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Ofcr. Robert Powell

Can't believe it took me till now to comment on the traffic stop involving now former Dallas Police Officer Robert Powell and Ryan Moats, but I had to chew my cud for a while and think.

If you don't have time to follow the link, last week 26-year-old Ryan Moats, his wife, her grandfather, and her aunt, ran a red light en route to a Dallas hospital where Moats's mother-in-law was minutes away from dying from breast cancer.

Moats didn't blow through the light. He came to a stop, then turned on his hazards, rolled down the driver's window, waved his arm frantically at on-coming traffic, paused to see if the cross traffic understood his I-have-an-emergency! signal, and only then proceeded through the red light.

Ofcr. Powell tried to pull Moats over, but Moats didn't stop for another block or so, till he was in a parking space at the hospital's emergency room entrance.

The abbreviated version is that Moats and his relatives pleaded with Powell to let them go inside to see Mrs. Moats's dying mom. Powell declined. The women ignored him and went inside anyway, getting to Mrs. Moats's mom's bedside moments before she died. Moats and his grandfather-in-law were not allowed in, and even after begging Powell to just write them a ticket so they could get in doors, he still dragged the traffic stop out to nearly 15 minutes, stopping periodically to berate Moats and threaten him with arrest and with having his vehicle towed, since the flustered Moats couldn't find the registration.

Even after a hospital cop (or security guard?) accompanied by a nurse came outside and told Powell that the story was true and not a BS attempt to get out of a traffic ticket, Powell's best response to them was that he was almost finished with Moats.

Moats and his grandfather-in-law made it inside, Moats's mother-in-law had died.

Was Powell justified in pursuing Moats's vehicle? Sure, he saw it go through a red light.

But everything that came afterward was handled miserably by Powell. Law enforcement isn't just dotting I's and crossing T's. It's having good sense and knowing when to bring down the hammer and when to give a pass.

I've seen tough cops give lectures to people they could have arrested, because they determined a stern talking to would do as much or more good than handcuffs and a jail cell.

A few weeks ago I was pulled over during a traffic stop, in which the cop was also justified in stopping me. My plates were expired. I'd forgotten to renew. That stop also took nearly 20 minutes - about 15 minutes beyond the point that the officer had checked me out in his on-board computer and called my ID in to check for warrants and determined that I was clean. I wasn't on my way to see a dying relative, but I was on my way to an appointment. Even after I acknowledged that the officer had every right to ticket me if he wanted to, he continued to linger and sort of lord his badge over me, reminding me every few minutes that if he wanted to he could ticket me. It was only at the end of the 20 minute drama that another officer drove by, saw me, waved, said hi, and asked how Mrs. B was doing, did the first officer decide to wrap up the traffic stop. But first, he had to put on another display of power for me by asking the second officer if he knew me and I was a friend or if I was just a passing acquaintance. When the second officer said friend, then called the first officer over to his car to explain that I'd just written a large article about his police department's efforts in my area, the first officer gave me pouty attitude and said I should have told him who I was and none of this would have ever happened! Why should I have had to drop names and leverage my friendship with another cop? I didn't ask out of my ticket. I just asked for the cop to give my ticket and let me go about my business, unless he had a good reason (beyond bragging rights) to keep me there.

The badge is supposed to be an honor, not permission to be a bully. I'm glad Powell resigned today. If he hadn't I'd say he should be fired, 'cause he obviously has down the part of his job that involves enforcing the letter of the law, but he clearly has no clue about discernment.

Still, do you think the hubbub over how Powell treated Moats would still be ongoing if Moats, a Houston Texans running back, wasn't a professional athlete?


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Wow, you took the words out of my mouth. Same thing happened to me except I was driving a friends car. The cop said I did not have my seatbelt on but I took it off as he approached the car (dumb on my part) when I tried pleading with him he started threatening me with other tickets. I do not understand why they do not just let people speak, I was not even being disrespectful, only trying to explain to him. I think departments should give the police officers more training so people can understand the human side of things as well.

Karmyn R

Sadly, this case might not have made the news (albeit briefly) if Moats wasn't a celebrity. Do I think it happened due to skin color? yes.

However, kudos to Moats for not ONCE during the entire 15 minutes tell the cop he was a football player. It shouldn't have mattered. The cop was just being an asshole because he could.

Jeni Hill Ertmer

Well, reading your post and being basically pretty ignorant these days about who's who in sports (especially football) I had no idea the guy was a celeb. But, celeb or not -the stop was valid. Celeb or not thought, the harassment that followed was absolutely uncalled for! Yes, I'm sure there are some who might try to pull a stunt like that to get out of a ticket, but sheesh, when a security guard plus a hospital nurse try to intervene and verify the validity and need for speed and are ignored, then that really does make a person wonder, for sure!
My son had an "issue" a few years back when he moved to PA from Nevada/Arizona area with a VW Bug he had all tweaked out. A local cop stopped him and soony boy had (this, verified by his sister who was with him at the time) asked why he was pulled over as he wasn't speeding, hadn't blown a light or stop sign, etc., and the cop's answer "Because I can!" Yeah, you know, of course, what body part he was trying to show to be so much bigger than my son's, don't you? It cost my son over $1,000 for attorney fees and fines, just to eliminate some of the charges on the ticket that could were listed as potential felonies and were totally bogus on the part of the cop too! Absurd actions way too often by some of these law enforcement people.


I no longer believe anyone can have a reasonable interaction with the police. I was having a problem associated with diabetes when I was pulled over by a state cop. I told him the situation. He told me he didn't believe me. I reached for my meter, used to measure the sugar in the blood, and he put up one hand and put his other hand on his gun. I was told not to get anything. He detained me long enough that I couldn't do anything for my problem. He didn't ticket me, and all I wanted was to get away from him. I have started to loathe the State of Maryland.


Law enforcement is just like every other profession in that creeps get hired.

Today I took my SIL to see her DR, and every person who worked at the clinic was a cranky dog. They were rude, ignorant, and downright stinky.

Yesterday I had to call the company from whom I recently made a purchase -- and the guy was an absolute crack head. He called back when I was running errands and treated my visiting daughter with disrespect.

Last fall my brother came visiting and was stopped by a cop who was a scumbag to him and his passengers. (My brother is 63 year old professional who had his beautiful wife and our other sister in the car)

Buttheads get thru the screening process in all the work places. Unfortunately cops have the authority to force their attitudes on us.

The result is the unfortunate situation that you mention in your post. I think the policeman should be fired.

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