Friday, March 27, 2009

Acting White: Poor Law Enforcement?

"DALLAS (AP)—A police officer was placed on administrative leave Thursday over a traffic stop involving an NFL player whom he kept in a hospital parking lot and threatened to arrest while his mother-in-law died inside the building...

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...”

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

Is this poor law enforcement or just bad luck?

James C. Collier


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Anonymous said...

What I see here is an unfortunate case of two people in intense situations acting on instinct.

Moats, with an urgency appropriate to his situation, runs a red light in front of a cop. When the sirens go on, he continues to speed toward the hospital and doesn't stop until he gets there.

The officer, on the other hand, witnesses a vehicle brazenly run a red light. The vehicle does not stop when he signals. When it finally does stop, two black women jump out of the car screaming, and then a young black man gets out of the car. They all refuse to cooperate.

At this point adrenaline is flowing for both Moats and the officer. The officer believes he is a potentially dangerous situation and doesn't understand Moats' perspective. Moats is frantic to get to his mother-in-law's side and doesn't understand how this situation looks to the officer.

The officer's slow pace and adherence to procedure angers Moats. Moats' yelling and refusal to cooperate further aggravates the officer. At this point Moats has broken at least four of Chris Rock's rules.

Surely we expect better judgment from our police officers than from average citizens. But these people are both human. Police are taught from day one that if you don't follow protocol, you can lose perps or end up dead. They learn from experience to be skeptical of explanations and to be careful with agitated suspects.

Would the situation have turned out differently if Moats was white? Maybe. But to pin it on racism, as many will probably do, greatly oversimplifies the situation.

If Moats had remained calm, he would have stopped as soon as the sirens went on, explained his situation, and probably would have gotten into the hospital much sooner. Or at the very least, the family would have remained in the car once they arrived and calmly explained the situation to the officer.

If the officer had remained calm and used some situational awareness, he would have escorted Moats into the hospital to sort the situation out.

This is poor law enforcement on the part of the officer for allowing his emotions and his "asshole cop" instinct to take over, bad luck for him that Moats is somewhat of a celebrity, and bad luck for both that the woman died while Moats was being detained.

The officer's behavior during the second half of the incident is completely inexcusable, but also very familiar to anyone who's ever been part of even the most routine traffic stop. However, an unfortunate truth that most people will ignore is that Moats would have gotten there at least 10 minutes sooner if he hadn't run that red light.

donald said...

I somewhat agree. I don’t think this is a situation of racism but rather just an, as you so well put it, an “asshole” cop.
Granted, the fact the speeding black Escalade does not stop when the cop hits the lights may make his adrenaline start surging but, one would expect that when the cop sees the vehicle turn into the hospital parking lot he would realize this is not a blatant evasion situation and expected emotional, possibly frantic or even seriously injured persons to exit the vehicle.
There is something about speeding vehicles that really freaks some people out though. Its’ like a dog instinctively chasing someone who starts running. Like this guy, he seem like his only focus became to pursue, catch, ticket. He’s not thinking …he’s enforcing . Luckily, Moats had a pretty cool head realized real quick that he wasn’t going to get anywhere trying to talk to this robot programmed to right people tickets for running red lights. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one to defend the police but this is pretty sad.
I think this is just a situation of a fat cop on a bit of a power trip. Some people that have no power anywhere else in there life and are just looking for the opportunity to use what ever authority they do have. My guess, this cop would be wearing a cape and a mask if allowed.
I did entertain how the lack of cultural bilingualism, as referred to by Mr. Collier in the article “Talking Like A White Girl could have played a part”, could have played a part. But personally I don’t see this particular cop handling “this” situation differently regardless of the other party being black, white, male or even attractive female.

Anonymous said...

Good realistic comments here....

As a kid I grew up thinking I could trust all adults, police, teachers, doctors, etc. to do their jobs to the best of their abilities but they are people too and definitely fallible.
And some, yes, plain "A" holes.

This officer could have handled it a lot better but having someone sick in the hospital and even dying does not equate to being allowed to run a red light and possible injuring or killing another person.

Both officer and Moats need reality checks......

Siditty said...

Moats had his hazard lights on while driving, in the State of Texas, where I live this is acceptable when driving during an emergency. Also in the state of Texas(where this took place) it is quite normal for a cop to escort people to the hospital when they encounter emergencies.

My cousin while driving had a stroke and turned on his hazards lights and attempted to drive to the hospital while having the stroke, not the smartest thing, but in his situation, he didn't have all his faculties. A police officer saw him swerve. My cousin made it to the parking lot of the hospital, but unlike this cop, my cousin's cop, a white man realized it was an emergency situation and didn't try to issue a ticket in this case. He instead get my cousin help, even though there was a black man swerving down the road and not stopping when he attempted to pull him over. He got the man help, which is what this cop should have done. He should have let them go on. He has the make and model of the car and the license plate number, it wouldn't take much to issue a ticket via mail, which in Dallas and Plano is common place due to red light cameras, which allow law enforcement not to even worry about pulling over people, but rather, just mail offenders their tickets.

