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Moats Stopped From Seeing Dying Relative

A Dallas police officer drew his gun during a traffic stop of Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats last week in which the officer kept Moats from going to the hospital room of his dying mother-in-law, the Dallas Morning News reported.

According to the report, the officer, identified as Robert Powell, stopped the vehicle being driven by Moats in the hospital parking lot for going through a red light.

Powell later told his superiors that he drew his gun but did not point it at anyone, according to the Morning News.

Moats's wife and another relative ignored Powell's command to stop and went inside the hospital, and Moats's wife reportedly was by her mother's bedside when she died.

Ryan Moats and another man remained outside while Powell lectured Moats, wrote a ticket and threatened to arrest him even after being told that by Moats that his mother-in-law was near death inside the hospital. After a delay of about 13 minutes, according to the Morning News, Powell allowed Moats to go inside the hospital, that after hospital staff members and another police officer interceded. Moats's mother-in-law, Jonetta Collinsworth, already had died by the time Moats arrived at her room, according to the report.

Dallas police department officials have issued an apology and have reassigned Powell to dispatch pending an investigation, according to the Morning News.

The entire conversation between the officer and Moats was recorded by the device in Powell's cruiser.

According to the Morning News, part of the exchange went like this:

Moats: "You really want to go through this right now? My mother-in-law is dying. Right now!... I got seconds before she's dying, man!"

Powell: "If my mom was dying, I'd probably be a little upset, too, but when I saw flashing red and blue [lights], I'd stop."

Moats: "If you're going to give me a ticket, just give me a ticket.... All I'm asking you is just hurry up."

Powell: "... I could charge you with fleeing right now. Understand what I could do.... I could make your life very difficult."

By Mark Maske  |  March 26, 2009; 4:34 PM ET  | Category:  Texans Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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This was horrible and there is nothing the authorities in Dallas can do to make it up to Mr. Moats and his family. The officer has now issued an apology. I'm sure the "apology" is nothing but words someone else has advised him to write in order to attempt damage control. There are great policemen in our country but this guy isn't one of them. He is a disgrace to all good police and to humanity. He surely should be fired ASAP and I wonder if his actions constitute any crimes for which he could be tried?

Posted by: gtinaz | March 29, 2009 7:29 PM

I apologize for my profanitiy. My prayers are with Moats' family.

Posted by: BigGuy3 | March 29, 2009 4:33 PM

sounds like Waterbury, ct to me. Those racist cops are evil, mean, not a care in the world. they physically abuse the blacks and Hispanics like they are roaches. Ive witness to much. Even the white people get away with everything. Get caught and cops let them go even with all the drugs and guns. My white friend was driven home by cops cause he was too drunk to drive. they left him on the lawn. he didnt even know them personally. the courts are filled with blacks and hispanics. not hard to tell. this cop got the texans in his pocket. they will protect him. F#$k the police. and them kkk texans.

Posted by: lilnsupreme | March 29, 2009 4:15 PM

I believe that the other man in the car with Moats was his granddad in law. In other words, the guy was not by his dying daughter's bedside when she died. That is a tragedy even worse than Moats not seeing him Mom-in-law.

Powell also drew his gun on everyone, including the ladies as they rightly ignored him to go say goodbye to the dying woman.

Calling the cop a pig is really offensive to pigs who are sensitive and smart. And they make good bacon. Would we ever consider Powell sensitive and smart, or even consider eating him-even if there was a famine? Cops have become such a dirty word that we don't need to call them anything other than cops. Please leave the pigs out of it.

Posted by: sprg | March 28, 2009 2:54 PM

He gets paid leave? Are you kidding me? He doesn't even recognize that he did anything wrong. He needs to be fired and banned from law enforcement. He was having a power trip and should be punished for acting like he's above human beings.
Powell: "If my mom was dying, I'd probably be a little upset, too, but when I saw flashing red and blue [lights], I'd stop."
A little upset? This guy is dumber than a sack of bricks. I wonder how his mother feels now that she knows how her son feels.

Posted by: okhino | March 28, 2009 1:53 AM

I live in Fort Worth, Texas, which is very near Dallas, where this blatant case of abuse of power took place. If people don't believe that this sort of thing happens all the time, or if they believe racial profiling is a myth, they're obviously very out of touch. I called the Fort Worth Police Department today to report a couple of suspicious characters in my neighborhood. The dispatcher's immediate response was, "Are they black or Hispanic?"...not "Can you describe them?" There will never be equal justice in our country, and particularly in the South, until this mindset is eradicated from our police departments.

