A police lieutenant from suburban Atlanta will lose his job after he was caught on dashcam footage telling a woman in a traffic stop, “We only kill black people.” A lawyer for Cobb County Police Lt. Greg Abbott said the comments “must be observed in their entirety to understand their context,” reports CNN. Abbott, a cop for 27 years, was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger, lawyer Lance J. LoRusso said. But Mike Register, Cobb County’s police chief, said that no matter the context, the statements were “inexcusable and inappropriate” and that he will lose his job. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Abbott sent an email to the county announcing his retirement as Register was announcing his termination.)
The dashcam video shows Abbott trying to talk a woman out of her vehicle so he can impound her car. Much of the conversation is inaudible. When he tells her to reach for her phone in her lap, she responds, “I just don’t want to put my hands down…I’ve just seen way too many videos of cops…” she continues amid the garbled crosstalk, prompting his response. “But you’re not black. Remember? We only kill black people. Yeah. We only kill black people, right? All the videos you’ve seen, have you seen (inaudible) people get killed?” Abbott’s lawyer said Abbott’s comments “were clearly aimed at attempting to gain compliance by using the passenger’s own statements and reasoning to avoid making an arrest.” Register acknowledged that Abbott may have been attempting to be sarcastic.