In an awful case that is drawing lots of irate comments around the NFL, a Dallas police officer has been placed on desk duty after pulling over Texans running back Ryan Moats, who along with his wife were trying to make it to a local Dallas hospital to see his wife’s mother, who was dying.
The officer, Robert Powell, drew his gun, threatened Moats with jail and held him in the hospital parking lot as she died, officials said today. Powell told his commanders he drew his gun but did not point it, Dallas police spokesman Lt. Andy Harvey said. That was disputed by the wife of Moats.
“He was pointing a gun at me as soon as I got out of the car,” Tamishia Moats told The Dallas Morning News. Powell pulled over Moats’ SUV outside Baylor Regional Medical Center during the early hours of March 18th after Moats went 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 Moats’ wife to get back in the SUV, but she instead rushed inside the hospital to see her mother, 45-year-old Jonetta Collinsworth, and was by her side when she died a short time later. She had breast cancer.
“Get in there,” said Powell, yelling at 27-year-old Tamishia Moats, as she left the car. “Let me see your hands!”
“Excuse me, my mom is dying,” she said. “Do you understand?”
The Texans running back told the officer that he waited until there was no traffic before going 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 went back and forth, the dashcam saw the officer yell at Moats – “Shut your mouth,” the officer said. “You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light.”
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.
When Moats and Collinsworth’s father entered the hospital, they learned Collinsworth had died, The Dallas Morning News reported in Thursday’s editions.
The Moatses think that race may be the reason why the officer treated them. “I think he should lose his job,” said the Texans back. The ticket issued to Moats was dismissed, Harvey said. “There were some things that were said that were disturbing, to say the least,” he told the Dallas Morning News.