Posted by: DanaPerez | March 28, 2009 12:03 AM

Disgraceful. That policeman must be fired from the force.

Posted by: Farkas | March 27, 2009 10:12 PM

This is very typical of Texas law enforcement regardless of whether they are city cops or higher level law enforcement. These people are scumbag animals and I have no respect for how they treat honest, hard-working Americans. They are power-mad, deranged pigs who are over-paid clowns that should be spit on for their betrayal of their sworn duties.

Powell should be fired and charged with dereliction of duty and then he and the police department should be sued for multi-millions for their disgusting actions. Powell should be forced to stand in a court room and Moats should be able to spit on Powell and Moats should beat Powell with a baseball bat. Powell should be stripped of his uniform and urinated upon and then Moats' entire family should be able to defecate on Powell's face.

I have the greatest respect for honest cops but I have nothing but the greatest disdain for bad or incompetent cops. There is no possible way that Powell's superiors should allow this sub-human animal to remain on the police force. He should definitely be forced to serve time in a maximum security prison.

Unless you can't tell, I'm disgusted at what this pig did to this man and he must pay the price. Moats definitely needs to be financially compensated for his loss and Powell should be fired.

I hereby urinate on Powell.

Posted by: mattfoley_motivational_speaker | March 27, 2009 9:40 PM


Posted by: katrina-a | March 27, 2009 9:33 PM

Anybody thinking "Crash?" "Crash" is one of my all-time fave movies--it evoked such emotion, and I still tear up or flat-out cry when I watch it . I watched the police video, all 17 minutes, and wanted to cry. It was like this scene was scripted for the movie and ended up on the cutting room floor. I teach 3rd grade here in Plano and even I know not to lecture and berate. As Ben Franklin once said, "A word to the wise is enough." Meaning, just get to the point, & say what's needed......esp. if someone, and another cop, and an ICU nurse, say a relative is dying. Soooooooooo sad...

Posted by: luzygirl2003 | March 27, 2009 8:53 PM

there was another case I believe was also in Texas , this one individual was rushing his dog to the hospital and was stopped by the police . He pleaded with the police to follow him to the hospital and give him the ticket. the policeman answer was" Its only a dog" needless to say the dog died in the car while the police was writing the ticket, That shows how humanly our police force works and please do not refer them as pigs Its an insult to the animals

Posted by: capskip | March 27, 2009 7:45 PM

What kind of story would this be if Moats had been on the FBI's Most Wanted List and the officer let him go without doing his duty. HEADLINE "OFFICER FACE TO FACE WITH 'MOST WANTED' FELON LETS HIM GO DUE TO LAME MY MOTHERS DYING EXCUSE. My heart goes out to the Moat family for their loss. But remember - how many "lame" excuses does an officer hear every day that are nothing more than an attempt to get out of trouble.

Posted by: concerndctzn | March 27, 2009 7:32 PM

All the arguments in favor of the cop would have more leg to stand on if the cop had not ignored pleas from 2 nurses that came out of the hospital. And also a plea from a fellow police officer. Regardless of what you think about race, about black men being thugs or any such nonsense, compassion is compassion. Sure he shouldn't have run a red light but the cop went way too far with his ego trip.

Posted by: tundey | March 27, 2009 7:14 PM

I think the officer shouldd be fired. I find this quote a little odd.

"I If my mom was dying, I'd probably be a little upset, too, but when I saw flashing red and blue [lights], I'd stop."

If it was his Mom, he would probably have the lights and sirens on to get to the hospital and say goodby - or maybe not. He might want to stop someone for running a red light on the way - priorities, you know.

I wonder how proud his Mom is of him now. Of course, maybe that's how she raised him.

My sympathy is with the family. How sad that his wife's mother's death will always be tainted with this sad, unnecessay event.

I agree with an earlier comment that there are too many bullies who become cops.

Posted by: nmreed | March 27, 2009 5:43 PM

There is little more disappointing that a police officer on a power trip. Thousands of truly valiant men and women take an oath to protect and serve and then jerks like this guy show up and disgrace them. Clearly, Officer Powell cares more about the ego boost that comes with a badge and a gun than actually doing his job. Even his chief expressed nothing less than extreme embarrassment and disappointment in his actions. Superiors went so far as to state that it is likely this video will be shown at the training academy as an example of what NOT to do. A police officer's job is to protect and to serve, not to be so void of compassion and common sense as to keep a family from saying goodbye to a dying loved one. Disgraceful and disgusting.

Posted by: turtlecat | March 27, 2009 5:05 PM

Please don't use profanity, that is not nice.

