UPDATED: 4:42 PM EST
On Thursday Cobb County authorities announced Lt. Greg Abbott would be removed from his duties as an officer, TMZ reports. The decision comes after Abbott was shown on dash cam video telling an unidentified woman that she would be safe because cops only “killed Black people.”
The incident occurred in July 2016 during a DUI traffic stop. Public outcry also helped to spur the decision as the video was shared and retweeted numerous times on social media.
A Georgia based officer is under fire after a dashboard video uncovered a terrifying traffic stop between him and a woman who feared for her life.
The video captures a stop which occurred last year after Lt. Greg Abbott of Cobb County told the woman she was safe because she was white and not Black.
“Remember, we only kill black people. We only kill black people, right?” Abbott can be heard saying on the video.
According to WSBV-TV, who obtained the video, the encounter was part of a DUI stop. Abbott prompted a woman in the passenger seat to use her cellphone to record, but then uttered the haunting phrase after the passenger refused.
“I’ve just seen way too many videos of cops,” the woman says.
“But you’re not black. Remember, we only shoot black people,” Abbott said. “All the videos you’ve seen, have you seen black people getting killed?” he continued.
“Right,” the woman says in response.
Authorities plan to open an investigation into the traffic stop and have placed Abbott on administrative leave, the outlet reports. Social media erupted at the video’s release and a statement from the women’s lawyer which said the lieutenant was being “sarcastic.”
Abbott’s attorney claimed his statement was taken out of context and asserted the officer was doing his best to de-escalate the situation.
“He was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger,” Lance LoRusso, Abbott’s lawyer, said in a statement to WSB-TV. “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.”
But, in the current environment of numerous deadly police shootings and state sanctioned violence, the officer’s words are no joking matter.
Cobb County Polie Chief Mike Register told WSBV-TV that Abbott would be taken to task for his comments.
“No matter what the context it was said, it shouldn’t have been said. We’re not making excuses,” he said. “We’re meeting this head-on and we’re going to deal with it.”