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Cop keeps NFL player from dying relative

March 27, 2009 8:38:19 AM PDT
A police officer in Dallas in under investigation for how he handled a traffic stop involving an NFL player racing to get to his dying mother-in-law.Dash cam video caught the officer chasing down an SUV that went through a red light.

The driver, NFL running back Ryan Moats for the Houston Texans, was racing family members to the hospital to see his dying mother-in-law on March 18. When he pulled into a parking space, police said Officer Robert Powell drew his gun and threatened to arrest Moats.

He ordered Tamishia Moats, 27, to get back in the SUV, but after pausing for a few seconds, she and another woman rushed into the hospital. She was by the side of her mother, 45-year-old Jonetta Collinsworth, when she died a short time later from breast cancer.

As Moats tried to explain, the officer asked for his insurance card.

"My mother-in-law is dying, right now, you're wasting my time," Moats said to Powell.

But Powell was unrelenting, threatening to arrest Moats.

"Shut your mouth," Powell said. "You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light."

"I can screw you over," Powell said at one point in the videotaped incident.

After several minutes, another officer, a security guard and a nurse tried to intervene, but by the time the officer released Moats with a traffic ticket, it was too late.

Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle apologized to the family and announced that Powell would be on paid leave pending an internal investigation.

"When we at the command staff reviewed the tape, we were embarrassed, disappointed," Kunkle said. "It's hard to find the right word and still be professional in my role as the police chief. But the behavior was not appropriate."

The traffic ticket has since been dismissed.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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