Lt. Greg Abbott, the Georgia police officer who was filmed telling a white woman she need not be worried during a traffic stop because “we only kill black people,” has retired from the police force after learning he would be fired.
Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register announced on Thursday that he would fire Lt. Greg Abbott for his “inexcusable and inappropriate” behavior. Lance LoRusso, Abbott’s lawyer, told BuzzFeed News that upon learning that he would be fired, Abbott made the decision to retire.
"I’ve known Abbott for a number of years, always perceived him to be an honorable man, and he made a mistake,” Register said. “I don’t know what’s in his heart, but I know what’s in his mouth, and it's not appropriate.”
Surinder Chad Jimenez, the lawyer representing the driver of the vehicle, explained that the woman in the passenger’s seat was afraid to move her hands. The driver of the car, who is male, is Latino, and she is Greek and identifies as a minority.
This traffic stop in Georgia occurred on July 10, 2016, just days after Philando Castile was killed in Minnesota also during a traffic stop. His death was live streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend, who was sitting next to him in the car. The officer who shot Castile did so after Castile moved his hands to retrieve his wallet and ID.
The police officer who shot and killed Philando Castille was named Jeronimo Yanez. Yanez was charged with second-degree murder and two counts of reckless discharge from a fire arm. He was found not guilty on all counts in June.
“I'm sure that was in the back of her head when this was going on," Jimenez said. "It’s not an irrational fear. Minorities are scared when they are pulled over.”
“My client and the passenger was afraid there would be some retaliation after this came out, but they are glad it’s out there,” Jimenez continued. “It brings exposure and awareness to what many minorities feel when they interact with police."
According to data collected by The Guardian, black Americans are killed by police at a rate of 6.66 per million, which is more than twice the rate of white Americans, who are killed by police at a rate of 2.9 per million.