FanDuel - WFBC

March 27, 2009

Texas cop delays Texans RB Moats at hospital as mother-in-law dies : Dallas Police Officer Robert Powell stopped a family rushing to visit a dying mother, detaining them for 13 minutes to write a traffic ticket. One of the relatives kept from the hospital was Houston Texans' athlete Ryan Moats.

posted by gfinsf to football at 08:59 AM - 124 comments

I used to sing that with pride, now sometimes it is difficult to do that. I think the Department took the proper steps and commend I them for that. The actions of one rogue cop drags us all down in the eyes of the world. Mr. Moats seems like a very level headed man and in this case thank God he was.

posted by gfinsf at 09:28 AM on March 27

I think the Department took the proper steps and commend I them for that.

Is it usual that it's a paid leave during an internal investigation like this?

posted by dfleming at 10:07 AM on March 27

So, wait. Am I supposed to believe that this story involves someone's death, the police, a traffic incident and an NFL player, but it's the NFL player who was the model of self control and maturity? That is a nice change of pace if I may say so myself.

posted by BoKnows at 10:48 AM on March 27

I think it is great that the police chief is taking this so seriously. It is kind of surprising actually because most of the time police protect their own no matter what. Still, what a tragedy that the Moats family had to deal with this officer, and some of them didn't get to be with their family member when she passed away.

posted by bperk at 10:49 AM on March 27

Is it usual that it's a paid leave during an internal investigation like this? No it is not, as the police have unions too, but that the department took him off the streets when no actual violence occured is rare I would think. The thing that bothers me the most is he was obviously going to the hospital with family members, not coming from a bar at 4am and this still happened.

posted by gfinsf at 11:03 AM on March 27

Interesting how some people treat situations differently. Years ago, my brother flipped over his bicycle and slammed headfirst to the concrete curb. Upon hearing it, my dad rushed to the hospital, running red-lights much the same way Moats did. As legend has it, a cop tagged him, but upon hearing my brother was in the hospital, let him go.

posted by jmd82 at 11:20 AM on March 27

It seems that the cop in this story just finished his liter of cola and his syrup shots, so he was a little excitable.

posted by BoKnows at 11:27 AM on March 27

It's really easy to bash the cop here, but I'm not going to. We're talking about a guy who is an NFL running back and has the physique that would suggest, who ran a red light in the very early morning hours, didn't pull over right away, in a big city with a noteworthy crime rate, not all that long after a national story about a shooting during a routine traffic stop. And the officer was a 25-year-old without a lot of experience. He made a couple of poor choices, yes, but I sincerely doubt that racism or a "power trip" was involved. It was more likely a combination of inexperience and the natural over-caution that comes with the job.

If the cop was 42 years old, this probably doesn't happen. If this had been at 2:30 in the afternoon, this definitely doesn't happen. If this had been Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, this doesn't happen, either. It was merely a regrettable confluence of events. Do I feel bad for Moats? Yes. But I feel worse for the cop who is getting vilified for trying to do his job the best he can, even if he failed on this occasion.

I expect that in the end cooler heads will prevail, all sides will apologize for the incident, and everyone will move on with their lives.

posted by TheQatarian at 11:30 AM on March 27

We're talking about a guy who is an NFL running back and has the physique that would suggest, who ran a red light in the very early morning hours, didn't pull over right away, in a big city with a noteworthy crime rate, not all that long after a national story about a shooting during a routine traffic stop

I think we all get, as you say, Moats is black. Maybe that excuses the first 30 seconds. Take a look at the video. Somewhere around minute 8 you might change your find.

posted by yerfatma at 11:43 AM on March 27

Q, I hope you are right in that racism or a power trip were not part of this, but at the same time, a police officer making poor choices can effect people in very significant ways. Much more than making poor choices while working at the corner deli. I don't expect cops to be perfect, as none of us are, but I do expect them to have the ability to read a situation and re-act accordingly. Maybe inexperience was a part, but even the Captain of the force was quoted as saying:

"His behavior, in my opinion, did not exhibit the common sense, the discretion, the compassion that we expect our officers to exhibit,"

So again, while I hope you are right. I really don't think you are. Using words like "I can screw you over", tells me that this officer was acting with a puffed out chest, attempting to simply throw his weight around.

posted by BoKnows at 11:49 AM on March 27

Here's the video...Part 1, Part 2.

If I heard the woman correctly, near the end of the first part. Did she not claim that he was needed to give permission for resuscitation? I'm not sure how all that works, but the cop just seems to ignore the seriousness of the situation.

posted by BoKnows at 12:11 PM on March 27

I'm not disagreeing with those disagreeing with me (except on one point), all I'm saying is that in my opinion, the cop's behavior was based on being inexperienced, stupid and quite possibly a bit scared, as opposed to racism or ego.

And yerfatma, if I had intended to note that Moats was black, I would have said so. I don't believe in political correctness. But I did not feel it was relevant. While I take slight offense at your view that I was trying to insinuate something, I'll let it go.

posted by TheQatarian at 12:28 PM on March 27

Do I feel bad for Moats? Yes. But I feel worse for the cop who is getting vilified for trying to do his job the best he can, even if he failed on this occasion.

Moats and another relative missed being with a relative who was dying, and you feel bad for the cop? You are in complete denial if you don't think race plays apart in this situation and almost every other cop/black person situation. And, what part of "I can screw you over" makes you doubt that it was a power trip? Moats pulled up next to the hospital. They told the cop what was going on, but he didn't care. He still didn't care even when he knew what was going on. Of course he deserves to be vilified. He was awful and mean to people who were going through a terrible and traumatic experience. Sometimes, even cops, have to face some consequences like paid leave.

posted by bperk at 12:53 PM on March 27

But I did not feel it was relevant. While I take slight offense at your view that I was trying to insinuate something, I'll let it go.

I didn't think you were trying to insinuate anything. I just think you're dancing around the issue a bit. If that were a car full of similar white people, including an older man and woman, yelling about a dying relative in the fire lane of a hospital, would the cop have still had reason to be suspicious as you suggest?

as opposed to racism or ego

But what are the other explanations for holding the guy for 10 minutes and telling him how you could "screw [him] over"?

posted by yerfatma at 01:04 PM on March 27

I can understand the officer's initial concern with the large man in front of him who was in an (understandably) emotional state, but after the first couple of minutes, it is obvious that Moats is taking great pains not to make the officer feel threatened. While I have enormous respect and gratitude for the officers who do an incredibly dangerous job so that the rest of us can be safe, this is an isolated incident where Barney Fife was so overcome with his own sense of power, that even after hospital personnel came out to assure him that this was, in fact, an urgent situation, he continued to "lecture" Moats for several more minutes while his wife sat without him, watching her mother die. Inexcusable.

posted by txsoccermom at 01:05 PM on March 27

Qatarian: They were in front of the hospital when the traffic stop occurred. Nurses and hospital security guards came out to tell the cop that the man's mother-in-law was dying right at that moment. How in the world can you feel worse for the cop than for the two men who were denied access to a dying woman? I find that unbelievable.

As for the notion the cop was doing "his job the best he can," while the video was still running in his car after this incident, he admitted lying to his superiors to justify a car chase that was against police policy.

posted by rcade at 01:23 PM on March 27

After watching the police car video, I believe Mr. Moats did exhibit a good level of self control even during what I believe was a racially motivated behavior by the Texas Cop who I believe was blinded by his lack of love for colored individuals...

I am white, and grew up in Texas...but when I decided to date a very good looking black lady, that is when I realized how the white Texas community treats blacks, specifically in Dallas, TX...I don't need to go into details, but the racial discrimination was most evident in restaurants, and night clubs...I was even approached by two white police officers inside a patrol car, when my then black girlfriend and I were in my vehicle chatting parked in front of her home, in her black community, when I rolled my window down the cops proceeded to tell me that 'if I was you, I would leave this area, it is not a safe neighborhood'...

But as far as minority or racial discrimination, Minnesota a state where I happened to live for a number of years, is even worse than Texas...and I thought Texas was bad...

It is just another fact of life for non-white, and non-native born people living in Texas, Minnesota, and such similar states in this country of ours.

I feel sorry for Mr. Moats and his family, and I can personally state that if this happened to me, I possibly might not have been able to control myself as well as Mr. Moats did, because I was just in Dallas a month ago, in a similar circumstance, my mother suffered bleeding in her brain, and was in an ICU in a local hospital in Dallas, and she was also potentially in a state where she might have lost her life, like Mr. Moats' mother-in-law, but in my case, my mother survived...and I was fortunate to not have to speed to the hospital like Mr. Moats did...

posted by phason at 02:07 PM on March 27

I think Moats showed extraordinary patience given the circumstances. What a good guy. He also apparently loves his mother in law, which is, well not the usual story.

The cop showed nothing but the symptoms of being a bad person, not just a bad cop. It's not an easy job, which is why you can't afford to have jackasses like this in it.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:08 PM on March 27

Initially, when I started watching the video I wanted to give the cop the benefit of doubt. I hate when the race card gets played over this stuff.

