Georgia police officer in dashcam video: ‘We only kill black peo - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Georgia police officer in dashcam video: ‘We only kill black people’

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A veteran police lieutenant in Georgia who was caught on camera during a traffic stop last year saying officers "only kill black people" is now under investigation, authorities said Thursday.

In dashcam footage from July 2016, first obtained by a local Atlanta television station, a white woman can be heard telling Cobb County police Lt. Greg Abbott that she was scared to put her hands down because she had "seen way too many videos of cops." Abbott, who is also white, then says, "But you're not black. Remember, we only kill black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right?"

Abbott, a 27-year veteran of the police department, has been moved to administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation, authorities said.

"No matter what the context, statements like these are unacceptable and are not indicative of the type of culture we are trying to facilitate here in the police department, as well as within the county," Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register said in a statement.

Abbott's lawyer, Lance LoRusso, said his client was cooperating with the internal investigation.

"His comments must be observed in their totality to understand their context," LoRusso said in a statement. "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."

The date of the incident was not immediately clear. It happened the same month that Baton Rouge police fatally shot Alton Sterling during a confrontation outside a convenience store and a suburban Minneapolis officer fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop. It also came in the wake of several other high-profile police shootings of black men, many of which sparked protests.

A study released in May of this year said Cobb County police must face up to public perceptions of racism and discriminatory policing. The study by the International Association of Chiefs of Police encouraged the department to keep track of what happens when officers interact with people of different races, "given the societal concerns over biased policing." 

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