Over a year ago, on July 10, 2016, a routine traffic stop quickly took on racial tones that later became public. During his stop of a woman, Cobb County officer Lt. Greg Abbott was going through his typical routines when the woman began to show signs of distress. In the exchange that followed, the woman refused to reach for her cellphone. Although on the video she never states why, Lt. Abbott seems to pick up on her fears.
It’s how he comforted her that’s now become an issue with the police department. In calming her down, Lt. Abbott assured her by saying officers only killed black people. Although some claimed it was simply a way of trying to lower the tension, perhaps as a joke, the video has now become a lightning rod for criticism among the public. However, the drama surrounding the encounter may now be reaching a swift conclusion. Reports that emerged on Thursday indicated that Lt. Abbott was leaving the police force. However, what remains a question is whether he’s being fired or simply retiring.
At the same time that Cobb County’s police chief, Mike Register, was announcing plans for Lt. Abbott to be fired, Abbott himself was sending an email to let his fellow officers know that he would be retiring. This retirement would come after serving 28 years as a part of the city’s police force.
The timing resulted in confusion regarding whether Abbott was departing as a result of a firing or out of his own desires. Chief Register did acknowledge that Lt. Abbott had been given notice that there would soon be a proposal for his termination. From the timing, it seems the police department was giving Abbott the time to retire before the firing went into effect. This was acknowledged later by Attorney Lane LoRusso, who noted that Abbott made the decision to retire.
The announcement would seem to preempt any opportunity for him to be fired. When contacted, Cobb police officials confirmed that Abbott’s retirement had been accepted immediately. Whether this has any professional impact for Abbott was not discussed. However, at least for now, it seems to settle an issue that had been circling the Cobb County police force for the past two days.
[Featured Image by Chicco Dodi FC/Shutterstock]