Cobb County Officer Who Said 'We Only Kill Black People' Retires Before Department Can Fire Him

Cobb County Officer Who Said 'We Only Kill Black People' Retires Before Department Can Fire Him

Lt. Greg Abbott's words were called “inexcusable and inappropriate.”

Published August 31, 2017

UPDATE:

The Cobb County police officer who was captured telling a white woman she had nothing to worry about during her traffic stop because "we only kill Black people" resigned Thursday after his department chief announced he would be fired. 

Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register told reporters the department was moving to terminate Lt. Greg Abbott for his “inexcusable and inappropriate” comments.

"I’ve known Abbott for a number of years, always perceived him to be an honorable man, and he made a mistake,” Register told reporters. “I don’t know what’s in his heart, but I know what’s in his mouth, and it's not appropriate.”

After the press conference, Abbott’s attorney, Lance LoRusso, told Buzzfeed News the lieutenant decided to retire.

LoRusso claimed Abbott, who was with the Cobb County Police Department for 27 years, was making an attempt to de-escalate the situation with sarcasm.

“You can hear that on the video. He was using her reasoning and statements, trying to get her to comply with his request that she call someone to get her from the scene,” LoRusso told Buzzfeed.

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The Cobb County Police Department in Georgia opened an internal investigation on Friday after video from an officer’s dash cam revealed he made disparaging remarks about killing Black people. 

During a traffic stop last year, Lt. Greg Abbott pulled over a white woman for a DUI stop. Due to the influx of videos showing police officers pull their guns on citizens, the woman was reportedly nervous to take her hands off the wheel.

In response to the woman’s anxiety, Abbott said: “Remember, we only kill Black people. We only kill Black people, right?” 

Police Chief Mike Register told Channel 2 Action News Abbott has been assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation. Register also said Abbott’s words were out of line and do not represent the department.

“No matter what context it was said, it shouldn’t have been said,” Register told Channel 2 Action News.

Suri Chadha Jimenez, an attorney representing the driver in the case, said he believes the officer made the sarcastic remark after the woman “gave him some lip.”

“It makes you cringe when you hear it. It’s unacceptable,” Jimenez told Channel 2 Action News.

Abbott’s attorney, Lance LoRusso, gave Channel 2 Action News the following statement:

"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.”

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: WSBTV News)

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