Greg Abbott, a Caucasian cop in Cobb County, Ga., notified his department last Thursday that he was resigning, after being threatened with termination after local TV station WSB-TV aired a video the previous day of him making some racist remarks. The footage came from the dashcam during his July 2016 traffic stop, on which he’s heard admitting to an apprehensive passenger, “Remember, we only kill Black people.”
Reports state that the 27-year police veteran had pulled over the car on “suspicion of driving under the influence.”
The video shows him approaching the passenger side, and then he is heard urging the woman to move the cell phone laying on her lap. She cautiously responds, “I just don’t want to put my hands down. I’ve just seen way too many videos of cops.”
He cuts her off: “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?”
She replies, “Right.”
During a news conference Thursday, Police Chief Mike Register stated, “There’s really no place for these types of comments in law enforcement.”
Abbott was immediately placed on administrative leave, and his termination was pending, before Cobb County Public Safety Director Samuel Heaton announced Friday that the department had received an email from Abbott the previous day requesting an immediate retirement.
“He was eligible for that,” Heaton told the media. “Once he retires, he is no longer employed, so no disciplinary action can take place. He is entitled to his retirement, which he would’ve received even if he was fired.”
Attorney Suri Chadha Jimenez, representing the driver of the car, suggested to WSB-TV that the cop was being sarcastic because the woman “gave him some lip.” Jimenez added, “It makes you cringe when you hear it. It’s unacceptable.”
An attorney for Abbott agreed, saying the cops’ comments “must be observed in their entirety to understand their context.”
Lawyer Lance LoRusso shared similar sentiments in a statement: “He was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger.”
But Register disagreed. “I feel that no matter what context you try to take those comments in, the statements were inexcusable and inappropriate,” he said, adding that he should’ve displayed more professionalism, especially because of his seniority.
Some contend that it’s been the same program for some time now.
“Although we applaud them for their transparency in this regard, the officer’s interjection of race into the stop was particularly troubling and may be systematic, a deeper issue in the department,” local NAACP head Deane Bonner stated.