A moment Ryan Moats will never forget


NFL player’s police saga at Plano hospital captured on dash cam

12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, March 26, 2009

By STEVE THOMPSON and TANYA EISERER / The Dallas Morning News

As he rushed his family to the hospital, 26-year-old NFL running back Ryan Moats rolled through a red light. A Dallas police officer pulled their SUV over outside the emergency room.

Moats and his wife explained that her mother was dying inside the hospital.

“You really want to go through this right now?” Moats pleaded. “My mother-in-law is dying. Right now!”

Officer Robert Powell, 25, was unmoved. He spent long minutes writing Moats a ticket and threatened him with arrest.

“I can screw you over,” the officer said. “I’d rather not do that.”

The scene last week, captured by a dashboard video camera, prompted apologies and the promise of an investigation from Dallas police officials Wednesday.

“There were some things that were said that were disturbing, to say the least,” said Lt. Andy Harvey, a police spokesman.

Moats’ mother-in-law, Jonetta Collinsworth, was struggling at 45 with breast cancer that had spread throughout her body. Family members rushed to her bedside from as far away as California.

On March 17, the night of their incident with Powell, the Moatses had gone to their Frisco home to get some rest. Around midnight, they received word that they needed to hurry back to the hospital if they wanted to see Collinsworth before she died.

The couple, along with Collinsworth’s father and an aunt, jumped into the SUV and headed back toward Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano. They exited the Dallas North Tollway at Preston Road, just down the street from the hospital.

Moats turned on his hazard lights. He stopped at a red light, where, he said, the only nearby motorist signaled for him to go ahead. He went through.

Powell, watching traffic from a hidden spot, flipped on his lights and sirens. In less than a minute, he caught up to the SUV and followed for about 20 more seconds as Moats found a parking spot outside the emergency room.

Moats’ wife, 27-year-old Tamishia, was the first out. Powell yelled at her to get back in.

“Get in there!” he yelled. “Let me see your hands!”

“My mom is dying,” she explained.

Powell was undeterred.

“I saw in his eyes that he really did not care,” Tamishia Moats said Wednesday.

Tamishia Moats and her great-aunt ignored the officer and headed into the hospital. Ryan Moats stayed behind with the father of the dying woman.

“I waited until no traffic was coming,” Moats told Powell, explaining his passage through the red light. “I got seconds before she’s gone, man.”

Powell demanded his license and proof of insurance. Moats produced his license but said he didn’t know where the insurance paperwork was.

“Just give me a ticket or whatever,” he said, beginning to sound exasperated and a little argumentative.

“Shut your mouth,” Powell told him. “You can cooperate and settle down, or I can just take you to jail for running a red light.”

There was more back and forth.

“If you’re going to give me a ticket, give me a ticket.”

“Your attitude says that you need one.”

“All I’m asking you is just to hurry up.”

Powell began a lecture.

“If you want to keep this going, I’ll just put you in handcuffs,” the officer said, “and I’ll take you to jail for running a red light.”

Powell made several more points, including that the SUV was illegally parked. Moats replied “Yes sir” to each.

“Understand what I can do,” Powell concluded. “I can tow your truck. I can charge you with fleeing. I can make your night very difficult.”

“I understand,” Moats responded. “I hope you’ll be a great person and not do that.”

Hospital security guards arrived and told Powell that the Moatses’ relative really was upstairs dying.

Powell spent several minutes inside his squad car, in part to check Moats for outstanding warrants. He found none.

Another hospital staffer came out and spoke with a Plano police officer who had arrived.

“Hey, that’s the nurse,” the Plano officer told Powell. “She said that the mom’s dying right now, and she’s wanting to know if they can get him up there before she dies.”

“All right,” Powell replied. “I’m almost done.”

As Moats signed the ticket, Powell continued his lecture.

“Attitude’s everything,” he said. “All you had to do is stop, tell me what was going on. More than likely, I would have let you go.”

It had been about 13 minutes.

Moats and Collinsworth’s father went into the hospital, where they found Collinsworth had died, with her daughter at her side.

The Moatses, who are black, said Wednesday that 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 who attended Bishop Lynch High School and now plays for the Houston Texans.

Powell, hired in January 2006, did not return a call for comment. Assistant Chief Floyd Simpson said Powell told police officials that he believed that he was doing his job. He has been reassigned to dispatch pending an investigation.

“When people are in distress, we should come to the rescue,” said Simpson. “We shouldn’t further their distress.”

Collinsworth was buried Saturday in Louisiana.

Rebecca Lopez of WFAA-TV contributed to this report.


It’s so terrible that the mother-in-law literally died while he was dealing with the cop outside the hospital.

just another example of power crazed fools doing what they do best, being a T total pain in the donkey! fire the fool and let hin be sued civily.:eek:

That is a pretty Richard move by the po-po.

yes tis was a sad day

That cop ought to be shoveling horse crap for a living… That’s about what he’s good for.

This story makes me furious! I would have told the cop to wait, tow the car, whatever, but that I was leaving regardless…

but then think about what the cop could of done

Hopefully he would have called for backup… Possibly getting someone with a decent head on their shoulders who understands the situation a little better and wouldn’t have let it become this big of a story. :stuck_out_tongue:

That makes me sick… That guy deserves to lose his job.

Link to dashcam video

Part two

Saw it on the news and it’s shameful! The cop was still on probation the last I heard.

i think he should loose his job tho