I just spent fifteen minutes watching the video of a Dallas police officer who held NFL player Ryan Moats in a hospital parking lot for running a red light while the man’s mother-in-law died. The video is a must-watch, in my opinion.

There are a few points at which this incident went horribly wrong. The officer was within his rights and duty to chase after somebody who had run a red light. But shouldn’t he have taken a moment to wonder what was going on as he began to gain on the SUV as Moats began to navigate through the labyrinthine hospital parking lot? A person up to no good would not pull into a parking lot; they’d just continue to gather speed on the highway. Shouldn’t the officer have wondered if perhaps there was a woman in labor in the vehicle? Or someone giving birth in the hospital? Or somebody dying? Those thoughts wouldn’t have stopped him from checking out what was going on but at least he could have started out with those questions.

If he absolutely had to write a ticket, couldn’t he and Moats have reached an agreement by which he wrote up the ticket and mailed it to Moats’s address once he had the appropriate material, thereby letting Moats and his family get to the dying woman’s bedside?

There’s really no need to go into the two or three separate occasions on which this police officer was clearly informed that Moats’s mother in law was coding and had coded several times. Even the presence of a nurse wasn’t enough for the officer to stop his condescending lecture about the attitude of these distraught men. And about that lecture, let’s not shove under the rug the implied charge of “uppitiness” from the officer, who insisted on demanding respect for his authority, despite the fact that he was younger than everybody involved. While race may not have played a part in the initial encounter, you cannot convince me that this officer would have taken the same tone if it had been a white suburban housewife driving under similar circumstances.

Finally, Moats’s wife and another female family member ignored the police officer and ran into the building. But another man stayed behind with Moats; apparently this man was Moats’ grandfather in law, the father of the dying woman. Reports are that he stayed behind to make sure his grandson in law was safe. So let’s get this straight: this man missed the opportunity to say goodbye to HIS OWN DAUGHTER out of fear that the police officer might beat or kill Moats. Wow. If that isn’t a commentary on the state of race in America, I don’t know what is.


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