Last week many in the media were on alert after being told to expect a decision about a Georgia officer who made racially offensive comments to a black driver. This week, however, that investigation has been inexplicably delayed.
“In order to conduct the most thorough investigation possible, the Cobb County Attorney’s office has revised its original timeline based on the need for additional review of records and scheduling of additional interviews. The report will be delayed until all information is collected and analyzed,” Cobb County spokeswoman Sheri Kell said.
In what seems like an open and shut case, Cobb County police Officer Maurice Lawson told black driver Brian Baker, “Go to Fulton County, cuz” and “I don’t care about your people.” This was all in reaction to Baker having been annoyed at being pulled over.
Even by Lawson’s own account of what happened, he admits to escalating, as opposed to de-escalating, the encounter with Baker. Part of the stop was captured by Officer Grizanti’s bodcam.
From 11 Alive:
“The first thing out of his mouth was – I was like ‘how are you doing tonight, sir’,” Lawson said. “And he was like ‘Sober – what did you stop me for!’ He yelled at me and I yelled back.”
Grizanti replied, “I’ll go talk to him.”
Grizanti approached Baker.
“Good evening Mr. Baker,” Grizanti said.
“Why are you bothering me? I didn’t do anything wrong. Can I have my tickets so I can go?” Baker replied.
Baker says he was annoyed at the questions being asked by Lawson.
“He asked me where I am coming from – it’s none of your business where I’m coming from. Where I’m going is none of your business, either,” Baker said. “Are you the Gestapo or something? You asked the question, I answered, and you’re still going on, man!”
As usual, the Fraternal Order of Police was quick to dismiss Lawson’s racially inflammatory remark.
“Officer Lawson did absolutely nothing wrong other than lose his temper,” said Steve Gaynor, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, according to 11 Alive News. “He’s an outstanding officer.”
Cobb County police Capt. J.D. Adcock apologized Baker in a letter and admitted that Lawson violated the police department’s code of conduct. Baker’s tickets were also reduced to warnings.
Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who is also African American, had recently complained about Officer Lawson following her in an unmarked car at 1:30AM. She was told that Lawson was working undercover as part of an investigation into vehicle break-ins.
“That police officer was not there to protect and serve. He was there to harass and intimidate,” Cupid wrote in a memo to the police department, according to Channel 2 Action News. “I do not believe for one moment that a Lexus RX 330 would be tailed and intimidated by a police officer in East Cobb, West Cobb or North Cobb, Vinings, the Cumberland area: especially if the driver was white or a neighborhood of affluence.”
Watch the video below of Lawson’s interaction with Baker: