Variations On A Theme

I don't mean to make this Criminal Justice Day at the Atlantic, but a comment just linked this incredible story, that must be read to be believed:

Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle stood in front of a dozen news cameras this afternoon at police headquarters to apologize for the behavior of an officer who stopped a family outside a hospital emergency room.

"His behavior in my opinion, did not exhibit the common sense, discretion, the compassion that we expect our officers to exhibit," the chief told a packed audience of media outlets that included Inside Edition.

During the traffic stop, caught on the officer's in-car camera, Powell berated the driver, 26-year-old NFL running back Ryan Moats, and threatened him with arrest for running a traffic light.

"I can screw you over," said Powell, 25. "I'd rather not do that.

Moats was speeding because his mother-in-law was upstairs dying. He recieved a call that he and his wife should get to the hospital if they wanted to see the woman before she passed. Moats explained this several times, the cop did not care.

The chief also praised Moats and his family for how they handled the officer's behavior.

"They exercised extraordinary patience, restraint, dealing with the behavior of our officer," Kunkle said. "At no time did Mr. Moats identify himself as an NFL football player or expect any kind of special consideration. He handled himself very, very well."

Moats rolled through a red light as he and his wife were en route to Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano. A Dallas police squad car pulled their SUV over near the hospital's emergency entrance.

Moats and his wife implored the officer to let them hurry on to the bedside of her ill mother.

"You really want to go through this right now?" Moats pleaded. "My mother-in-law is dying. Right now!"

His wife, Tamishia Moats, said Powell "was pointing a gun at me as soon as I got out of the car. It was the weirdest feeling because I've never had a gun pointed at me before under those circumstances."

Powell then spent long minutes writing Moats a ticket and threatening him with arrest...
Read the whole story. It's pretty shocking, in all kinds of ways. The officer did this despite the fact that his camera was recording the stop. You really have to wonder what would happen if this dude had not have been a ball-player. Also, check out Moats response to the cop. I think a lot of black men will relate. It reminded me so much of how my mother taught me to deal with the police.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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