Posted by: maddog20202 | March 27, 2009 4:06 PM

What a terrible situation!

Ryan Moats never tried to use his position to gain favour from this officer and should be applauded for it.

What if, Ryan Moats' child was dying the hospital? Would this guy have behaved any differently? Deep in my heart, I doubt it. What if the officers child, wife or mother were dying in that hospital? Do you think he might have "rolled" through the red light and proceed to the hospital, even with a police car in his rear view mirror? Would he have had the officer that pulled him over, pull a gun on him?

I know there are some terrible people out there doing terrible things and the police have to deal with them on a regular basis, but this officer went beyond the "call of duty" in this gross demonstration of corrupted power!

When he saw that this family was not a threat, he SHOULD have been serving his community and escorted them into the building.

How can people defend the behaviour of this officer? I have watched the video and holding someone up for this amount of time in a HOSPITAL parking lot, even after the intervention of the hospital staff, is disgusting.

He should be relieved of duty and anything less is a stain on the Dallas Police Department.

I agree that everyone should live by the law, but the Moats family most likely assumed that when they saw the police car, they would be assisted and not harrassed. How can we teach our children to respect the police, when this rogue cop behaves like this. I think the Dallas police force had better get a good Public Relations team to sort this one out!

Posted by: qtipoulaki | March 27, 2009 3:48 PM


You are rationalizing this to death with hypotheticals that are not in evidence. I would really like to see your reaction if you got a phone call that a family member was dying and Officer Powell stopped you on the way there. I suspect that you would have a somewhat different reading on the proper disposition of the case.

Call 911? Get real. Pick up the phone right now, dial 911, and tell them that you need a police escort to the hospital. Then, listen to their reaction.

Posted by: hisroc | March 27, 2009 3:20 PM

If Moats had just waited 30 seconds like he was supposed to at the red light, or left earlier or called 911, regardless of how dire his emergency was, none of this would have happened (I'd like to know why he didn't leave earlier?). Thousands die each day..people die in every city each day. Do we as relatives have the right to break the law & go through stop signs, red lights, wrong turns, etc. to see our dying relatives? Do we know exactly when a relative will die? Of course not. More unnecessary deaths & injuries would happen under such daily traffic anarchy. Also, keep in mind, 4 cops died just a few days before this incident in Oakland from a guy pulled over for a simple traffic violation. This cop knew about this and was probably more alert & protective. Many people lie to get out of being ticketed..just watch the real cop shows. This guy's wife had to be only in her 20's so it even sounded more of a lie that his mother-in-law was dying. And sad but true, many men are not fond of their mother-in-laws adding to the skepticism. Also, a large % of blacks are from broken families making it all sound fishy. Not telling the cop he was a pro-football player didn't help either. The cop was just doing his job. Firing this policeman will only help real thugs from giving false excuses and killing more officers like what happened in Oakland. The cop was also young & practically a rookie, so he should even get more leeway.

Posted by: techsavvy777 | March 27, 2009 3:02 PM

cblake93 wrote:
Those who believe the officer is 100% wrong have clearly never done the job. To all who keep suggesting that police officers should be shot, I wonder how many of you have been on the wrong side of the law and have an axe to grind.

Posted by: cblake93 | March 27, 2009 2:14 PM

Sorry, bud, but I suspect that many of us here, myself included, have years of public service and have never been on the wrong side of the law. While I don't want to see Powell shot, I definitely think that the video speaks for itself and that this moron does not need to be wearing a badge anymore--a sentiment that his own union shares apparently. Your argument is a cheap cop-out (pardon the pun). If you can't see what Powell did wrong, then I sincerely hope that you are no longer on the job. Of course, I could turn your argument right around and use it on you. Are you defending Powell because you did some just as stupid and got canned for it?

Posted by: hisroc | March 27, 2009 2:57 PM

The stop didn't take place on the highway, where the "dying relative" excuse should meet with skepticism. This was in the hospital's parking lot, which should have been a clue to the officer that perhaps the driver was telling the truth. Moreover, when the passengers defy the officer's command to stop by running into the hospital, perhaps that should be another clue that the driver was telling the truth.

Posted by: srpinpgh | March 27, 2009 2:45 PM

My heart is with Moats family. I wish them the best of luck during this difficult time. I truly believe that the officer should have read Moats expression better, he should have realized that Moats emotions were true and the situation was a really situation. In addition, if the officer still wanted to issue the ticket, he should have escorted Moats to the room and then issued the ticket after. Police officers don't want to be labeled racist, jerks,etc. but sometimes going the extra mile makes a difference.

