Police officer to be fired after saying ‘we only kill black people’

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A Rabbi carries a sign supporting Black Lives Matter at a rally, before marching to the Department of Justice during the 1,000 Ministers March for Justice in Washington, U.S., August 28, 2017. Reuters/Joshua Roberts

An officer from a police department in Georgia has been caught on camera trying to convince a white woman that she must not worry in the midst of a traffic stop because she was not black. That officer is reportedly being fired.

On a recorded clip through a dashboard camera, Greg Abbott of the Cobb County Police Department can be seen standing at the side of a car during a traffic stop. He told a passenger that she could use her phone.

The woman said she did not want to move her hands, and that she has seen “way too many videos” about how the police behave at traffic stops. The officer replied and pointed out that she was not black.

“Remember, we only kill black people,” Abbott was heard saying. The video was obtained by WSB Channel 2 Action News in Atlanta.

An excerpt from the interaction was published by WSB-TV this week. The video was obtained through an open-records request.

Chief Mike Register of the Cobb County Police Department said the officer’s comments were “inexcusable and inappropriate.” At a news conference, Register shared that he knew Abbott for many years now and that he has always perceived him to be an honourable man. This time, however, the former recognised that the officer made a mistake.

Register said the comments might have been made “from a sarcastic standpoint.” However, he believed they were inappropriate regardless of context. He added the department had started the process of firing Abbott.

He said the incident happened last year, before an International Association of Chiefs of Police report gave the Cobb Police Department a high community approval rating but also mentioned a perception of discriminatory and biased policing. According to Register, they have conducted a faith forum, training changes, precinct discussion groups and more in response to the report.

“We are going to keep going forward to make sure we, as a police department, service the community in a most professional way -all segments of the community,” WSB-TV quotes Register as saying. The recorded incident reportedly happened before he became chief.

Lance LoRusso, Abbott’s lawyer, released a statement, saying the veteran of the force was cooperating with the internal investigation, according to Channel 2. “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,” he said.

NBC News/YouTube