It was July, 2016 when a police lieutenant in Cobb County, Georgia by the name of Greg Abbott pulled over a vehicle he suspected of Driving Under the Influence. The white woman who was sitting in the passenger’s seat appeared incredibly nervous and said she was afraid to move her hands in front of the police officer due to the fact that she’d seen “way too many videos of cops” – an obvious reference to numerous videos of cops shooting people and then falsely claiming their victims appeared to be reaching for a weapon. What Lt. Abbott said to the woman in response, perhaps trying to assuage her fears, only confirmed in the eyes of many what they’ve long suspected was an unwritten rule of police protocol.
“But you’re not black,” said the police lieutenant to the woman in dash-cam footage obtained by local Atlanta TV station WSB-TV2. “Remember, we only kill black people, right?” This was the very blunt question the Cobb County officer made to the white woman passenger during a DUI stop. And while many people are either outraged or embarrassed by the lieutenant’s words, others don’t see it as much of a revelation at all. Instead they believe it’s simply confirmation of what they’ve long known to be the truth. What’s more, Lt. Greg Abbott was apparently trying to go out of his way not to be put in the position of having to arrest the white woman passenger, despite the insistence of Abbott through his lawyer, Lance LoRusso, that the woman was being “uncooperative.” According to the defense laid out by LoRusso on Abbott’s behalf, Lt. Abbott “was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger. 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.” This is a stunning statement, considering how many times people of color have been arrested, brutalized or even killed for supposedly being “uncooperative”, be it Eric Garner or Sandra Bland. Lieutenant Abbott could have just as easily stated “We only arrest black people” and it would have been every bit as accurate.
One wonders, had this white woman been in the place of Sandra Bland when she was stopped in Texas in 2015, would she have ended up dead in a jail cell due to her supposedly being “uncooperative” like Sandra Bland? Probably not. After all, as Lt. Greg Abbott made perfectly clear in his own words, “We only kill black people.”