The dash-cam video on a Dallas police cruiser revealed a horror unfolding
and a nation watched a family's pleas for compassion as the final moments of their loved one ticked away at the hands of what appeared a cold and callous police officer.
On March 27, Robert Powell made a public apology
to the NFL player, his family and the Dallas Police Department, citing "poor judgment" and "insensitivity" as being part of his demeanor on the night of the traffic stop.
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. With great remorse I accept my responsibility for adding to their grief in an already difficult time.
He went on to say that he had attempted to contact the family in person but his efforts were futile, hence the need for a public announcement. Despite his words of accountability and responsibility for his actions, strangers from around the globe have continually harassed the 25-year-old officer, even making death threats based upon their perception of his arrogance on that March night.
Moats and his wife went on Good Morning America, where they shared their acceptance of the young officer's regrets
for his actions. Moats' wife, 27-year-old Tamisha, was able to make it inside the hospital moments before her mother died. However, she did so at her own risk of life, as Powell had a gun pulled on the family during the event and defied the officer's orders to return to the vehicle. Ryan did not get to see 45-year-old Jonetta Collinsworth before she slipped from life. And yet the demeanor he maintained outside of the hospital was the same demeanor he showed during his interview: a true gentleman.
Initially, Powell defended his actions, saying that he believed he made no errors in judgment. Whether it was forced, PR or true remorse, he took full responsibility for his actions in a public apology. During a television news piece, Powell discussed his concerns over losing his job his receipt of death threats. He shared on camera his knowledge for the poor decision and how it could negatively impact his own family, and imploring others to learn from his grave mistake.
On Wednesday, Powell submitted his official resignation
even though the investigation is still ongoing:
"With a heavy heart and great sadness, I resigned from the Dallas Police Department this morning," he said in a statement issued by his attorneys. "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."
However, some questions regarding other cases involving Powell arose during the current investigation, taking into account Powell's probable history over the past three years.
A case dismissed last year showed a "hostile" Powell stating on dash-cam after he pulled over an individual:
"What's your hurry?" Powell asked.
"No hurry, sir."
"All right, try again," Powell said. "What's your hurry? ... Don't lie."
The man had been pulled over for speeding and although it was heard on the cam that Powell didn't
suspect alcohol, he was going to test him anyway which calls into question the validity of an abuse of power case. The man refused to submit to the test and was arrested for DWI. After a hearing, Powell proved himself ignorant and contradictory in court and the man arrested had the charges dropped.
Powell admitted to arresting over three dozen people for DWI's simply because he "thought" they were drunk, even if they passed a sobriety test. One man, John Britt, is serving jail time for a probation violation due to testimony by Powell regarding a DWI arrest because Powell testified that he smelled alcohol. During the hearing, Britt said "Powell was "cocky" and "arrogant" during the traffic stop." Britt also explained how Powell became angry when he refused to give a field sobriety test without his attorney present, which is typically the advice given to those who have a history of DWI. As noted in the previous case, Powell testified in court to the same thing and had it not been for the recorded evidence, a guilty verdict might have gotten through as well. The investigation into Moats' case could be the necessary evil used to uncover a pattern of unnecessary arrests.
The Moats family is still grieving the loss of their loved one and publicly accepted Powell's apology. Ryan is expected to be back in Houston next week for the start of the Texans offseason conditioning program.