That said, the cop sees the running of the red light and then the driver of the vehicle does not stop, and I am sure at this point the cop is getting his adrenalin pumping as he follows the car to where it finally stops. I can even almost understand his harshness and attitude when ordering Moats' wife to stop. I can also understand his initial distrust of the excuse. After all police deal with criminals all day so who can blame them for not immediately accepting the my dying mother excuse, because after all, generally people who do not pull over when the lights and siren go on would never, ever be dishonest would they. Unfortunately, no matter how much I tried to see the cops side of things, within about two minutes of arriving at the hospital, the cop should have been trying to help these people not be behaving like an asshole. I don't think he demonstrated any judgenment skills and that is not something you want in the police.

He could have easily escorted the Moats into the hospital without wasting any time and verified the story. It is naive to think race did not play a part in his behavior. The attitude and behavior of this officer is discraceful, and this is coming form a person that would generally give any cop the benefit of the doubt.

I also thought for a moment that Moats should have immediately stopped, pulled over and explained the situation requesting the officers assistance to get them to the hosiptal quickly. But of course that is a white guys perspective and now that I have seen this video, I am sure my experiences with police helpfullness are different than those of young black men.

I commend Moats for not playing the I am a professional athlete card, and in a way am distressed that if not for the fact that he is, this is another incident that would not even make the news. This cop may not have even been held accountable if not for the fact that he did this to the family of a football player instead of an average black family.

posted by Atheist at 02:58 PM on March 27

I expect that in the end cooler heads will prevail, all sides will apologize for the incident, and everyone will move on with their lives.

Moats doesn't have anything to apologize for. Is he supposed to be sorry for trying to get to the hospital to see a family member before she died??? Or that he didn't pull over in a timely manner?

posted by cheemo13 at 03:56 PM on March 27

Sad story to say the least. Another story like the Stallworth case, in that if a pro athlete wasn't involved, it probably doesn't even make the 5:00 PM news in Dallas.

I'm sure cops hear every excuse imaginable after pulling people over, however, this cop clearly showed a lack of judgement once the hospital personnel got involved. He just had so many other options...(following the family into the hospital to check it out, keeping the driver and letting the others walk in right away, keeping the driver's license and letting him go into the hospital)...that to pull the "I can screw you over' routine just is over the top.

As to rasism being involved, I will refrain from jumping on that bandwagon. I have heard similar statements from cops in my lifetime, some of which were the same race as I am. In all cases it was at night, with a younger officer involved. I tend to think that their inexperience coupled with an adrenalin rush creates a situation in which they have a hard time controlling their power. Not excusing it, just saying that I don't necessarily think it's racist.

posted by dviking at 04:45 PM on March 27

Sportsfilter: if a pro athlete wasn't involved, it probably doesn't even make the 5:00 PM news in Dallas

posted by yerfatma at 05:07 PM on March 27

Another story like the Stallworth case, in that if a pro athlete wasn't involved, it probably doesn't even make the 5:00 PM news in Dallas.

I think this one was making the news regardless. By the time Officer Power Trip was done teaching a lesson, several nurses, security guards, and a Plano cop were aware of what was going on. It's not like Ryan Moats is a well-known player. This story has legs because the officer was such a dick.

posted by rcade at 05:15 PM on March 27

This is the kind of thing that Black folk claim happens every damn day in every town in America. Police trying to show "the big bad black man" who's boss. We are only hearing about this because it involves an NFL player. If this was Ray Ray driving an accord with rims, we would probably be hearing "off duty police officer shoots unarmed man for failing to pull over and driving as if he had crack and guns in the car". Yea, this has nothing to do with race at all.

What's next, is someone going to mention that Moats should be glad that he didn't get shot for reaching in his glove box to get his registration? (because he's big and scary looking you know)?

Is it just a coincidence that NHL players or NASCAR drivers are never on the other end of these types of stories?

posted by sportsblitz at 05:20 PM on March 27

Is it just a coincidence that NHL players or NASCAR drivers are never on the other end of these types of stories?

What exactly are "these types of stories"? This story is about a cop being a dick. I would expect any athlete, regardless of sport, would act in very much the same fashion that Moats did.

I think this one was making the news regardless.

Maybe. But would you, rcade, have any interest in it if there wasn't an athlete involved?

posted by BoKnows at 05:29 PM on March 27

But would you, rcade, have any interest in it if there wasn't an athlete involved?

I won't speak for him, but c'mon. I'd be heartbroken for anyone going through that. Bad enough to lose someone, but to have that moment made worse by some overly enthusiastic gym teacher with a badge is horrible. "making the news" == "people would be interested". Stuff that people don't have interest isn't in news, for better or for worse.

posted by yerfatma at 06:03 PM on March 27

But would you, rcade, have any interest in it if there wasn't an athlete involved?

That's a weird question, for two reasons.

1) Ryan Moats is a backup running back who has spent most of his career on the practice squad. I had never heard of the guy prior to this.

2) I run a news site.

So, yeah, I'd care about it. When did I become the poster child for only caring about stories with a sports hook?

posted by rcade at 06:25 PM on March 27

Let's be honest, there are good people who become peace officers because they want to do good. There are also some under-self-esteemed mental midgets who become cops because they want to wear a badge and a gun. I was an enlisted Marine in Vietnam, and I can tell you that there are also good people in our armed forces, and people that you would never, ever want to be in a situation with in which they had more-or-less absolute authority over you.

I just bring the Marine thing into this because I'll bet a lot of the scariest dudes I knew in the Nam, either stayed in or got out and entered some other profession involving a uniform and a gun. Like I said, there are wonderful people in the peace officer profession, and in the armed forces, but when we want to give them the benefit of every doubt because they're doing a job we don't want, that's bs.

Jmho.

posted by outonleave at 08:32 PM on March 27

When did I become the poster child for only caring about stories with a sports hook?

The other story (Stallworth), much to my chagrin, included useless information of the players career, future deals, type of vehicle, etc... This story focused more on the subject matter. I wasn't sure if this story was intriguing enough for you without the needless fill associated with the athlete. As it were, that information, was what you claimed made the story "national newsworthy", and without that person involved (and his athletic accomplishments), it may have never gotten any attention at all. I'm not suggesting that you are any type of poster child, I'm merely attempting to once again prove my point that a news article can focus on the subject matter at hand, keeping the needless fill to a minimum, all the while maintaining the interest of its readers.

You said my 'line of reasoning was crushing your will to live', but in this case, my line of reasoning seems to apply itself very well here.

posted by BoKnows at 09:46 PM on March 27

I couldn't believe this when I first saw it. It is just simply amazing how the cop wouldn't let him go. Just stunning. They even had nurses, and the plano cop. Wow.

It feels good to be back, haven't been on here in a while. lol.

posted by STUNNER at 09:53 PM on March 27

Just watched the video again. Cop- "your attitude sucks", I'll put you in cuffs for running a red light", "I'll tow your car for being illegally parked". "Shut your mouth, shut your mouth or i'll take you to jail".

Moats- My mother/mother in law is dieing (repeatedly).

Cop- "it doesn't matter what's going on you can't run a red light and your attitude sucks".

"I could screw you over, what happens from here on out is up to you, so shut your mouth"

Ryan is probably alive for 2 reasons, 1. He had people with him. 2. This (the incident) didn't take place on some back road while he was by himself.

That bitch cop was doing everything in is power to provoke him just because he wouldn't "shut his mouth" like he was told.

If Ryan was in fact the only person who could give resuscitation permission the cop should be fired and brought up on charges for abusing his authority. Any cop who brags about, or threatens to screw someone should be fired because that type of person isn't protecting or serving shit but his own ego.

posted by sportsblitz at 10:12 PM on March 27

During the final 2:00, after Moats was allowed into the hospital, the two cops that were on the scene had gathered to talk about the situation. It seems that the other cop was coming from the other direction and upon hearing the call expected the "chase" to pass by him. But since it didn't, he said he figured they went to the E.R. So, my point is that cops shouldn't have any reason to be naive about a car, semi-speeding, hazards on, running red-lights and then pulling into a E.R. parking lot. I think it's pretty clear at that point what is going on.

IMO, the cop just doesn't have much ground to stand on. It seems he is the only one that believes his actions were justified.

posted by BoKnows at 10:51 PM on March 27

This story focused more on the subject matter. I wasn't sure if this story was intriguing enough for you without the needless fill associated with the athlete.

Who cares if I think it's intriguing enough or not? Stop making me the issue.

posted by rcade at 11:28 PM on March 27

It is just another fact of life for non-white, and non-native born people living in Texas, Minnesota, and such similar states in this country of ours.

Similar states? How about any state? Rodney King didn't get beaten in a similar state. A cop has a lot of power. Some go into that profession for the wrong reasons. That can happen in any state.

Blame the cop, not the state.

posted by justgary at 11:37 PM on March 27

Who cares if I think it's intriguing enough or not? Stop making me the issue.

You cared enough to question and critique my reasoning previously, why is it not okay for me to do the same now?

posted by BoKnows at 11:41 PM on March 27

BoKnows,

The Part 2 link has been removed from Youtube. I think part one was enough to convince me that this cop was out of line.

posted by brainofdtrain at 12:04 AM on March 28

I just pulled up both links, brainofdtrain. But you're right, the first is convincing enough.

posted by BoKnows at 12:17 AM on March 28

If Moats being a NFL RB isn't a major part of this story, why does every single news story about this case mention it front and center?

I do not justify what the cop did, I think he clearly showed a lack of judgement. However, I also think similar situations play out every day, we only keep hearing about this one due to the celebrity status of Moats...odd given that no one had heard of him prior.

As to: It is just another fact of life for non-white, and non-native born people living in Texas, Minnesota, and such similar states in this country of ours

I've spent significant time in both Texas and Minnesota, and it's hard to imagine two more dissimilar states. Unfortunately, racism exists everywhere, and there are good cops & bad cops everywhere.

posted by dviking at 12:48 AM on March 28

You cared enough to question and critique my reasoning previously, why is it not okay for me to do the same now?

Your question -- "would you, rcade, have any interest in it if there wasn't an athlete involved?" -- presumes that I wouldn't care.

The point you wanted to make -- "a news article can focus on the subject matter at hand, keeping the needless fill to a minimum, all the while maintaining the interest of its readers" -- has nothing to do with me.

The icing on the cake for me, personally, is that I'm from the area where this took place, as my bio states. I grew up in Dallas around a mile from Plano. So there's that, and the fact that I was discussing this on a non-sports site previously, and the fact that I wouldn't know Ryan Moats from Ryan Seacrest.

Other than that, though, the implication that I only care because an athlete is involved is right on the money. Please close the window into my soul when you're done peering into it.

posted by rcade at 01:32 AM on March 28

Window closed.

posted by BoKnows at 02:43 AM on March 28

You're winning some game no one else is playing.

posted by yerfatma at 07:18 AM on March 28

The officer is now admitting his mistake and apologizing, though he did it through his attorney.

I know some people think this officer's taking too much criticism, and that we should accept that police are in a difficult and dangerous job where they will make some mistakes. But the ability to apply lethal force requires sound judgment. When an officer does something that calls this into question, maybe he should find another job before he makes another big mistake and gets somebody killed.

posted by rcade at 10:53 AM on March 28

You're winning some game no one else is playing.

Is it being played on a Sega Saturn?

I have no issues with the cop pulling over Moats and being a little skeptical about the hospital issue at first. It should have been pretty apparently pretty quickly, though, that it wasn't a line of bullshit.

Good luck serving and protecting at the mall, toolbag.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:04 AM on March 28

I saw that done through his attorney. The attorney's words, I'm sure, the officer didn't/couldn't write it. I guess he or his attorney felt he should not be "videoed" saying I'm sorry. How ironic.

posted by gfinsf at 11:15 AM on March 28

couple of my comments on this 1) despite those insinuating that "you would be naive to believe that race didn't play a part in this", I really don't believe it has as much to do with it as people think. As a white man, I've been on the receiving end of enough of these power-trip/bullying by police to believe that this guy would have acted the same regardless of the race of the occupants. Now I'm not saying all police officers are this way, but there are certainly those that are more interested in pushing their authority to the extreme, as this guy did, and it usually has little to do with race (other than the people they usually get to assert that authority on tends to be minorities)

2) the cop has apologized. I personally think that is utter crap, because just yesterday there were reports that he had repeatedly defended his actions and felt he did nothing wrong. Now, today, he's saying people are "rightfully angered" by his actions? Sounds like CYA to me.

posted by bdaddy at 06:30 PM on March 28

I'm merely attempting to once again prove my point that a news article can focus on the subject matter at hand, keeping the needless fill to a minimum, all the while maintaining the interest of its readers.

The readers of this site are here because they wish to talk about sports and the lives of the people who play them. As a result, Joe Average's police stories aren't applicable but Moats' is. If you want to grind an ax about journalistic integrity, there are other outlets than here to do it than at the poster of this article.

posted by dfleming at 11:33 PM on March 28

A. rcade did not post this story.

B. I did not start this game. I questioned the Stallworth article and then I was criticized for my opinion of it. Again, it was not based on the inclusion of the useless content, it was the structure. I did not and do not expect any or all of you to agree with me. That's up to you. But rcade decided to include himself in the previous conversation, which is fine of course, but he shouldn't expect a free pass. You get what you give.

C. I understand what this site is about - Sports related news/discussion/events - I get it. What I don't get, is why sports fan need to be reminded of career stats, contracts, college attended, etc...front and center. For ex: Joe Blow just killed some guy, but before we get to that, lets discuss his 'Cribs' episode, color of his car, rings on his fingers and college roommate, then maybe, if there is room, discuss the fact he was drunk and killed someone. I hoped sports fans, including Spofi, to have some sort of compassion for the subject matter, not just an addiction of stats.

posted by BoKnows at 12:21 AM on March 29

And it begins ...

The Dallas Morning News reports that Maritza Thomas, wife of former Cowboys linebacker Zach Thomas, was handcuffed and spent approximately three hours in jail after Dallas officer Robert Powell pulled her over for an illegal U-turn in July 2008.

Of course, in addition to the illegal U-turn, she was also cited for:

* failure to show proof of insurance * running a red light * improper address on driver's license * registration sticker not on windshield

And now she'll be made out to be the victim here when she broke the law and had FIVE violations. Should she have gone to jail? I don't know -- would you necessary believe someone who does all those things and then might make the claim she's married to a Dallas Cowboy?

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:27 AM on March 29

I hoped sports fans, including Spofi, to have some sort of compassion for the subject matter, not just an addiction of stats.

Those things are not mutually exclusive.

posted by dfleming at 09:03 AM on March 29

I should also mention that if you remove the sentences at the end of the article on his career and any sentence with "NFL" in it except the intro as to who was involved, you still have 881/1004 words in the article. Not exactly dominating the content, even for a Sports Illustrated article.

posted by dfleming at 09:10 AM on March 29

And now she'll be made out to be the victim here when she broke the law and had FIVE violations.

Well couldn't she be? Couldn't the 5 "minor" violations and an arrest be an example of a bullying cop who is basically following through with his threat on another individual of "I can screw you over". I can certainly envision (especially with these other recent events) a guy who doesn't feel Thomas's wife was giving him the respect he feel he deserves so he tacks on charges (4 of which were later dropped) and hauls her to jail unnecessarily. Certainly fits his M.O., after all, he very nearly did the same to Moats in this video taped encounter (and in fact threatened to do the same).

I'm not saying that's how that encounter happened, but it's not hard for me to make that leap either.

posted by bdaddy at 10:37 AM on March 29

And now she'll be made out to be the victim here when she broke the law and had FIVE violations. Should she have gone to jail?

Hell no. She had no prior arrest record and was stopped for making an illegal U-turn (the only charge that wasn't dropped). It's a bit silly to make a public issue of her arrest now -- open season on Officer Power Trip! -- but that arrest is a total waste of court and jail resources.

The article on her arrest should not have omitted the fact that Zach Thomas made 65 tackles and one fumble recovery last year.

posted by rcade at 10:37 AM on March 29

Well, dfleming, thanks for jumping in, but please try to stay current. Most of my structure comments relate back to the first Stallworth FPP. I hope you didn't count all those words just for me, because I agree with you, in fact I even said so above. In case you miss it again, I'm referring to this line:

This story focused more on the subject matter.

My question was: Without the useless fill, is this story intriguing enough for the sports fan? A question in which I was wrong in directing it at rcade. I apologize for that.

At this point, I am done with this debate. Let's all agree to disagree. But I do hope to have continued debate and to give and get mutual respect regarding one's opinion in the future.

posted by BoKnows at 01:06 PM on March 29

While in hindsight it's easy to say that Maritza Thomas should not have been detained for three hours...where do you draw the line? Rcade, as you know, here in this great state of Texas, we have a lot issues with uninsured motorists...one almost killed my entire family a few years ago...that I have absolutely no problem with her being detained for a week if she can't prove she has insurance. Add that to the list of other violations, and I absolutely want her checked out before allowing her to continue to drive. Just because the other charges were dropped, does not mean that the violations didn't exist. BTW, according to the full article in the paper, it is pointed out that the officer never knew she was married to a NFL player, so it appears to be random, and not some sort of vendetta against NFL players.

posted by dviking at 01:07 PM on March 29

If it's standard practice for Dallas police to detain traffic violators without proof of insurance, then I don't have a problem with it. But I doubt that's the policy.

Just because the other charges were dropped, does not mean that the violations didn't exist.

The converse is also true -- just because the charges were originally filed doesn't mean they happened.

posted by rcade at 03:43 PM on March 29

A question in which I was wrong in directing it at rcade. I apologize for that.

Thanks. No harm, no foul. A little heated discussion now and then is good for the colon.

posted by rcade at 03:44 PM on March 29

The converse is also true -- just because the charges were originally filed doesn't mean they happened.

Since no one is saying that, I'm going to believe that is not the case.

As to whether, or not, it's standard practice to detain traffic violators without proper proof of insurance...a local officer explained to me this way, as he was writing me a ticket for an illegal left turn, and excessive use of my horn. "I'm going to ignore the fact that you have a brake light out, because if I cite you for three violations I have to take you to the station." Now, he could have been just trying to scare me, but I doubt it. I think the multiple offense situation makes it easier to detain someone, especially someone without insurance/registration and an incorrect address on their license. Don't really want to get into a long back and forth on this, it's lost the sports connection at this point.

posted by dviking at 06:45 PM on March 29

I'm just waiting for the lawsuit and the settlement. How many digits?

posted by jjzucal at 06:46 PM on March 29

it is pointed out that the officer never knew she was married to a NFL player, so it appears to be random, and not some sort of vendetta against NFL players.

I don't think a vendetta against NFL players was ever in question here. I think the issue was whether (a) the cop did what he did based on race, or (b) if he was a power tripping dickhead.

wanders off to get his head examined

posted by tahoemoj at 06:54 PM on March 29

dviking:

Since no one is saying that, I'm going to believe that is not the case.

dviking, if a cop pulls you over, how many charges do you think they can trump up -- if they want to give you a bad time?

tahoemoj:

I don't think a vendetta against NFL players was ever in question here. I think the issue was whether (a) the cop did what he did based on race, or (b) if he was a power tripping dickhead.

Or both. That's my vote.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:30 PM on March 29

if a cop pulls you over, how many charges do you think they can trump up -- if they want to give you a bad time?

Exactomundo. I have a few friends that are police officers and I've been told on a few occasions that most can find a reason to pull you over. It could be something as minor as not having you license plate illuminated properly. And your attitude can dictate how deep they will dig.

posted by BoKnows at 08:03 PM on March 29

And now she'll be made out to be the victim here when she broke the law and had FIVE violations. Should she have gone to jail?

Despite all the evidence that the officer was more than willing to arrest Moats for some crap - running a red light and failure to show proof of insurance, etc - you still believe his trumped up charges against Thomas? What does an officer have to do until he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt?

posted by bperk at 08:05 PM on March 29

dviking, if a cop pulls you over, how many charges do you think they can trump up -- if they want to give you a bad time? Wow, a bit late to the discussion. No one, not here, nor in Dallas, has stated that Maritza Thomas did not commit the offenses. The only question up for debate is whether, or not, she should have been taken into custody. Obviously, an officer could make the whole thing up. In this case this does not seem to be what happened. But, thanks for pointing out what an officer is capable of.

And, tahoemoj, I only added the vendetta statement as it seems rather odd that one officer out of all of the Dallas police force could be involved with two similar circumstances involving NFL players in such a short period of time. It wasn't insinuated by anyone, I was just stating that according to the Dallas Morning News the officer did not know who Maritza Thomas was married to.

posted by dviking at 09:06 PM on March 29

Addressed to LBB, bperk and others:

I get how an officer could fabricate an illegal U-turn and running a red light. However, you'll have to inform me how any officer can trump up a charge of having the incorrect address on your driver's license. Either you do, or you don't. Also, either you are driving with proof of insurance or you aren't. It wouldn't be too terribly difficult to prove you weren't lacking in proof if you whipped it out at the station house, would it? Ditto for lack of registration.

I'm pretty sure if these charges had been phony, the lawyer would have immediately pointed it out. He didn't, and neither did Mrs. Thomas.

So, you are now backing someone with a minimum of two relatively serious violations, one technical one and two which could be serious (one of which Thomas was guilty of)?

And that's why I said it begins. The runaway "Everything this guy has ever touched is solid shit" train has left the station -- please have your tickets punched by the lynch mob at the rear. The guy's a jerk, no doubt, and should be relieved of duty. It doesn't mean everyone else he ever came in contact with is a saint.

I'm also curious why the rest of you don't see what I did when I read this -- the cop filed five violations against the wife of a Dallas Cowboys player and four were dropped? That sounds like an awfully friendly court to me.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:34 PM on March 29

To me, it sounds like a busy court. She had no record and did have insurance, so they took deferred adjudication on one charge and called it a day.

posted by rcade at 09:49 PM on March 29

From personal experience, it seems fairly common to have multiple traffic charges reduced to one violation here in the Dallas area. At least that worked for me in the case I referrenced above. They quickly dropped the illegal left turn charge if I agreed to the excessive use of horn charge.

In most cases you have to pay a processing fee to have the charges removed, the fee is almost as much as the fine would have been. However, one is glad to pay it as it stops the charge from going on your record, and thus raising your insurance rates.

Since Maritza Thomas isn't saying that she didn't commit the various offenses, I'll guess that she paid the processing charges and moved on. BTW, never saw a judge, a clerk at a window took care of it for me.

posted by dviking at 10:49 PM on March 29

dviking:

Wow, a bit late to the discussion.

I'm not accountable to you for how I spend my time.

No one, not here, nor in Dallas, has stated that Maritza Thomas did not commit the offenses.

Were not all charges but the illegal u-turn dropped?

[second edit: would it not be nice if the Edit feature didn't remove all line breaks? yes it sure would]

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:51 AM on March 30

wfrazerjr:

I get how an officer could fabricate an illegal U-turn and running a red light. However, you'll have to inform me how any officer can trump up a charge of having the incorrect address on your driver's license. Either you do, or you don't. Also, either you are driving with proof of insurance or you aren't. It wouldn't be too terribly difficult to prove you weren't lacking in proof if you whipped it out at the station house, would it? Ditto for lack of registration.

This was in the article you posted:

"Four of the five tickets issued against Maritza Thomas were later dropped including failure to show proof of insurance, running a red light, improper address on driver's license and a registration sticker was not on the windshield. She accepted deferred adjudication for the illegal U-turn charge, and her record will be cleared next month."

I'm also curious why the rest of you don't see what I did when I read this -- the cop filed five violations against the wife of a Dallas Cowboys player and four were dropped? That sounds like an awfully friendly court to me.

Or a DA who knew that four of the five charges were bullshit. What evidence do you have that they dropped the charges out of the goodness of their hearts? When you hear hoofbeats, look for horses.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:55 AM on March 30

Well, dfleming, thanks for jumping in, but please try to stay current. Most of my structure comments relate back to the first Stallworth FPP.

I realize that. I also realize that there have been two Stallworth FPP's in the past 16 days, of which you participated in both of them, and see absolutely no need for you to drag this dead horse around for another beating.

That said, if you're dropping it, I'll drop it and we'll wait for the next opportunity to spar about it.

posted by dfleming at 09:09 AM on March 30

So, you are now backing someone with a minimum of two relatively serious violations, one technical one and two which could be serious (one of which Thomas was guilty of)?

Do you really see serious violations here? An illegal u-turn, the one she was guilty of, deserves a ticket. That's it. In the ordinary course of things, people don't go to jail for that. Even if you don't have your insurance card or registration with you, an officer at most gives you a ticket that requires you to submit proof of them. It is rare, according to the Municipal Judge in Dallas, to put someone in jail for this sort of thing. It's rare. Powell, who we know is an asshole, did it anyway. The prosecutors dropped these serious (according to you) violations, so clearly they didn't think it was that serious. Maybe not everything Powell touches is shit, but anything rare certainly deserves a closer look. And, a closer look at this reveals him once again power-tripping. Throwing someone in jail and impounding her car for an illegal u-turn.

posted by bperk at 09:49 AM on March 30

Were not all charges but the illegal u-turn dropped?

Folks, please don't assume that just because a traffic charge was dropped, that somehow that means the driver did not commit the offense.

Here in Texas, as well as most states, it is an offense to not have proof of insurance on you at all times. She did not have it. She later was able to provide it, and the charge was dismissed, however, at the time of the arrest she was not in compliance with the law. Same goes for the incorrect address, and the speeding charge.

As I stated, I have experience with the Dallas traffic cops, they dismissed charges quickly for me, however, that didn't mean that I did not commit the offense.

posted by dviking at 11:32 AM on March 30

I'm sorry, work setup won't allow me to view the video. What document did the officer have to contradict the address on her license? How did he know that was incorrect?

posted by yzelda4045 at 12:45 PM on March 30

The quote yerfatma referenced from the NYTimes blog was not available when I posted my comments. It also doesn't change anything for me.

If you're involved in a traffic stop as a passenger, do everyone a favour and shut the fuck up. It's not your place to be having a discussion with the police officer unless you're asked, much less start "begging" for him to leave you alone.

LBB, thanks for posting that. It didn't answer my question, but thanks. If you'd like to take another run at explaining how an officer can trump up the wrong address on a driver's license, no registration windshield stricker and no proof of insurance, feel free. The fact the charges were dropped probably has much more to do with:

a) a friendly court b) a busy court c) Officer Dickhead went beyond the scope of his duties in the stop also and the court felt it best to drop most everything to keep this from coming out

than it did with the PO being wrong or falsifying the charges. Again, if that were the case, why wouldn't Thomas or the lawyer have pointed that out? Even Thomas says her mom was begging to go get the paperwork -- or in other words, she was knowingly driving in violation of Texas state law and wanted to get out of it after she was stopped for a moving violation or two. Sorry, but it doesn't work like that.

bperk, I get that it's rare to put someone in jail for a moving violation. How about two moving violations, three other offenses and maybe having difficulty conducting the stop because someone's mom won't shut the hell up? More understandable?

