To Protect and To Serve? Yeah, Right
Yes, I’ve been away for awhile; work will do that to you, you know, especially when blogging isn’t your main work. At any rate, I finally came across a group of stories that brought me out of my employment-imposed hiatus:
Story 1: “Like we were dogs”: The story of Ryan Moats
In case you haven’t heard of this story, Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats was pulled over by Dallas Police Officer Robert Powell for running a red light. According to Officer Powell, he saw Moats’ vehicle run a red light before turning into a hospital in Plano, a suburb of Dallas. The problem, as explained by Ryan and his wife Tamishia, was that Tamishia’s mother-in-law was dying of breast cancer. The offer then proceeds to detain Moats for a full thirteen minutes while Tamishia and other occupants of the vehicle ignore Officer Powell’s repeated orders to return to the vehicle. On the dashboard camera video (available below), Officer Powell can be heard making comments like “I can screw you over right now”, and “Your attitude sucks”, among other obviously insensitive comments. Also, Ryan Moats maintains that Officer Powell drew his weapon and aimed at his wife. When asked about this, Officer Powell responds
“I don’t recall pointing my weapon”. Twice, hospital nurses aasked Officer Powell to temporarily release Moats so that he could sign resuscitation forms for his mother, who had coded (heart stopped beating) 3 times during the span of the traffic stop. Another officer at the scene even asked Officer Powell to release Moats. Twice Officer Powell blatantly ignored what was being said to him by the nurses; he replied to his fellow officer “Alright, I’m almost done [writing the ticket]”. During this span of 13 minutes, Moats’ mother-in-law passed away. By the time Moats was able to make it to her bedside she was “already gone. I just held her hand”.
In the aftermath of this incident, Officer Powell insists (on multiple occasions during the interview, also available below) that the officer who pulled over Ryan Moats that night wasn’t “the true” Officer Powell. He expressed is sorrow for his actions, admitted to “making a mistake in judgment”, and went so far as to say “I think I can be a very effective officer”.
Video 1: Dashboard Camera Part 1:
Video 2: Dashboard Camera Part 2:
Video 3: Officer Powell Interview:
Video 3: Ryan and Tamishia Moats on GMA
Story 2: 1 U-turn, 5 Tickets, 1 Trip to Jail:
Again, this story is about Officer Robert Powell. In a somewhat smaller incident this past June, Officer Robert Powell pulled over Martiza Thomas, wife of former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Zach Thomas for making an illegal U-turn. What resulted from this routine stop was 5 tickets, an arrest, and a trip to the local jail for Martiza. Four of the five tickets were later dismissed by authorities. Maritza, who is latina, was new to the area, her husband Zach just being signed to the Cowboys earlier in 2008. When asked why come out about this now, Zach Thomas said “This in no way compares to what happened to Ryan Moats and his family, but we wanted to tell our story, not knowing how many others have been affected by Officer Powell. We know the vast majority of the Dallas police force are good and professional people, but this guy just seems excessive.”
Story 3: Please Sir, My Mother is Dying
On March 12, just 6 days before Robert Moats’ incident in Dallas, Wayne Ables had a eerily similar incident in Memphis, Tennessee. Ables was rushing his 83-year old mother to the nearby hospital in his Chevy Avalanche when a MPD Officer pulled him over for driving with an expired license plate. As the officer approached the car, Ables’ mother asked him to lower the windows to allow cooler air in so she could breathe better. When the officer approached the window of the vehicle, Ables tried to explain that he and his wife were trying to get his mother to the hospital. Barely a mile and a half, and within visual range of the hospital, the officer asked the 83 year old, who at this point was grasping for breath, her name, age, and medical history. Upon receiving no answer from the ailing woman, the officer requested to see Ables’ license and proof of insurance. Ables pleaded with the officer, but the officer refused to release them. Ables even offered to let the officer “follow me to the hospital and write the ticket there”, but he refused, saying an ambulance was on the way. After the ambulance finally arrived, they rushed Ables’ mother to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. After all this, the officer’s last word to the Ables were “Don’t speed”. No administrative action has been taken against the officer by the MPD, and the dashboard camera video has not been released by the police department.