Hoisted with his own petard

Lt Greg Abbott, of the Cobb County Police in Georgia, has used his dashboard camera to record himself telling a white woman stopped over a traffic violation not to worry because the police “only shoot black people”.

Sep 7, 2017

Lt Greg Abbott, of the Cobb County Police in Georgia, has used his dashboard camera to record himself telling a white woman stopped over a traffic violation not to worry because the police “only shoot black people”. He is currently on desk duties while he is investigated for “inappropriate racial comments”. Chief Mike Register has said that “no matter what the context was, it shouldn’t have been said”, which sounds about right. Greg’s lawyer has taken a more elaborate approach. He says that his client is cooperating with the investigation, and this is certainly the case, as he appears to have recorded and retained the damning evidence himself. Looking on the brighter side, the force may be entitled to a refund from Greg’s last public reassurance course, as it clearly hasn’t worked, and they might also get their money back from his How To Use A Dashboard Camera distance learning experience. Cobb County sounds as if it might be an isolated kind of place. Greg seems to have made his statement about who the police kill in total ignorance of the wide range of God’s creatures routinely shot by North Wales Police in its determined attempts to get to grips with motorway policing. He also seems to be unaware of recent research that indicates that, although a pilot scheme in Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) custody suites for the use of spit hoods on detainees highlights racial disproportionality, especially against black women, they did manage to place them on the heads of some white and Asian folks as well. On another positive note, the MPS’s use of spit hoods is not as disproportionate as its use of Taser against black and mixed-race people, and its officers do generally manage to electrocute a commendably wide range of citizens. Meanwhile, we have further evidence that the pocket calculators recently confiscated from Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott’s team have been redistributed. The Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales, which met in Stratford-upon-Avon this week, says that senior officers are facing longer hours, staff cuts, new threats and a rise in crime. As if it wasn’t enough to have to suffer a succession of speakers referencing the town’s famous bard, shortly after daring to utter the m-word, Devon and Cornwall and Dorset forces announced their intention to amalgamate, saving huge amounts in management costs along the way. The conference heard that superintendents feel overworked and show symptoms of mental ill health. Half of senior officers have symptoms of anxiety, and over a quarter show signs of depression. Four-fifths say they are working excessive hours and around three-quarters have not taken all their leave or rest days in the last year. This may well be the case but, given the drastic (is it a third? Throw me that calculator) reductions in police superintendents over the last few years, it might not be affecting that many officers as there are only a handful left. Superintendents should be careful about what they wish for. It is also pertinent to observe that senior police officers have always been anxious and depressed, it is part of a rich and established tradition. Confident and happy superintendents are a worry, for they are notoriously prone to introducing research on things like body worn video and public reassurance. Yours, Stitch

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