Ryan Moats showed phenomenal restraint in the face of thug cop

The only thing that truly matters is the behavior of Dallas Police Officer Robert Powell. His behavior towards Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats, as captured on his own dashboard camera, is simply unacceptable and indefensible.

View Dallas Morning News Story on Kunkle apology here.

Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle did not accept the actions of Ofc. Powell nor did he try to defend it. At a press conference on Thursday, Chief Kunkle rebuked Powell in the strongest possible manor. It took too long for this to come to light and it’s troubling that a Plano police officer is reported to have initiated the action, but I don’t know enough to comment on that part of the story.

I feel strongly that after a complete investigation, the offending officer will be fired for detaining Moats from spending those last precious moments with his mother-in-law and not allowing him to be there for his wife who was witnessing her mother die.

Chief Kunkle was asked how are officers trained to handle a situation such as Powell’s. “I don’t know how you train for these circumstances, other than to hire people with common sense and good people skills,” said Kunkle according to the Dallas Morning News. It doesn’t look like DPD did so in the case of this 25 year old cop.

In the exchange that took place between Officer Powell and Mr. Moats there is nothing that suggests race was a factor, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t look at where race fits in. When I look at how Mr. Moats was treated by Officer Powell, I think about all of the black men who have been harassed by the police i.e. Trey from Boys in the Hood.

I look at the restraint that was shown by Mr. Moats in the face of this belligerent cop. How he was able to compose himself as Powell made up laws and threatened actions while the tape continued to roll. I think of how the moment a black suspect gives in to the rage caused by a rogue officer, he basically gives them an excuse to take it to the next level.

It shows just how powerful video is as a medium for ensuring justice in the interaction between law enforcement and the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve. How different would things have been in Oakland when a BART Police Officer shot Oscar Grant in the back and killed him, had it not been recorded by citizens recording the incident on their phones?

I can tell you how different it would have been. The plights of Moats and Oscar Grant intersect in Bellaire, Texas where baseball player Robbie Tolan was shot by local police officers in his own yard. And while Bryant Gumble did an excellent story on HBO’s Real Sports, the Tolan shooting did not garner near the press coverage as the plight of Mr. Powell here in Dallas , because there were no video cameras around.

I can appreciate Chief Kunkle for his swift response –administrative leave for the offending officer- and harsh words. But there is a systemic problem here that links the shooting of Tolan and Grant, with the harassment of Moats, to the dozens of unnecessary Taser incidents involving black men and women. Keep those cameras handy, because you never know when you or one of your fellow citizens may need them.

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