“No matter what context it was said, it shouldn’t have been said,” Chief Mike Register of the Cobb County Police Department told the television station in an interview. Calls to his office on Thursday were not returned.
The police in Cobb County, which is northwest of Atlanta and is Georgia’s third most populated county, with about 741,000 people, have come under scrutiny for race relations in the past. A report by the International Association of Chiefs of Police gave the department a high community approval rating, but also mentioned a perception of discriminatory and biased policing, WSB reported.
The traffic stop took place on July 10, 2016, at about 3 a.m. on Interstate 75 near Marietta, the county seat. The male driver was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, his lawyer, Surinder Chadha Jimenez, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. The woman was a passenger in the car, he said.
Mr. Chadha Jimenez said he had watched the video to prepare for his client’s case. He said that it appeared the officer “didn’t like the way” the woman was talking to him during the arrest of the man, and that “they kept going back and forth.”
“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. He added that he did not think the officer had “meant malice” and that he had “made a bad joke.”
“The Cobb County police are addressing it appropriately,” Mr. Chadha Jimenez said.
Lieutenant Abbott’s lawyer, Lance LoRusso, said in a statement that the 28-year veteran of the force was cooperating with the internal investigation, Channel 2 reported. He could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
“He was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger,” Mr. 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.”
Source: New York Times