From the video, I don't see where Moats was being disobedient, I see him being frustrated and concerned because his mother in law was dying. That he was eager for him and his grandfather in law, the dying woman's father to see her before she died. I see a fellow cop and hospital staff explaining the situation to the cop, and the cop so dead set on being on a power trip, not caring. Moats was scared, and if you live in the area (I live in Plano, TX, he place where the hospital he pulled into is located, he drove not even a block away from the light to the hospital, not miles and miles). He wasn't trying to avoid the ticket, in fact he asked the guy to write it, several times, but when someone tells you their family is dying and you have other officials corroborate the story, what does it take for you to sit back, or better yet, go in with them to the hospital to verify the story, let them in, and then write the ticket, while they have the opportunity to be with the dying woman? This guy wanted to write a ticket, he didn't give a damn about protecting and serving the Moat's family.

Once the police officer saw the hazard lights, once he saw they pulled into a hospital parking lot, once the other police officer asked him to let the Moat's family go see the dying mother in law, once the hospital staff came down and pleaded, the cop should have let the guy go inside. Now this man and the father of the dying woman missed the opportunity to be with being by her side as she passed away, all because of one asshole, who doesn't quite understand why he is in trouble, according to local news reports.

Cops are human, but it doesn't mean they shouldn't pay for the consequences of bad decisions on the job.

Also note that when the Moats ran the red light in the eleven minute video, he slowed down at the light to check from crossing traffic, and was waved by the one other vehicle on the road, since he had his hazard lights on, which in Texas is perfectly legal to do in times of emergencies. He wasn't that completely wreckless.

lincolnperry said...

White Folks making excuses for White Folks!

What if it was a Black Cop that stop a White Couple!

Anonymous said...

Not a single person here is making excuses for anyone but plainly stating the reality of the matter.

If he had stopped for that light there would have been no issue for the cop to get all bent out of joint over. Reality, not judgment or excuse.

Reality number 2. The cop screwed up big time and hopefully he will either learn something from it or get his a** canned from the force.

If it was a black cop stopping a white couple I, and I think most here would have stuck to the issue,
which is in no way racial, even though some would like it to be so there would be a supposed victim in this fiasco.

Sort of like how some people in Oakland have made the serial rapist and 4 time murderer a victim and "hero".

Anonymous said...

"What if it was a Black Cop that stop a White Couple!"

It wouldn't have made the news.

Unless the white couple was Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Anonymous said...

This young man just picked a bad time to learn a lesson that most of us learn when we're late to work or on a road trip - no amount of speeding or disobeying signs and signals will make up for the time you inevitably lose when you get pulled over.

Sure, I feel for him. And I'm pretty sure that if the cop knew that the mother-in-law would die during the stop, he would have let Moats go. Everyone needs to settle down and realize that you can't judge either party's actions by what we now know in hindsight. By the way some people are reacting (on other sites), you'd think the officer killed Moats' mother-in-law himself.

There are still some facts I'd like to know that I haven't been able to find. How long was the deceased in the hospital, and how long was she in critical condition? If her death had been imminent for days, and the family wanted to be by her side, they should have stayed at the hospital like so many others do. How far did Moats have to drive to the hospital? If it was a considerable distance, he should have called 911 and gotten an escort. Was the police car marked and visible? If so, Moats should have known what would happen if he ran the light.

The officer has apologized, and I hope Moats does the mature thing and puts this incident behind him. The last thing we need is another case of an individual's actions resulting in a massive lawsuit against the local government and, ultimately, the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

The lesson one should take away from this is "Obey the law, respect the police, or they will make life difficult for you".

Instead, I'm afraid that a lot of people are thinking "Fuck the police, they're out to get us, just hope they don't catch you".

lincolnperry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lincolnperry said...

Another poster on a site, indicated that when there mother was dying in the hospital of cancer,On the way were stopped while speeding, and explained to officer the situation, the officer provided a escort to the hospital. The couple happen to be White, and so was the officer.

This incident/episode validates my post earlier in the week. White People validate the actions of the police because they feel their liberties are being protected.

lincolnperry said...

Black Folks have been complaining about being harass on the NJ Turnpike for years, a friend in Atlanta, a former Marine, Morehouse Graduate, and Atlanta Police Officer was harassed by NJSP, and they didn't care that he was a brother of FOP, It took a member of the Black Congressional Caucass to get stopped with his family on the way to a funeral, to bring the issue of DWB to national attention, so spare me the rational rhetoric. Once Middle Class Blacks and Intellectuals experience the same harassment, then you com to your senses!

Anonymous said...

Who validated anything the cop did?
No one.
Everyone admits he screwed up and should be held accountable.

And two incidents by different people validate nothing nationally.
More generalizations.

Yes if the people in the car were white he may have acted differently but we will never KNOW.

