A U.S. police officer in Cobb County Georgia is in big trouble for shocking comments he made during a routine traffic stop.
Atlanta’s WSB-TV 2 obtained dash-cam footage of the interaction that took place between Lt.Greg Abbott and a woman he pulled over.
After the woman said she was afraid to move her hands, Abbott replied:
“Remember, we only kill black people. We only kill black people, right?”
Needless to say, both Abbott and the woman he pulled over are white.
In a statement from Abbott’s attorney, it was explained that Abbott was merely trying to “de-escalate the situation.”
Did he mean it as some kind of joke?
Black America’s relationship with law enforcement is no laughing matter.
The New York Times recently collected videos of 28 incidents in which police have used excessive force against blacks in the last four years.
Based on data collected by The Guardian, black Americans are more than twice as likely as whites to be killed by police. According to the Guardian, black Americans were killed by police at a rate of 6.66 per 1 million, as opposed to 2.9 per 1 million for whites in 2016.
So why? There are a couple of possible explanations and neither are particularly pleasant. One is that police are simply racist, the other is that blacks tend to live in neighbourhoods with higher crime rates, making them more susceptible to this kind of thing. Perhaps it is a bit of both.
It gets worse because the higher crime rate of black communities can be partly ascribed to the fact that blacks in America are actually afraid to call the police due to these highly publicized incidents. A 2016 study found that in recent years 911 calls from black neighbourhoods diminish after incidents such as these get media exposure. It’s a vicious circle.
From media exposure also comes civil unrest. We first saw it after the beating of Rodney King in 1992 led to the L.A. Riots. These days, the U.S has neo-Nazi’s clashing with protestors and a president who seems to side with Team White. Can we really call this progress?
Cobb County police have launched an investigation into the incident concerning Lt Abbott and it looks like he will be forced into early retirement.
Even if he does get the sack, the damage is already done.
Moments such as this further reinforce the fact that blacks in the U.S. receive unfair treatment from police. They also continue to rub salt into America’s deep, eternal racial wounds.