Again, I'm not saying I agree with the officer here -- I don't, and after how he handled himself with Moats, I don't think he should be a cop. But I didn't disagree with his initially handling of the Moats arrest (up to the point where he should have just gone into the hospital with them to check out the story), and I don't know that I disagree with Thomas going to jail. To me, five offenses (one of which is not dissimilar to lying about your place of residence to an officer) means you get in the back of the squad car and go for a ride.

You all want to dump every bit of the blame on the cop. I get it.

I don't. I'd prefer to see some of it get around to the people who broke the law also.

And as for it being unusual to make an arrest in the same situation as Thomas was in, Dallas Police says it ain't ususual.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:21 PM on March 30

I'd prefer to see some of it get around to the people who broke the law also.

Ok, shame on Moats for running a red light. In the grand scheme though, that's not much of a crime and it's something I've done, so I can't cast too many stones. I get where you're coming from, but it feels like you've simply dug your heels in and put blinders on. We're talking about a cop who's gestured to or unholstered his weapon in at least two traffic stops. I don't think we need to spend too much time wringing our hands about the state of citizen driving.

posted by yerfatma at 03:58 PM on March 30

from the article wfrazerjr just linked to: But Dallas police say it is not unusual for an officer to arrest someone who is issued three or more citations during one traffic stop.

hmmm, where have we heard that before?

Oh, that's right, I noted that in my post yesterday.

As wfrazerjr pointed out, we do need to remember that Thomas got into the situation she was in because she did not follow the law.

posted by dviking at 03:59 PM on March 30

As wfrazerjr pointed out, we do need to remember that Thomas got into the situation she was in because she did not follow the law.

So did Moats. It doesn't mean that Powell handled either of those situations properly.


How about two moving violations, three other offenses and maybe having difficulty conducting the stop because someone's mom won't shut the hell up? More understandable?

For DUI, suspended driver's license, etc., I understand it. Not having the most up-to-date insurance card, and not changing your address within a certain number of days of your move, these are not serious violations in my world. These could happen to anyone with a busy life or absent-minded. I'm pretty sure a cop like Powell could find some violation on anyone if he chose to do so. Even if you throw in a busted tail light, and her windows are tinted too dark, I still don't think an arrest is a good approach. An arrest is if it is someone who is dangerous or is otherwise unlikely to appear for a citation. Absent some situation like that, I'm not going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

As to her mother, we don't know if Thomas's mother got upset before or after Powell planned to arrest her, so I'm not going to speculate on what effect that may have had.

posted by bperk at 04:59 PM on March 30

And as for it being unusual to make an arrest in the same situation as Thomas was in, Dallas Police says it ain't ususual.

from the article wfrazerjr just linked to: But Dallas police say it is not unusual for an officer to arrest someone who is issued three or more citations during one traffic stop.

Here's another quote from that article:

Based on those citations alone, an arrest would not be required, but it also generally would not be inappropriate, Simpson said.

"It's a judgment thing on the cops at that moment," Simpson said. "The core of what we do is just discretion, and it needs to be that way."

Judge C. Victor Lander, the city of Dallas' chief municipal judge, called it "relatively rare" for an officer to arrest someone on the spot.

"It really is giving the individual a break by issuing them a ticket. But it's a break most people get," Lander said.

So despite the Dallas News headline, it seems that it is unusual (rare = unusual) for someone to be arrested on the spot. It is at the discretion of the officer. And from what we've seen in the Moats case, this officer clearly lacks discretion.

posted by cjets at 05:19 PM on March 30

If I made an illegal U turn and ran a red light, and I didn't have proof of insurance on me and the car lacked a registration sticker, I would not have been too surprised to get arrested.

Powell's conduct with Thomas looks bad because of his subsequent actions with Moats. But in all fairness, hindsight could just as easily have made him look bad for letting her go without an arrest, if she'd gone on to hurt somebody behind the wheel. I'm sure some of the people he pulls over for multiple violations don't have insurance and are a danger on the road.

posted by rcade at 05:58 PM on March 30

My last post on this issue...I promise.

Keep in mind two things: One, at three violations it becomes "not unusual for an officer to arrest someone" Thomas had five violations.

Two, there's a difference between not having as bperk called it "the most up-to-date insurance card" and not having proof of insurance. She could not prove that she had insurance.

I'm not a big fan of this particular cop, he clearly lacks the judgement one would hope for in a police officer, I just don't want the Thomas case to become part of the Moats case.

posted by dviking at 07:08 PM on March 30

Ok, shame on Moats for running a red light. In the grand scheme though, that's not much of a crime and it's something I've done, so I can't cast too many stones. I get where you're coming from, but it feels like you've simply dug your heels in and put blinders on. We're talking about a cop who's gestured to or unholstered his weapon in at least two traffic stops.

I'm not disagreeing with you about the officer's general conduct -- nor have I in any of the posts I written said I thought the cop was right. So I'm not sure where the blinders are coming from, unless you've fitted them for yourself and bperk.

Of course he was wrong for gesturing toward his weapon. That doesn't mean everyone else is now off scot-free. Here's a simple rule for folks, I guess -- if you don't want to run into crazy police officers, don't pull illegal U-turns with no proof of insurance, registration sticker and/or an improper driver's license.

Out of curiosity, cjets, why would you take the word of the Chief Municipal Judge of Dallas over the Assistant Chief of Police? I'd say they're either pretty equal or I'd lean in favour of the cop to know the facts better about arrests.

Not having the most up-to-date insurance card, and not changing your address within a certain number of days of your move, these are not serious violations in my world.

You aren't a cop. However, if someone had racked up five violations, wouldn't you consider that a bit more serious?

These could happen to anyone with a busy life or absent-minded. An arrest is if it is someone who is dangerous or is otherwise unlikely to appear for a citation.

As an addendum to the above, wouldn't you think someone who had five violations -- and one of them being a driver's license that didn't show her proper address -- might not come to the judicial party?

The law is the law. You break it, you run the risk of going to jail. You shouldn't expect to be treated the way Moats was -- but you should to receive the full weight of the possible penalties.

posted by wfrazerjr at 07:45 PM on March 30

Two, there's a difference between not having as bperk called it "the most up-to-date insurance card" and not having proof of insurance. She could not prove that she had insurance.

Not to nitpick here but there is no difference. The cop needs to know she HAS insurance not HAD insurance. If she can't find her card or finds a card that expired on 3/26/09 and its 3/27/09 than she has no proof of insurance. Both constitute a failure to produce proof of insurance and is not a serious what so ever (in NY at least) provided you can submit proof of coverage for the day the ticket was issued. You in no way have to be detained for such an infraction. I worked for the insurance company with a reptile mascot for a number of years and handled thousands of this situations, it is not serious at all.

Again things maybe different in NY but from my personal experience a cop can give you several tickets in one shot (my experience was for a seatbelt, tail light, expired registration, expired insurance card) I was told to step out of my car and the State Trooper called a tow truck. The Trooper told me I could take a ride with the tow and call a friend but I could not get the car until I went to court or the DMV and settled my registration issues. I was so livid I told the tow guy to fuck off and was left by an NY State Trooper on the side of the Meadowbrook State Parkway on Long Island. In fact so serious were these 4 violations that all I ended up paying was an $80 seatbelt ticket, the other 3 were thrown when I mailed in my insurance card, proof I fixed my light (which a Nassau County cop didn't even bother to look at he just signed the paperwork and took my word) and current registration. I was able to retrieve my car on Monday (I got nailed on a Saturday) after going to the DMV and getting my updated window sticker for the registration I ain't buying this 5 tickets = jail argument.

At the end of the day the officer in the Moats case exercised poor judgment and when you are in a job like that poor judgment can get innocent people hurt or cast an extremely negative image for your PD, I am sure his fellow officers are pissed because they know they will be under a microscope now.

posted by HATER 187 at 08:16 PM on March 30

Out of curiosity, cjets, why would you take the word of the Chief Municipal Judge of Dallas over the Assistant Chief of Police? I'd say they're either pretty equal or I'd lean in favour of the cop to know the facts better about arrests.

They don't appear to be making contradictory statements. The Asst. Chief of police says that the officer has the discretion as to whether or not to arrest them. The Judge seems to agree and adds that in most cases the traffic violator is not arrested.

I've seen, on video, that this officer lacks discretion in at least one case. And it's pretty egregious. So, it's a fair assumption to make (given that Thomas has no previous criminal record and the officer motioned toward his weapon) that he did not show proper discretion with Thomas either.

As far as the Chief Municipal Judge, I would expect that it is his job to know what percentage of traffic violators are arrested. I wouldn't say that his knowledge is greater than the Asst. Chief of Police. But I would expect it to be equal to the Asst. Chief of Police's knowledge.

