired the officer, while his lawyer claims he resigned after authorities sought the officer’s dismissal.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon (US time), Cobb Country Police Department Chief Mike Register said he didn’t know what was in the officer’s heart, but was certain the comments were “inexcusable and inappropriate”.

“I’ve known Lieutenant Abbot for a number of years, and I’ve always perceived him to be an honourable man. But he’s made a mistake,” Chief Register said, adding the department had begun the process of firing him.

The president of the Cobb County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Ben Williams, praised the police department’s decision at the news conference.

“There will be other instances of police misconduct,” he said. “But we have hope here in Cobb that we have a chief and leadership that is serious about bringing this department to be one of the better ones in the nation.”

The traffic stop took place on July 10, 2016, about 3am on the Interstate highway 75 near the city of Marietta in Georgia.

In an interview with The New York Times on Thursday (US time), the driver’s lawyer, Surinder Chadha Jiminez said the male driver was pulled over on the suspicion he was driving under the influence of alcohol before having the conversation with the unidentified woman.

Mr Chadha Jimenez said he had watched the video to prepare for his client’s case and said it appeared the officer “didn’t like the way” the woman spoke to him while conducting the arrest.

“They kept going back and forth,” he said.

“From my perspective of the video, she was being truthful about her fear, and the cop took it as a joke or an insult,” he said.

He added he didn’t think the officer had “meant malice” and that the comments were a “bad joke”.

In a statement Lieutenant Abbot’s lawyer, Lance LoRusso said the officer had 28 years of experience with the force and was cooperating with the internal investigation.

“He was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger,” Mr LoRusso said.

“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.”

The driver was later convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Several videos in recent years have shown US police officers killing unarmed black people during encounters, sparking debate about excessive use of force and racial disparities in the US criminal justice system.

– with AAP

View Comments