Posted by: cubarican921 | March 27, 2009 2:21 PM

Those who believe the officer is 100% wrong have clearly never done the job. To all who keep suggesting that police officers should be shot, I wonder how many of you have been on the wrong side of the law and have an axe to grind.

Posted by: cblake93 | March 27, 2009 2:14 PM

This officer has some obvious power and self control issues that I seriously doubt would be alleviated by therapy. The officer escalated a "ticket offense" (in many communities "stoplight cameras" do this job) to a life threatening situation. In Texas, an officer can write a ticket for an observed traffic offense, even if the driver isn't present. The vehicle owner is liable, and the "dashboard video" provides all the evidence necessary. Police officers for most offenses are still required to appear in court, so no purpose was served by this officers outrageous behavior save for his own self serving assertion of power. This cop and his attitude are dangerous, and will most likely manifest again in the future. This cop is a threat to himself and to citizens, and should be removed from the force. If the officer doesn't resign, he should be fired.

Posted by: edweirdness | March 27, 2009 2:13 PM

dougpm, maddog20202, and the others who think that this cop did nothing wrong:

You really need to watch the video before defending Officer Powell. First all, Moats did not "run" a red light, potentially causing a collision. He approached the intersection slowly with his four-way flashers on and entered the intersection after he had obviously cleared both ways. Second, as to whether Powell could have known that Moats was telling the truth about his mother-in-law, as noted by other posters and in the article, the video shows that two nurses and a hospital security officer came out and asked Powell to allow Moats to go in and see his mother-in-law before she died. Powell refused and would not let Moats go in until he finished writing a ticket, while threatening Moats that he "could make his life miserable.

It may interest you to know that not only is Powell's police chief criticizing his conduct, but that the police union is also criticizing his behavior. That right there should tell you that Powell is a rogue cop who has pulled this kind of crap before or his own union wouldn't be throwing him under the bus.

Posted by: hisroc | March 27, 2009 2:08 PM

Maddog, your name says it all. You're a POS. You should be stood up beside the cop and shot together.

Posted by: braindeadliberals | March 27, 2009 2:02 PM

1959: To Protect and Serve
2009: You Will Respect My Authoritah!

Posted by: ABHFGTY | March 27, 2009 1:59 PM

MADDOG20202, you obviously didn't watch the video. Moats did attempt to explain the situation to that idiot Powell. Even the Police higher ups felt he was way out of line. You can join Powell as moron of the year for the comments you made.

Posted by: blazn40 | March 27, 2009 1:55 PM

It is hard to believe that a person could have that little compassion. He never responded to the situation that was explained to him. He needs help.

Posted by: rnrkeeper | March 27, 2009 1:39 PM

OH F*****************************ck Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu MADDOG20202! You have no heart at all. Can't you understand he ran a red light because his mother-in-law was dying? What kind of seriously deranged man is this? Oh and Yeah F********ck you too Powell. You should never work as an officer again. The whole thing was about your F*******ck pride and not about protecting people. Get a life f**ck*ng fag.

Posted by: BigGuy3 | March 27, 2009 1:38 PM

This could have been a lot different news story of Moats running a red light and hitting another car and killing someone in his car or someone in another car.

Posted by: dougpm | March 27, 2009 1:35 PM

RIP Lovelle Mixon

Posted by: sgtpepper23 | March 27, 2009 1:32 PM

The officer is 100% right!!!. Moats is 100% wrong. When you see emergency lights you pull over. ...PERIOD...If I was the cop I would of thought Moates was running. All Moates had to do was pull over and calmly explain the situation. The cop was the level headed one and I am sure he would of let Moats go if Moats had initially just pulled over. Once they were at the hospital Moats had the chance to comply and if he had of the officer would of let him go. The officer was level headed and calm. A police officer has to take control of the situation until they know what they are dealing with. Moats had the chance to explain quickly but he argued. The officer did his job. I guess this is why there are police unions. Cops get shot. Four officers died this week in Oakland. If they had initially approached the vehicle with weapons drawn they would be alive. And of course it would be labeled racism... But, I am sure their families would rather have their dad's husbands,brothers,fathers,sons, uncles alive today and labeled racist then what they are now. They are DEAD!!! p.s the news media is the racist one here. Have you ever noticed that when a black cop does something to a black or a white person nothing comes of it. It is not plastered all over the news. But God forbid a white cop does something to a black person and the world falls apart. If Moats was white and the officer was black, this would not be in the national news media..Officer Robert Powell you would be welcomed addition to most any police force in the country. Hang in there!!!