The law is the law. You break it, you run the risk of going to jail. You shouldn't expect to be treated the way Moats was -- but you should to receive the full weight of the possible penalties.

The same is true for Officer Powell. If you strut around like big badass cop and prevent a man rushing to the ER from seeing his dying Mother in Law (which already makes Moats a better person than I am), you should expect to have every previous arrest and traffic stop you ever made scrutinized by others.

posted by cjets at 08:31 PM on March 30

Okay, so I lied...this will be the last comment I make on this thread

Not to nitpick here but there is no difference. The cop needs to know she HAS insurance not HAD insurance. If she can't find her card or finds a card that expired on 3/26/09 and its 3/27/09 than she has no proof of insurance. Both constitute a failure to produce proof of insurance and is not a serious what so ever (in NY at least

While technically you may be correct, I think there is a difference between having no insurance card, and having one that just recently expired. I would think having the card that expired the day before gets you a little more leeway than not having the card. Given what was said in the article, I don't think she had a recently expired card.

Also, given the current state of reality here in Texas, with a huge uninsured motorist problem, it is a big deal not to have insurance. Driving without insurance is a misdemeanor in Texas, not a traffic violation, thus it makes it even easier for the officer to consider arresting the violator. Minimum fine for the offense is $175.00.

posted by dviking at 09:39 PM on March 30

Driving without insurance is a misdemeanor in Texas, not a traffic violation, thus it makes it even easier for the officer to consider arresting the violator.

She wasn't driving without insurance. She was driving without proof of insurance. Those are not the same thing.

The law is the law. You break it, you run the risk of going to jail. You shouldn't expect to be treated the way Moats was -- but you should to receive the full weight of the possible penalties.

If an officer decides to give the full weight of the possible penalties only to those who have more melanin than him, well they probably deserved it anyway. Why should it matter that they end up spending time in jail when the maximum penalty for the violations are fines?

posted by bperk at 09:37 AM on March 31

She wasn't driving without insurance. She was driving without proof of insurance. Those are not the same thing.

Well, no, but until you show you just plain forgot it, I think they are in the eyes of the law.

posted by yerfatma at 09:51 AM on March 31

Where did the Officer get he idea that the address on her license was not correct? In Kansas City, you can get multiple traffic citiations and not get arrested. It happened to my son when he was driving with a suspended license (didn't pay or appear in court for an earlier ticket). So I'm going to have to side with the opinion that the officer exhibited poor judgment. It sounds as if he started down a path and his pride would not allow him to back up when it was apparent that Moats was really a guy who was trying to get to the hospital to see an ill family member.

posted by yzelda4045 at 10:14 AM on March 31

Where did the Officer get he idea that the address on her license was not correct?

Probably from her. While the article doesn't specify, my guess is that she told the officer that the address was incorrect. I know that if I were in that situation (having an outdated drivers license) I would say so.

posted by BoKnows at 10:38 AM on March 31

How is admitting to the address being incorrect on your license helpful if you are stopped for making an illegal u-turn?

posted by yzelda4045 at 02:46 PM on March 31

The same is true for Officer Powell. If you strut around like big badass cop and prevent a man rushing to the ER from seeing his dying Mother in Law (which already makes Moats a better person than I am), you should expect to have every previous arrest and traffic stop you ever made scrutinized by others.

See, we don't really differ here. His other stops and arrests should be scrutinized -- but just because he's a dick doesn't mean the other people involved aren't. Maritza Thomas was breaking several laws and went to jail. No one in the Dallas PD or the judicial arm there seems to be too upset about it. But people here are immediately willing to leap to the conclusion that Officer Dickhead made the whole thing up. Can't it be a little from Column A and a little from Column B?

Well, no, but until you show you just plain forgot it, I think they are in the eyes of the law.

Bingo, yerfatma. Hell, I've been ticketed for no proof of insurance and had it dropped myself. But had I pulled an illegal U-turn and run a red light, then conveniently had no registration sticker and the wrong address on my license ... well, I wouldn't have been shocked to find the officer didn't believe I really and for truly did have insurance.

If an officer decides to give the full weight of the possible penalties only to those who have more melanin than him, well they probably deserved it anyway. Why should it matter that they end up spending time in jail when the maximum penalty for the violations are fines?

Okay, first off -- do we have any proof at all that this officer was only targeting blacks and Hispanics? Isn't it possible he's just a shitty cop who was likely to do this to anyone?

And as for the jail time, I work from the same premise most cops do -- if you're doing one or two things wrong, there's an excellent chance you're doing more than that wrong. In this case, he was right. Thomas pulled an illegal U-turn and ran a red light, and guess what? She also had three other violations.

Whether you think he was a penis for enforcing the law, well, I guess you can think that. I wouldn't, except he apparently gestured at his gun during the stop, which would seem to have been unnecessary.

However, something I'd also like to know -- did Thomas tell the Dallas PD that the cop gestured to his weapon at the time she was jailed, or did she toss this out now? If she mentioned it then, it would seem more likely to me they would have made all the charges go away so it wouldn't get out.

But they didn't, and now she says he "gestured" at his weapon. What exactly does that mean? He waved at it? He rested his hand on the butt of it? He did a little boogaloo and then jazzed hands around it?

On preview:

How is admitting to the address being incorrect on your license helpful if you are stopped for making an illegal u-turn?

Because admitting you're too lazy to update your license is probably preferable to having the nice officer find out when he goes back to his car and runs it himself.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:13 PM on March 31

Maritza Thomas was breaking several laws and went to jail. No one in the Dallas PD or the judicial arm there seems to be too upset about it. But people here are immediately willing to leap to the conclusion that Officer Dickhead made the whole thing up. Can't it be a little from Column A and a little from Column B?

I don't think that we really differ here either. My best guess is that he had a legitimate reason to pull her over (the U-Turn) but overrreacted by both arresting her and motioning for his gun (I think he unlocked his holster).

As far as the other infractions, I don't know enough about them but the fact that they were dismissed and that she has no prior criminal history, plus my own experiences with overzealous cops, leads me to believe that he acted like "Officer Dickhead" just as he did in the Moats case.

If he really did have concerns about public safety, he could have towed the car without arresting her, which would have had the same effect.

posted by cjets at 04:16 PM on March 31

I should say unbuttoned (not unlocked) his holster.

posted by cjets at 05:11 PM on March 31

How is admitting to the address being incorrect on your license helpful if you are stopped for making an illegal u-turn?

Really?

posted by BoKnows at 12:25 AM on April 01

The officer has resigned.

posted by rcade at 02:10 PM on April 01

The officer has resigned

Good. Have fun chasing kids on skateboards at the mall you power hungry, racist asshole. A minimum of 3-5 Black males in the area just had their life extended since they will not be shot for minor traffic offences (by him anyway).

Hey powell, it's pretty ironic that the 1 who should have "shut their damn mouth" was you. I would have loved to see his face when they let him know he had to resign or get fired. I can picture him attempting to give his side of the story only to be told (by someone with authority over him) that the circumstances didn't matter, and he better just "shut his damn mouth" and quit.

Reap it.

posted by sportsblitz at 03:55 PM on April 01

As far as the other infractions, I don't know enough about them but the fact that they were dismissed and that she has no prior criminal history, plus my own experiences with overzealous cops, leads me to believe that he acted like "Officer Dickhead" just as he did in the Moats case.

My experience as a police reporter has shown me there are far more overzealous dickheads out there without badges. There can be a dick on both sides.

As for dismissed infractions, again, it has little to do with whether she was guilty of them and more the desire of the court and prosecutors to get a guilty on something and move on. It's one of the little facts of life that pisses cops off to no end.

Good. Have fun chasing kids on skateboards at the mall you power hungry, racist asshole.

Sigh.

Again, we have no idea whether he's a racist or just a really lousy cop. No other cases have been reported, so it's possible that it just happened to be a black guy and a Hispanic woman he was a dick to. It's nice to see everyone jumping to that conclusion, though.

If he was a black cop who had stopped two white motorists, would we all be arriving at the same faulty premise?

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:25 PM on April 01

If he was a black cop who had stopped two white motorists, would we all be arriving at the same faulty premise?

I think it's been made pretty clear that the officer made poor choices, regardless of his skin color.

We all?

posted by BoKnows at 08:55 PM on April 01

Sigh.

Again, we have no idea whether he's a racist or just a really lousy cop. No other cases have been reported, so it's possible that it just happened to be a black guy and a Hispanic woman he was a dick to. It's nice to see everyone jumping to that conclusion, though.

Right. Wake up my friend. He knew the camera was running. Imagine if there was no camera. He wanted to say "boy" so bad it was killing him. Answer 1 question honestly for me. Have you ever been a victim of racism involving a police officer? I have. Twice actually. So forgive me for recognizing the symptoms and pointing this out.

We have no idea? You have no idea. Have you ever had your rights as an American or more importantly a human being violated because of what you look like? Until you have you might not want to comment on such issues.

The only faulty premise here is your defence of a piece of shit with a badge. I reiterate, until you've had a gun pointed at you simply because you look different than the person holding it, you may want to keep your head down on this issue.

posted by sportsblitz at 10:49 PM on April 01

Have you ever had your rights as an American or more importantly a human being violated because of what you look like? Until you have you might not want to comment on such issues.

