- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

DALLAS (AP) - 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 leave for the March 18 incident when he stopped Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats’ SUV outside Baylor Regional Medical Center in suburban Plano after the vehicle rolled through a red light. Moats’ wife, Tamishia, and other relatives were also in the car.

“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.

During the incident, caught on the officer’s dashboard camera, Moats pleaded for several minutes to be allowed inside the hospital for the final moments of 45-year-old Jonetta Collinsworth’s life. She died from cancer before Moats got there, while Powell wrote the player a ticket and lectured him.

“I can screw you over,” Powell, 25, can be heard saying on the video. “I’d rather not do that. Your attitude will dictate everything that happens.” As they argued, the officer got irritated. “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.”

Powell later issued an apology. Moats’ agent, Jordan Woy, said the couple has accepted the apology and will meet with Powell because he wanted to apologize in person. Woy said in an e-mail Wednesday that they’ll meet so “the matter can be finalized and everyone can have closure to this situation.”

Powell said he wants the meeting “to personally express my deep regret, sympathy, and to apologize for my poor judgment and unprofessional conduct.” He also said he wants to apologize to his fellow officers.

A call to Dallas police was not immediately returned Wednesday.

In the video, Tamishia Moats and another woman disregarded Powell’s order to get back inside their vehicle, and they rushed into the hospital. Powell yelled at Tamishia Moats to stay in the SUV.

“Excuse me, my mom is dying,” Tamishia Moats said before going into the hospital. “Do you understand?”

She was by the side of her mother when Collinsworth died a short time later.

Moats 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.

Police said the ticket issued to Moats was dismissed. Police Chief Kunkle has apologized to the family over the incident, saying, “When we at the command staff reviewed the tape, we were embarrassed, disappointed.”

Bob Gorsky, Powell’s attorney, said his client felt it was “time to move on.” He said Powell had no immediate employment plans but hopes to return to law enforcement.

“He wanted to keep his job very much, but he considered the toll this story was taking on his family and himself,” Gorsky said.



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