PLANO, Texas (AP) - A police officer pulled over an NFL player rushing to see his dying mother-in-law, drew his gun, threatened the player with jail and held him in the hospital parking lot as she died, officials said Thursday.
Officer Robert 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 Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats.
"He was pointing a gun at me as soon as I got out of the car," Tamishia Moats told The Dallas Morning News, which first reported that Powell unholstered his sidearm.
The Moats family did not return messages left by The Associated
Powell, who has been reassigned to desk duty, stopped Moats' SUV
outside Baylor Regional Medical Center during the early hours of March 18 after Moats rolled 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 Tamishia Moats to get back in the SUV, but she ignored him and rushed inside the hospital to see her mother, Jonetta Collinsworth, 45, 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 exited the car. "Let me see your hands!" "Excuse me, my mom is dying," she said. "Do you understand?"
Ryan Moats, 26, explained that he waited until there was no traffic before proceeding 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 argued, the officer got irritated. "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
The Moatses, who are black, said they can't help but think that race might have played a part in how Powell, who is white, treated them.
"I think he should lose his job," said Ryan Moats, a Dallas native.
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.
Powell told police officials he believed he was doing his job, said Dallas Police Assistant Chief Floyd Simpson.