So, one must experience something first hand before having an opinion of it? That is ridiculous.

posted by BoKnows at 11:07 PM on April 01

My experience as a police reporter has shown me there are far more overzealous dickheads out there without badges. There can be a dick on both sides.

Sure. And there are plenty of good cops out there too. But we're not talking about cops in general. We're talking about Officer Powell, who we've seen in action on videotape, so I already know he's an overzealous dick.

As for dismissed infractions, again, it has little to do with whether she was guilty of them and more the desire of the court and prosecutors to get a guilty on something and move on. It's one of the little facts of life that pisses cops off to no end.

Do you know this for a fact? Or is this just your interpretation? Running a red light is pretty serious. In any jurisdiction I've been in, all a cop has to do is say "She ran a red light" in court and you're guilty. Maybe they dismissed the rest of the charges because Powell was overzealous and they just wanted it to go away.

posted by cjets at 11:17 PM on April 01

A minimum of 3-5 Black males in the area just had their life extended since they will not be shot for minor traffic offences (by him anyway).

You're getting carried away here. The guy made a bad judgment call at a traffic stop. That doesn't mean he was a racist who was going to kill up to 5 black traffic offenders. For all you know he's an equal opportunity a-hole.

posted by rcade at 01:11 AM on April 02

So, one must experience something first hand before having an opinion of it? That is ridiculous

Actually, my point was, since he has never experienced it, he may not want to be so quick to defend it or dismiss the idea as a faulty premise all together. He is basically saying there is no evidence to arrive at the conclusion that powell is a racist, there fore powell is not a racist. By that logic he is arriving at the opposite conclusion that i arrived at, with LESS evidence. Ironic to say the least. This may cause you to ask what evidence I have, so i point to his attitude during the event and equate it to the attitude of an officer that i have had experience with myself.

Now as far as me saying he may want to keep his head down concerning the matter, I'm merely trying to emphasize the sensitive nature of the experience. If you have never experienced such egregious behavior first hand, then you can't even imagine what the hell I'm talking about. you can certainly try, but you will not come close.

You're getting carried away here.

You have taken my only exaggerated, off the cuff remark and chose to comment on it. Oddly enough, It seems I am the only one who would be interested to know if powell was every involved in any "police shootings", hence the remark. It was meant to invoke one's thought process in the direction of wondering about just that. This incident is evidence that there has been an overzealous asshole (who may or may not be a racist) wandering the area with a gun on his hip, and the ultimate authority to use it at his discretion. I find it alarming (but not coincidental) that I am the only person concerned about this.

posted by sportsblitz at 08:23 AM on April 02

So, one must experience something first hand before having an opinion of it? That is ridiculous.

I don't think that is true. However, with regard to treatment of black people (and other minorities) by police officers, it seems to be true. I am always surprised at the complete rejection by many (not all) white people of the obvious disparate treatment of minorities by police officers. Instead, people take every single Rodney King situation and evaluate it to see whether someone said "nigger." If yes, then it is racist. If no, then it is not. Maybe it is a logical fallacy to take the reality of terrible treatment of black people by cops and apply it to particular situations. Unfortunately, there seems to be a better chance of being right than doing it the other way around (i.e., never racist until proven to be so).

If he was a black cop who had stopped two white motorists, would we all be arriving at the same faulty premise?

What point does this kind of question serve? Are we supposed to deny that there is racial prejudice in this country that effects our interactions with each other?

posted by bperk at 09:47 AM on April 02

Powell lied about smelling alcohol on the breath of someone he stopped in traffic, leading to the man's arrest for DWI that was later thrown out of court.

"The officer is kind of a jerk," the prosecutor said at the time, "so that's going to count against us when we're trying it in court."

posted by rcade at 09:50 AM on April 02

Here's another great detail from a story in Dallas, which is giving this more coverage than the Kennedy assassination: Moats ran the red light after stopping at the intersection with his hazards on and getting another motorist's OK: "With his hazard lights on, Moats stopped at a red light near the hospital and then drove through it after the motorist with the right-of-way signaled for him to go ahead, he told police."

What officer wouldn't pull a gun on such a menace?

posted by rcade at 09:54 AM on April 02

Unfortunately, there seems to be a better chance of being right than doing it the other way around (i.e., never racist until proven to be so).

Calling someone a "racist" is an extremely harsh charge, in my book. I would hope that we consider people innocent unless there's strong evidence of prejudice. Here, all we have is suspicion that it must have been racially motivated. It's just as likely, knowing what we do, that he was a dick to everybody.

posted by rcade at 11:10 AM on April 02

Calling someone a "racist" is an extremely harsh charge, in my book. I would hope that we consider people innocent unless there's strong evidence of prejudice. Here, all we have is suspicion that it must have been racially motivated.

Calling someone a racist has become such a harsh charge that it is somehow worse than actually being a racist these days. I don't think any of us have the same threshold as to when we will deem someone a racist anyway. I'm fine with using the racially motivated language instead in these situations if people find it more palatable. Everyone has prejudices that effect our behavior. But, I don't think it is helpful or even realistic to require strong evidence that race was a factor in each and every situation if you acknowledge that race is often a factor in these situations.

posted by bperk at 11:49 AM on April 02

But what evidence do we have that this officer is a racist?

posted by rcade at 11:56 AM on April 02

I don't know if the officer is racist or not. I'm going to assume that there was a racial motivation for a few reasons. The history of the Dallas PD is very ugly in this regard (so is the entire country for that matter). The officer was hostile immediately for no apparent reason. The officer's statements after the incident indicate that he didn't think he did anything wrong. If Powell made a habit of arresting and/or harassing white, soccer moms, he would have suffered the consequences of that path immediately. And, there is another case involving the same officer that is out-of-line affecting a minority. Sure, none of those reasons are good enough on their own, but I don't think I'm being unfair to Powell by looking at the totality of the circumstances. What evidence do you have that race played no factor? I'm not going to assume that everyone behaves in a completely colorblind manner until I have incontrovertible proof. I think that's a threshold that is nearly impossible to meet. And I think most people of all races utilize our prejudices all the time. If evidence comes out that Powell is equally hostile to a 72-year old white grandmother, I will revise my opinion accordingly.

posted by bperk at 12:48 PM on April 02

What evidence do you have that race played no factor?

The fact that no one has come forward with any evidence of racially motivated arrests, at a time when the officer is Public Enemy No. 1 in Dallas.

I grew up in Dallas and most of my family lives there. Although there's an ugly racial history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, it's not the same city it used to be. Dallas had an enormously popular black mayor from 2001 to 2006, Ron Kirk, and the Dallas County sheriff is a Hispanic lesbian who added LGBT anti-discrimination policies to the department. The climate is not one in which a young officer like Powell could have expected to make race-motivated arrests and get away with it.

posted by rcade at 02:14 PM on April 02

Very well thought out discussion and good points from both previous posters. The comments do make me actually realize that maybe had the offender been a young white male dressed like eminem hollering; Yo Yo dog my mums-in-law is about to die yo. I'll admit that the officer would have probably behaved the same way. So the question remains can that be racism? Beings that both parties would be white.

I think the answer is yes. Should we call it cultural-ism? Powell would probably be looking at the offender thinking, look at this little wannabe. Is this speculation? Sure it is.

It is very likely that powell is an equal opportunity asshole. But you can not argue with anyone that says they can picture him acting totally different towards someone who looked like his wife or mother. Do you think he would have pulled his gun on Mike Modano or Dale Earnhart jr. or any White man wearing a 3 piece suit? Not likely. Just watch the video again and ask yourself what force could drive someone to behave in that manor. You'll find your options will be limited.

Instead, people take every single Rodney King situation and evaluate it to see whether someone said "nigger."

I was going to make a similar comment. If they don't have white sheets on yelling nigger, then they can't be racists can they?

posted by sportsblitz at 02:57 PM on April 02

I don't know if the officer is racist or not.

And that's why you shouldn't be jumping to the conclusion, and it directly led to my question about turning the races around. Had the officer been black and Moats white, there wouldn't have been a word uttered about racism -- he just would have been a shitty cop. We leap to play the racism card because there's probably good justification for it, but wouldn't we be better served to just call the guy Officer Dickhead and wait for the rest of the story to come out?

He's already a dong. Do we need to tar him as a racist when you have no proof he is?

You'll find your options will be limited.

No, you'll find your own options will be limited. Mine aren't. I reviewed them all, called the guy a douche and am willing to wait to see what other information comes out about his racism -- or lack thereof.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:31 PM on April 02

He is basically saying there is no evidence to arrive at the conclusion that powell is a racist, there fore powell is not a racist

There is no evidence either way. So both conclusions, at this point, are junk.

...equate it to the attitude of an officer that i have had experience with myself.

That's called stereotyping. Which, unless I am mistaken, is exactly what you're preaching against. If evidence comes out that Powell is equally hostile to a 72-year old white grandmother, I will revise my opinion accordingly.

Guilty until proven innocent.

