Have you ever been pulled over by a cop who says something to the effect of “you better have a good reason for doing what you just did”? Well, Texans running back Ryan Moats had a pretty good reason, but that didn’t seem to phase a Dallas police officer Robert Powell, who’s might be just about the biggest jerk in the world.
Moats, his wife Tamishia, and two other family members had received news that Tamishia’s mother Jonetta Collinsworth was within minutes of death from cancer, and that they needed to rush to the hospital immediately if they wanted to see her one last time. So they all piled in Moats’ SUV and raced to the hospital in Plano. Moats drove with his hazards on, and went through a red light when another motorist waved him along. That’s when Powell started following them, and what happened next doesn’t exactly help to dispel the notion that officers are too often all about being on a power trip rather than doing what’s in the best interest of the people.
As he rushed his family to the hospital, Ryan Moats, 26, rolled through a red light. A Dallas police officer pulled their SUV over outside the emergency room at the Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano.
“He was pointing a gun at me as soon as I got out of the car,” said his wife, Tamishia Moats. “It was the weirdest feeling because I’ve never had a gun pointed at me before under those circumstances.”
Perhaps Powell should have considered that perhaps there might have been, oh, I don’t know, some sort of emergency since Moats drove directly to the emergency room. But no, Powell wasn’t having any of it and felt the need to get his gun out for some reason. Tamishia and her aunt just made a run for it and left Ryan and the dying woman’s father to deal with the officer.
For the next 13 minutes, Powell held Moats and the father up, spending most of his time lecturing Moats rather than expediating the process of writing a ticket (or just letting them go). Even when hospital security guards, a nurse, and Plano police officer came out of the hospital to urge Powell to let them go, he still didn’t relent.
Here’s more of the exchange:
“I waited until no traffic was coming,” Moats told Powell, explaining his passage through the red light. “I got seconds before she’s gone, man.”
Powell demanded his license and proof of insurance. Moats produced his license but said he didn’t know where the insurance paperwork was.
“Just give me a ticket or whatever,” he said, beginning to sound exasperated and a little argumentative.
“Shut your mouth,” Powell told him. “You can cooperate and settle down, or I can just take you to jail for running a red light.”
There was more back and forth.
“If you’re going to give me a ticket, give me a ticket.”
“Your attitude says that you need one.”
“All I’m asking you is just to hurry up.”
Wow. Powell even went to the “I can make your night very difficult” card.
By the time the incident was over, Collinsworth had died. While it’s sad that Moats was not there, it’s tragic that the woman’s father missed being there because Powell had his head up his a**.
Thankfully, spokesmen for the police aren’t exactly rushing to Powell’s defense, largely because the entire incident is on tape, with audio. You can see the edited video here. Or you can watch the unedited 17-minute video of the situation. Powell has been reassigned to a desk job while an investigation occurs.
Moats thinks Powell should lose his job. It’s hard not to agree with him. I understand that you have to be diligent and make sure that somebody’s not trying to skirt the law with some sort of bogus story, but it was pretty clear after about 30 seconds what was going on here. Moats, who is black, also thinks that race may have played a factor in the behavior of Powell, who is white.