As scrutiny continues to grow over the language of a Georgia police officer, the driver's lawyer believes the cop's "We only kill black people" statement was a joke.
The New York Times reports Chadha Jimenez, the attorney for the driver pulled over by Lt. Greg Abbott, says the officer told a bad joke during the 2016 encounter. In police dash cam footage released this week, Abbott is seen speaking to a female passenger after the driver was presumed to be under the influence. After the passenger explained her fear over the traffic stop, Abbott is heard saying, “Remember, we only kill black people. We only kill black people, right?"
After viewing the footage, Jimenez says Abbott didn't mean any "malice" in the encounter. “From my perspective of the video, she was being truthful about her fear and the cop took it as a joke or an insult,” he said Thursday (Aug. 31). He also thinks Abbott “made a bad joke.”
Chief Mike Register of the Cobb County Police Department also admitted to seeing a sarcastic tone from Abbott in the video. He later called his behavior “inexcusable and inappropriate.”“I’ve known Lieutenant Abbott for a number of years, and I’ve always perceived him to be an honorable man. But he made a mistake,” Chief Register said.
Abbott's lawyer Lance LoRusso called the passenger uncooperative for sharing her thoughts on police officers. “He was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger,” LoRusso said. “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.”
Abbott is currently going through the termination process over the incident. He was veteran of the force for 28-years.