(Update: Lt. Greg Abbott, the officer who said “we only kill black people,” is leaving the force. You can read more here.)
Dashcam footage of an officer telling a white woman not to be nervous because “we only kill black people” has gone viral, thanks to a Georgia ABC affiliate’s public-record request for the footage.
In the footage, you can see the officer, who has been identified as Lt. Greg Abbott, on the passenger side of the vehicle, which he has pulled over in a DUI stop. A woman in the car is heard saying she doesn’t want to move her hands because “I’ve just seen way too many videos of cops” — and Abbott cuts her off.
“But you’re not black,” he says. “Remember, we only kill black people. Yeah, we only kill black people, right? All the videos you’ve seen, have you seen black people get killed? You have.”
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) August 31, 2017
Cobb County police Chief Mike Register opened an internal investigation after reviewing the dashcam footage that requested by WSB-TV. Abbott has been placed on administrative duties, pending the investigation’s results. Register said that the incident took place in 2016, before he became police chief.
“The statement was made by an individual, and they are not indicative of the values and the facts that surround the Cobb County Police Department and this county in general,” Register told WSB. “No matter what context it was said, it shouldn’t have been said.”
A previous International Association of Chiefs of Police report gave the police department a high community approval rating, but did note a “perception” of discriminatory policing, the station reported.
Lance LaRusso, Abbott’s attorney, told WSB that the officer is “cooperating with the department’s internal investigation… His comments must be observed in their totality to understand their context.”
“It makes you cringe when you hear it,” said Suri Chadha Jimenez, who represents the woman in the video.
After the station posted the video, it garnered immediate attention from people who say it illustrates that some officers view killings of black people as a joke.
“Police officer tells woman ‘we only kill black people’ yet everyone is upset about Kaepernick kneeling,” one person tweeted.
“Have you heard the audio of the cobb county cop saying we only kill black people?? They come straight out and tell you black lives are jokes,” another said.
See below for more reactions.
Police officer tells woman 'we only kill black people' yet everyone is upset about Kappernick kneeling.
— TibetanWolf (@Robben1810) August 31, 2017
A cop really said We Only Kill Black People trump really got these people heads gassed up on 1000 pic.twitter.com/bsBNWG4gU7
— D.T. (@Darlene26811165) August 31, 2017
White officer used sarcasm about black death to reassure fearful white driver. "We only kill black people" not appropriate in any context. pic.twitter.com/nme6gmZ8om
— Wilkine Brutus (@wilkinebrutus) August 31, 2017
DUI stop. White woman afraid to move her hands. Officer says, "Remember, we only kill black people."
They don't even hide it now. ???? pic.twitter.com/UVLZkzxdsq
— Josh Sánchez (@jnsanchez) August 31, 2017
This is horrible. Don't try to justify it. Sarcasm? Foh! Not cool, period. https://t.co/GwNB1Qz6fw
— Keith Powers (@KeithTPowers) August 31, 2017
'We only kill black people' means you can shut the fuck up about Kaepernick kneeling. #BlackLivesMatter
— Music is My Sister (@TurnVinyl) August 31, 2017
Have you heard the audio of the cobb county cop saying we only kill black people?? They come straight out and tell you black lives are jokes pic.twitter.com/XBK3ckGyO9
— MightyLit (@mightYlit) August 31, 2017
Officer to white woman: "we only kill black people right?"
Is this not enough proof for you?
— Travon Free (@Travon) August 31, 2017