What is this world coming to when a person can’t even explain to a police officer that their mother-in-law is dying and they need to see her right away and they are right in the parking lot of the hospital.
A police officer pulled over Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats as he was hurrying to see his dying mother-in-law, drawing his gun, threatening the NFL player and holding him in the hospital parking lot as she died, officials said Thursday.
Dallas police spokesman Lt. Andy Harvey said Officer Robert Powell told his commanders that he drew his gun but did not point it. Drawing a gun is not unusual in traffic stops where officers feel threatened, Harvey said.
But Moats’ wife, who was in the car along with other relatives, said Powell pointed his weapon at her.
“He was pointing a gun at me as soon as I got out of the car,” Tamishia Moats told The Dallas Morning News, which first reported that Powell unholstered his sidearm.
The Moats family did not immediately return messages left by The Associated Press.
The Texans released a breif statement Thursday morning, saying “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan and his family during this difficult time.”
Powell, who has been reassigned to desk duty, stopped Moats’ SUV outside Baylor Regional Medical Center during the early hours of March 18 after Moats rolled through a red light. Moats and his family had gotten a call saying his mother-in-law was dying.
Video from a dashboard camera inside the officer’s vehicle, obtained by Dallas-Fort Worth station WFAA-TV, revealed an intense exchange in which the officer threatened to jail Moats.
He ordered Tamishia Moats to get back in the SUV, but after pausing for a few seconds, she and another woman rushed into the hospital. She was by the side of her mother, 45-year-old Jonetta Collinsworth, when she died a short time later. Collinsworth had breast cancer.
“Get in there,” said Powell, yelling at 27-year-old Tamishia Moats, as she exited the car. “Let me see your hands!”
“Excuse me, my mom is dying,” Tamishia Moats said. “Do you understand?”
Ryan Moats explained that he waited until there was no traffic before proceeding through the red light. When Powell asked for proof of insurance, Moats grew more agitated and told the officer to go find it.
“My mother-in-law is dying! Right now! You’re wasting my time!” Moats yelled. “I don’t understand why you can’t understand that.”
As they argued, the officer got irritated. “Shut your mouth,” the officer, 25, said. “You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light.”
By the time the 26-year-old NFL player received a ticket and a lecture from Powell, about 13 minutes had passed.
When he and Collinsworth’s father entered the hospital, they learned Collinsworth was dead, the Dallas newspaper reported.
“I really felt bad for them because I know they were just in tears,” Jordan Woy, Moats’ agent, told The Associated Press. “Not only were they really sad about (Moats) … not getting a chance to see the mother-in-law, but you get shaken up when you’re in that sort of situation.”
The Moats family, who are black, said they can’t help but think that race might have played a part in how Powell, who is white, treated them.
“I think he should lose his job,” Ryan Moats said.
When the exchange was at its most contentious, Powell said he could tow Moats’ SUV if he didn’t have insurance and that he could arrest him for fleeing because he didn’t immediately stop when Powell turned on his sirens. The pursuit lasted a little more than a minute.
“I can screw you over,” Powell said. “I’d rather not do that. Your attitude will dictate everything that happens, and right now your attitude sucks.”
The exchange soon ended and Powell returned to his cruiser to write a ticket. A few minutes later, another officer approached Powell to tell him a nurse said the mother-in-law was dying right then and Moats needed to get into the hospital.
“All right. I’m almost done,” Powell said in response.
Powell was placed on dispatch duty pending an investigation. The ticket issued to Moats was dismissed, Harvey said.
“There were some things that were said that were disturbing, to say the least,” Harvey said.
Powell told police officials he believed he was doing his job, said Dallas Police Assistant Chief Floyd Simpson.
Moats, a third-round choice of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 out of Louisiana Tech, was cut by the Eagles in August and later signed with the Texans. In three seasons as a backup, he’s rushed for 441 yards and scoured four touchdowns.
He was a standout at Bishop Lynch High School, a private school in Dallas, rushing for more than 2,600 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior.
Tell me what you think of this officers lack of a heart to care about a family not getting to see their wife/mother/mother-in-law pass away.