Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats and his wife were pulled over March 17 by Dallas police officer Robert Powell for running a red light.
The events that followed are unfortunate and a gruesome example of how compassionless officers can make a tragic day even more devastating. The truth about what happened is evident thanks to a dashboard camera in the police car.
After being pulled over in the hospital parking lot, Moats, his wife and other family members quickly got out of the car. Powell screamed at them to “get in there, let me see your hands, put your hands on the car.” Powell drew his gun and, according to eyewitnesses and the hospital camera, pointed it at Tamishia Moats and then at Ryan Moats. The officer denied this though and said he only removed the gun from his holster.
After a few minutes Tamishia Moats was pulled into the hospital by a family member and was able to say goodbye to her mother, because of her act of defiance.
During more than 16 minutes of footage the officer remained unemotional and showed no signs of compassion. He repeatedly threatened Ryan Moats with jail time and told him “shut your mouth” when he continued to plead with the officer.
During the altercation Ryan Moats is clearly upset, and explained repeatedly that his mother-in-law was dying. The officer told Ryan Moats that he would put him “in handcuffs and take [him] to jail.” During his egocentric power trip, Powell also said, “I can screw you over.”
When a hospital official came outside the officer finally asked for confirmation about what was going on inside. The hospital official informed the officer that Ryan Moats’ mother-in-law was in fact on the verge of death and that Ryan Moats had to be in the hospital to sign forms in order for the hospital staff to resuscitate her. The officer had no visible reaction to that, and he expressed no compassion or regret at all.
Instead, he talked with another hospital official about the traffic stop and did not act hastily as Ryan Moats had pleaded with him to do since the beginning. The hospital official had to negotiate with the officer as to who could leave the scene as Ryan Moats had two other family members with him.
After a few minutes a nurse came out and informed Powell that the mom was dying right then, to which Powell responded unemotionally: “I’m almost done right now.”
After 13 minutes spent in front of the hospital, Powell finally gave Ryan Moats the ticket and told him to remember his attitude.
Unfortunately Moats’ mother-in-law died while he was outside the hospital.
After being placed on paid administrative leave, the officer issued a statement through a lawyer to apologize for his actions.
But it is obvious that he was only trying to shield himself from the department’s response to the public outcry.
It’s a sad day when power-driven, egocentric men are allowed to wear a badge that allows them to inflict such devastation.
It’s ironic that after Powell’s tirade against Ryan Moats regarding his perceived attitude, it’s the officer’s attitude that has turned out to be disgraceful.
Vlora Bojku is a junior business major from Colleyville.