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Dallas cop delays NFL player as relative dies

Plano_A police officer was put on desk duty after pulling over an NFL player rushing to see his dying mother-in-law in the hospital and holding him in the hospital parking lot as she died.

Dallas police officer Robert Powell stopped Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats' SUV outside Baylor Regional Medical Center during the early hours of March 18 after Moats rolled through a red light. Moats and his family had gotten a call saying his mother-in-law was dying.

Video from a dashboard camera inside the officer's vehicle, obtained by Dallas-Fort Worth station WFAA-TV, revealed an intense exchange in which the officer threatened to jail Moats.

He ordered Moats' wife, Tamishia Moats, to get back in the SUV, but she ignored him and rushed inside the hospital to see her mother, Jonetta Collinsworth, 45, and was by her side when she died a short time later. She had breast cancer.

"Get in there,'' said Powell, yelling at 27-year-old Tamishia Moats, as she exited the car. "Let me see your hands!''

"Excuse me, my mom is dying,'' Tamishia Moats said. "Do you understand?''

Moats explained that he waited until there was no traffic before proceeding through the red light and that his mother-in-law was dying, right then.

Moats couldn't find his insurance paperwork, and was desperate to leave.

"Listen, if I can't verify you have insurance...,'' Officer Powell said. "My mother-in-law is dying,'' Moats interrupted.

As they argued, the officer got irritated. "Shut your mouth,'' the officer said. "You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light.''

The officer later told Moats, "I can screw you over. I would rather not do that. You obviously will dictate everything that happens; and right now, your attitude sucks."

Powell also ignored the pleas of two nurses and a Plano police officer, all of whom tried to convince Powell to let Moats go into the hospital, WFAA said.

By the time the 26-year-old NFL player received a ticket and a lecture from Powell, 25, at least 13 minutes had passed.

When he and Collinsworth's father entered the hospital, they learned Collinsworth was dead, The Dallas Morning News reported in Thursday's editions.

The Moatses, who are black, said they can't help but think that race might have played a part in how Powell, who is white, treated them.

"I think he should lose his job,'' said Ryan Moats, a Dallas native.

"For him to not even be sympathetic at all, and basically we're dogs or something and we don't matter - it basically shocked me," Moats told WFAA.

Powell was placed on disptach duty pending an investigation. The ticket issued to Moats was dismissed, Lt. Andy Harvey told WFAA-TV.

"There were some things that were said that were disturbing, to say the least,'' he told the Dallas Morning News.

Powell told police officials he believed he was doing his job, said Dallas Police Assistant Chief Floyd Simpson.

© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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