Cop who stopped NFL player in hospital lot resigns
Published - Apr 01 2009 01:33PM EST
By JAMIE STENGLE - Associated Press Writer
The police officer who pulled out his gun and threatened an NFL player with jail instead of allowing him inside a hospital where his mother-in-law was dying resigned Wednesday.
Officer Robert Powell had been placed on paid leave pending an investigation of the March 18 incident.
"I made this decision in the hope that my resignation will allow the Dallas Police Department, my fellow officers and the citizens of Dallas to better reflect on this experience, learn from the mistakes made, and move forward," Powell said in a statement issued through his attorneys.
He had stopped Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats' SUV outside Baylor Regional Medical Center in suburban Plano after the vehicle rolled through a red light.
The officer pulled out his gun and threatened Moats with jail as the player and his family pleaded to be allowed to go inside the hospital. Powell continued writing Moats a ticket and lecturing him even after a fellow officer confirmed that Moats' mother-in-law was dying.
Jonetta Collinsworth, 45, died of breast cancer before Powell allowed Moats to go inside the hospital.
Powell's resignation was first reported by Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT. He later issued an apology, and Moats said he would accept it.
"I still hope to speak with the Moats family to personally express my deep regret, sympathy, and to apologize for my poor judgment and unprofessional conduct," he said in the Wednesday statement.
He also said he wanted to apologize to his fellow officers.
A call to Dallas police was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Dallas police Chief David Kunkle previously apologized to the family and said Powell acted inappropriately. He also lauded Moats' restraint, noting that he did not try to seek special treatment by identifying himself as an NFL player.
Moats, 26, explained that he had waited until there was no traffic before continuing through the red light. When Powell asked for proof of insurance, Moats grew more agitated and told the officer to go find it.
According to video from a dashboard camera inside the officer's vehicle, Moats' wife, Tamishia Moats, and another woman disregarded Powell's order to get back inside their vehicle, and they rushed into the hospital. After Powell yelled at Tamishia Moats to stay in the SUV, she said, "Excuse me, my mom is dying _ do you understand?"