I agree 100% that this guy is a piece of shit, completely not suited to be a police officer. Without a doubt. But, like rcade mentioned above, this guy has been public enemy No. 1 for about a week. And no one has claimed his actions were racially motivated, at least no one that has a direct link to the cases. It sounds to me as though he would be just as big of a douchebag to anyone who gives him lip.

Just watch the video again and ask yourself what force could drive someone to behave in that manor

I had zero idea of Powell's race by watching the video. You can't see him at all. My first instinct was simply ego.

posted by BoKnows at 08:13 PM on April 02

One last post...this time I mean it.

Living in Dallas, I have to agree with a prior post that since no additional cases have been brought up that would show Powell to be racist, I'm going to believe that racism was not the driving force behind this incident.

There are just too many people out there, that if he had a history of this type of behavior only around people of color, we'd know about it.

On a side note to the Maritza Thomas story, Dallas has now changed their laws in an attempt to control the uninsured motorist problem. If she gets stopped without proof of insurance now, the police will confiscate the vehicle, and tow it away at her expense. Whether, or not, she's detained will still be up to the officer.

Powell's off the force, so racist or not, he's done in Dallas.

posted by dviking at 10:01 PM on April 02

That's called stereotyping.

Actually I was a victim of racism by the 1 officer I mentioned, and i got to view the other officer in action towards another Black man. Are you kidding? I'm not merely assuming something based on the way this guy looks or something. We got to see him in action. His behavior was very similar to that of the officer I mentioned. That's not stereotyping brother, that's called EVIDENCE.

He's already a dong. Do we need to tar him as a racist when you have no proof he is?

I agree 100% that this guy is a piece of shit, completely not suited to be a police officer

Could either of you qualify your remarks any more than this. It's almost like your saying, OK we admit he may be an asshole, but cut him some slack on the other stuff.

Offering any kind of defence for this guy after viewing that video and considering all the circumstances is ridiculous. Hey, i know, lets wait and see if he ever treated a 72 year old White woman like this. Hey what if the races were reversed? Here we go. When is the last time you saw something like this where the races were reversed? That's what I thought. Junk my ass, the pig got what he deserved. Reap it.

posted by sportsblitz at 03:06 AM on April 03

We leap to play the racism card because there's probably good justification for it, but wouldn't we be better served to just call the guy Officer Dickhead and wait for the rest of the story to come out?

First, please don't use the race card phrase. Racism isn't some card that is played. It is a sad reality that part of our population has to deal with everyday. The card phrase is just an easy way to diminish that reality.

Second, the point I am trying to make is that I don't agree that we would be better served by that approach, and I don't think it is realistic. Racism can't be everywhere when you look at disparate treatment or effect and nowhere when you look at specific cases. If you believe that there is disparate treatment of black and white people in their dealings with police (which I honestly don't know if you believe, but I do), then waiting around for some proof that we will never have doesn't serve our society well. It also doesn't at all further the discussion of how to deal with the problem. I think the Moats case is a prime example of how awful some police officers can be, and I think that minorities see this side of police officers a lot more often.

If evidence comes out that Powell is equally hostile to a 72-year old white grandmother, I will revise my opinion accordingly.

Guilty until proven innocent.

We aren't talking about a crime here. We are speculating about his motivation. You think he is just an asshole to everyone he encounters. I suspect he isn't.

posted by bperk at 09:54 AM on April 03

First, please don't use the race card phrase. Racism isn't some card that is played.

I'm going to have to disagree with you there. There are people who make cynical use of the racism charge for personal gain or political advantage. Police officers aren't the only job with their share of assholes.

posted by rcade at 12:41 PM on April 03

There are people who make cynical use of the racism charge for personal gain or political advantage.

There are certain people who use the charge of racism for some personal gain (see Burris). It is wrong when they do it, and it doesn't make racism any more of a card to play. Even if the term was only used in that circumstance, then I could at least understand it. Instead people use it to easily dismiss any mention or any discussion that involves race. And, that's the whole point of using it to complain that another oversensitive person is once again thinking every thing is about race when they need to just get over it.

posted by bperk at 01:25 PM on April 03

I'm going to have to disagree with you there. There are people who make cynical use of the racism charge for personal gain or political advantage.

I agree 100%. However that is not the case here. Moats never mentioned race once. So why enter this into the discussion. I'm the main 1 pointing to the race issue here having been a victim of it my self. Do I have something to gain? Where is my, I've been a victim of racism prize? There is no cash award for the person who can prove they are right in this conversation.

Playing racism down to being some half assed phony claim or excuse is offensive to me. While you may not be doing that, a select few here are.

If a person can't watch that video and hear hate in the officers comments and see it in his actions, well those select few are the ones that figure if they didn't hear him call moats a nigger then he's not a racist. Plain and simple.

posted by sportsblitz at 04:04 PM on April 03

First, please don't use the race card phrase. Racism isn't some card that is played. It is a sad reality that part of our population has to deal with everyday. The card phrase is just an easy way to diminish that reality.

Gosh, thanks for opening my eyes! Racism is really real? You know another way to diminish the reality of racism? Calling someone or something "racist" when you have no idea whether they or it really is.

We can all agree the officer is a jerk, but that's apparently not good enough for some people. Because there was a black man involved, it automatically has to be racism. Why? Because you think there's a good chance of it? Well, so do I, but I'm not going to start fitting the guy for a robe and hood. I'll wait until the evidence comes in.

Playing racism down to being some half assed phony claim or excuse is offensive to me. While you may not be doing that, a select few here are.

If you can show me where I've said racism is a phony claim or an excuse, please feel free. What I've said is that you are willing to leap to calling the officer a racist because it suits how you want to frame the incident and apparently the police in general. That's fine.

I'm not willing to do the same. I'm going to wait to see if there's a history of racist issues with him, and I think there's a good chance there is. But what good does it do to rush in and say, "Oh, he must be a racist?" You get to say you were first?

Congratulations on that.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:31 PM on April 03

Playing racism down to being some half assed phony claim or excuse is offensive to me. While you may not be doing that, a select few here are.

I'm not playing it down, or up. It doesn't exist here. Except in the idea that somehow, this cop is meeting the stereotype that you have put on people who resemble your experience. It is a stereotype. Period.

Like Fraze, I am not willing to make assumptions regarding a very serious subject that Powell has not been accused of. If he is accused, then fine, he may be racist. If he isn't accused, then my opinion is just as valid as yours.

So why enter this into the discussion.

Yes, why?

posted by BoKnows at 08:14 PM on April 03

I'm not willing to do the same. I'm going to wait to see if there's a history of racist issues with him, and I think there's a good chance there is.

It's hard to present this kind of evidence from JAIL, and even harder from the grave. Yea, this is the only time Powell felt like he could "really screw a Black man over". Give me break with that crap.

What I've said is that you are willing to leap to calling the officer a racist because it suits how you want to frame the incident and apparently the police in general

Ok, so 2 cops equal police in general, and i want to frame them? What's next, are you going to say my wallet looked like a gun and that's why i got shot 41 times?

We can all agree the officer is a jerk, but that's apparently not good enough for some people. Because there was a black man involved, it automatically has to be racism. Why?

Sigh. My nephew is a jerk. The guy who cut me off on the highway yesterday is a jerk. My buddy bragging when his team beats mine is a jerk. Powell is just a jerk? Give me a damn break with this If Don Imus was Black there would have been nothing wrong with what he said bullshit mentality. You think they forced him to quit because he is simply a jerk? Your horns are starting to show brother.

I'm not playing it down, or up. It doesn't exist here. Except in the idea that somehow, this cop is meeting the stereotype that you have put on people who resemble your experience. It is a stereotype.

You are merely trying to accuse me of what the officer is guilty of to validate a point that doesn't exist. It's NOT a stereotype, it's behavior. you can choose to ignore and or excuse it if you want to. I will not.

It seems like you may need to stare down the barrel of a pistol for no other reason other than what you look like. Have you ever been alone with a guy that was pointing a pistol at you for no damn reason at all? Have you ever wondered if that person was going to actually kill you? Have you ever tried your hardest to figure out why you came that close to death only to realize it was because the other guy hated niggers? There you go, take that in and wonder if it's a stereotype.

Yes, why?

That's why.

Powell actually got less than what he deserved. period. Being a jerk is not cause to be forced into quiting your job. Powell is an asshole racist who got what he had coming.

All other racist, asshole, power tripping cops take note. Keep pulling your 9mm's on Black men for simply running red lights and you will also REAP IT.

posted by sportsblitz at 10:40 PM on April 04

you can choose to ignore and or excuse it if you want to.

Based on the information and statements given by the people actually associated with the events, there is nothing to ignore or excuse. I'll chose to base my opinion on their story, not your made up version.

If for some unfortunate reason, I end up staring down the barrel of a gun, do you think that will influence me to stereotype more or less? I think the answer would be more, which is why I think your view is tilted.

Again, I will not accuse someone of something like racism, without having solid evidence of it. Right now, there is none. Let's agree to disagree.

posted by BoKnows at 12:09 AM on April 05

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