NFL player Ryan Moats has accepted the apology offered by a Dallas police officer who stopped him with a drawn gun in the parking lot of a hospital where his mother-in-law was dying.
The Houston Texans running back told ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday that he hoped Officer Robert Powell was sincere in his apology.
Powell stopped Moats’ car outside Baylor Regional Medical Center in suburban Plano on March 18 after the vehicle rolled through a red light. Moats’ wife, Tamishia, and other relatives were also in the car.
The officer pulled out his gun and threatened Moats with jail as the player pleaded to be allowed to go inside the hospital. Moats’ mother-in-law, 45-year-old Jonetta Collinsworth, died while Powell wrote Moats a ticket and lectured him.
“I loved Jo ... my mother-in-law. We call her Jo. She was just like my mom basically,” Ryan Moats said.
Powell, who has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation, issued a statement on Friday through his attorneys.
“I wish to publicly and sincerely apologize to the Moats family, my colleagues in the Dallas Police Department and to all those who have been rightfully angered by my actions on March 18, 2009. After stopping Mr Moats’ vehicle, I showed poor judgment and insensitivity to Mr Moats and his family by my words and actions,” Powell’s statement said.
Tamishia Moats said she’d like to hear the apology personally, but that she, too, would accept it.
According to video from a dashboard camera inside the officer’s vehicle, Tamishia Moats and another woman disregarded Powell’s order to get back inside their vehicle and rushed into the hospital.
She was by her mother’s side when Collinsworth, 45 years old, died a short time later from breast cancer.
Powell yelled at Tamishia Moats to stay in the car.
“Excuse me, my mom is dying,” Tamishia Moats said. “Do you understand?”
Tamishia Moats told Dallas-Fort Worth television station WFAA on Monday that she was reacting instinctively.
“He could have shot me,” she said. “But at that time I was only thinking about my mom,” Tamishia Moats said.
Ryan Moats said the officer pointed his gun at Tamishia Moats and then at him.
He explained that he 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.