Officer Who Said 'We Only Shoot Black People' to Be Fired

Police chief calls statement 'inexcusable'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 31, 2017 5:49 PM CDT
Updated Sep 1, 2017 12:30 AM CDT
Cop Who Said 'We Only Shoot Black People' Fired
Screenshot of the dash-cam footage.   (WSB-TV)

A police lieutenant in Georgia who was recorded on video during a traffic stop saying "we only shoot black people" is being fired, the police chief said Thursday. Dashcam video from July 2016 shows a car stopped on the side of a road and a woman can be heard telling Cobb County police Lt. Greg Abbott she was scared to move her hands in order to get her cellphone. Abbott, who is white, interrupts her and says, "But you're not black. Remember, we only shoot black people. Yeah. We only shoot black people, right?" Announcing his decision to fire Abbott, Police Chief Mike Register remarked that "there's really no place for these types of comments in law enforcement," the AP reports. "No matter what context you try to take those comments in, the statements were inexcusable and inappropriate."

Register said he learned of the comments after television station WSB-TV obtained the video through an open-records request and made the department aware of it. Abbott, who had been an officer for 28 years, was placed on administrative leave while the department investigated the video. The report from the internal review indicates that Abbott was trying to be sarcastic and to address the situation as he perceived it, Register said, continuing, "I don't know what's in his heart but I certainly know what came out of his mouth. It's inexcusable." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that as plans to fire Abbott were being announced, Abbott sent an email to the county saying he was retiring. Commission Chairman Mike Boyce told the paper he wasn't sure how the email would affect the department's plans. (More police stories.)

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