Posted by: maddog20202 | March 27, 2009 1:28 PM

In reply to cblake93's comment earlier. If you had read about this on any other online news outlet or watched the video shot by the officer's in-dash camera you'd realize that the outrage over this story has NOTHING to do with the fact that the man is a professional athlete. The outrage is over the fact that the officer displayed NO compassion to a fellow human being. According to the hospital sent out nurses not once but twice to try to talk the cop into letting Moats come in to say his goodbyes. Another officer came on the scene and asked that Moats be allowed in the hospital. That he wasn't allowed to say goodbye is cruel and could have easily been avoided if the officer involved had used any shred of compassion or common sense. I'm glad Officer Powell has been forced to take leave. Hopefully the DPD will do what they must to ensure that something like this doesn't happen to anyone else. Professional athlete, common worker, bum on the street - nobody deserves to be treated the way Ryan Motes and his wife were. My thoughts go out to the family.

Posted by: lulabela | March 27, 2009 12:45 PM

Nice to see so many race cards being pulled. I'm also impressed by the "Nazi" comment. But let's no forget the comment by JerryB1. Nice job wannabe. Do you suggest that happens everytime a police officer doesn't believe someone's story after they've broken the law?

Posted by: cblake93 | March 27, 2009 12:36 PM

So why exactly should the Officer be fired? Oh, because he was dealing with a professional athelete. Actually, if the information in the story is correct, the officer should have his weapon ready. The driver ran a red light, the officer attempted to make a legitimate stop. When the vehicle did finally stop, at least one passenger left the vehicle, ignoring the officer's order to stop and entered the building. Assuming the officer is not clairvoyant, how would he know that the occupant's family member was actually inside. Do you really think that type of excuse has not been used thousands of times when officers have made other legitimate stops. Maybe the real issue stems from the fact that he made a legitimate stop on a professional athelete. Oh, I'm sorry sir, by all means carry on as you like because you really carry a football well. Open your eyes folks, just because his weapon was out does not necessarily make him wrong.

Posted by: cblake93 | March 27, 2009 12:25 PM

My dad was a policeman so I had the opportunity to observe a lot of cops. One thing I quickly realized is that there are two very different mentalities attracted to the profession. One genuinely wants to help people, and the other are all the childhood bullies who attracted to the opportunity to get a paycheck for doing the same old power-trip crap they did in high school. It seems it's about 50/50 in numbers.

It's a shame the good guys get tainted by the actions of the jerks. IMHO society would be WAY better off if we'd get serious about taking a really deep look at their psychological profile BEFORE putting them on the force. There are way too many of these incidents happening.

Here in Seattle we just had a 43 yr old cop body-slam a 15 year old girl against a concrete wall and then to the floor for hand-cuffing, and then picked her up by the hair... all cause she flicked here little shoe at him and "gave him lip".

Posted by: mb56 | March 27, 2009 11:46 AM

This kind of behavior infuriates me! I have been in many situations where the police officer abused their power which has put a very bad taste in my mouth. To me, police are the largest gang in the world. It is no wonder people are SO afraid of cops. Serve and protect??? More like terrorize and scare! F****** PIGS!

Posted by: jdesa2000 | March 27, 2009 11:35 AM

Typical pig behavior. He has to be on a power trip because he can't haze frat pledges anymore. I know there are some good cops out there, but are the majority of them ignorant racist buffoons? Sure seems like it.

Posted by: miknugget | March 27, 2009 11:20 AM

If they don't fire that moron then the whole force will be under intense scrutiny because it will be then thought that, that kind of behavior is acceptable by everyone. Not only that, it will mean that they have more morons running the show there. This kind of behavior is completely unacceptable! PERIOD.

Posted by: blazn40 | March 27, 2009 11:18 AM

That arrogant nazi couldn't give him a couple of minutes to say good-bye to his dying mother-in-law? Pulling a gun on his wife and detaining them for such a minor offense (after being told repeatedly about the situation) was totally out of line and a complete over reaction. Good luck finding another job in this economy, Powell.

Posted by: azacoatl | March 27, 2009 11:13 AM

You need to post the video. I just watched all 17 mins of it... I'm absolutely disgusted at the complete lack of common sense and sympathy that Powell exhibited. He is a disgrace to the profession and should be fired immediately.

Posted by: thusler | March 26, 2009 11:14 PM

Effing Pigs. No wonder so many get shot.

Posted by: JERRYB1 | March 26, 2009 10:56 PM

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