But you can bet your a** he'll think about it from now on.
That should count for something and maybe he learned something from it or would you rather he just be taken out into the street and shot?

As this whole website shows there exists notions white people have about blacks but that will not change over night. It is deeply seated,as deeply seated as the black notion that "right is white and something to be avoided".

When will that notion change? So far you don't see high profile blacks calling for change in that way. Do you care that that ideal only drags blacks down more and more?

"Sh*t happens". We deal with it, hope to learn from it, and move on.
But constantly crying victim gets old, especially when white people can be the victim of crime by blacks and it's never heard of.
And even more importantly when blacks kill each other in overwhelming numbers and black activists refuse to acknowledge it's a problem.
So please excuse us if we can't come up with the same amount of victimized self righteousness that you do because of traffic harassment.

I have even been pulled myself because I was out late at night passing by an apartment complex that was known for drug issues.
Of course he said I was "weaving" a lie for me to justify the stop.
Then the freakin cop called 2 more cars.
I even mentioned to them I had a cousin that was a county deputy.
No matter.
They talked and talked among themselves I guess trying to find something to stick on me.
No way no how. My nose is clean as it can be.

Oh yeah, I'm white, they were white.
Does that incident validate anything.
Of course the hell not.........
But I was pissed and it had nothing to do with color.........
But they were a**holes. Possibly the same top as the cop in this article..........

Then my wife got pulled for going under a yellow light.
The cop said she was "trying to run a red light".
How the hell do you "try" to run a red light?
She's white, he was white.
And he was yet another a**hole cop.

They definitely exist and they can be a**holes regardless of color.

Anonymous said...

I personally have to agree with the cop. Moat would have gotten into the hospital a lot faster if he would shut his trap! A lot of Football player, BBall Players and other sports players think that they are some how above the law and it was right for the polive office to stop him the way he did, If moats would have just been quite and accepted th ticket or camly explain the police officer instead of yelling at him, he would have gotten there a lot faster. It is sad that he didn't get to see her but he should have acted better in the situation don't get all upset and start screaming because in the end he was wasting his own time and lost out not the cop.!

Siditty said...

If he had stopped for that light there would have been no issue for the cop to get all bent out of joint over. Reality, not judgment or excuse.

You keep saying this, but in the state of Texas, putting on hazard lights while driving indicates an emergency and more often than not when a cop sees that, he pulls over to see what the issue is, and will escort the people driving to where they need to go, not give them a ticket on the spot. You keep acting like he was smoking a blunt with a 40 oz in his other hand swerving and driving recklessly on his way to the club, not the hospital.

This young man just picked a bad time to learn a lesson that most of us learn when we're late to work or on a road trip - no amount of speeding or disobeying signs and signals will make up for the time you inevitably lose when you get pulled over.

Again, familiarize yourself with Texas driving laws in regards to hazard lights before making such an uninformed opinion.

Like I said the hazard lights on my cousin's car didn't cause him to get ticket as he was driving with a stroke trying to go the hospital, they got him help thankfully and now he is alive with minimal damage as a result.

In terms of staying at the hospital. Have you ever been at a hospital while someone is in critical condition, I have and I can tell you it is exhausting and if you aren't that far from the hospital, it is perfectly normal to go home. The Moats' live in Frisco, please get a map and see the distance of Frisco in relation to Plano. I am sure the family did what most families do, they did a rotation of family and friends staying by the woman's side, so that others can rest. Of course in your mind, that doesn't make any sense that someone might want to eat or shower, or simply be at home for a little bit in such a stressful situation.

When my mother in law died in December we stayed 14 out of a 24 hour day in her final week of life at the hospital, but we took her side in shifts, the other relatives keeping us informed of any updates positive or negative, and us keeping our cell phones close. Of course in your mind, that would mean my husband didn't give a damn about his mother.

This woman had breast cancer, yes they knew she was on her last leg, but doctors aren't always able to give an exact time line on life expectancy.

Siditty said...

I also guess explaining to an officer your mother is dying and saying "yes sir" over and over caused all of this to happen. I guess the nurses and other police officer pleading with him should have shut up too?

Anonymous said...

Siditty, you're resorting to hyperbole. The common practice of motorists in Texas is irrelevant to whether Moats would have saved time by waiting for the light.

I'm not even comfortable with putting driving to see a dying relative in the same category as driving a dying person to the hospital. Sure, the officer's behavior was unreasonable, but Moats opened the door by running the light in the first place.

"You keep acting like he was smoking a blunt with a 40 oz in his other hand swerving and driving recklessly on his way to the club, not the hospital."

No one is "acting" like that at all. He ran a red light and refused to pull over when the officer signaled, then was hysterical and uncooperative after arriving at the hospital.

Are you denying that if Moats hadn't run the light, none of this would have happened? Would the cop have tried to pull him over anyway, sheerly out of racism?

lincolnperry said...

Thanks for posting this Field, for those less than informed and in denial.