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NFL Player's Mother-In-Law Dies as Cop Insists on Speeding Ticket


Imagine being prevented from spending a few moments with a close relative before they die because of a dickhead police officer. That's what happened to NFL running back Ryan Moats. The incident was caught on the cop's dashcam, and it's infuriating.


On a related note (and with no intent to downplay the horror of the Moats story), I wonder how many gay people have been prevented from being with their partner when they die simply because of discriminatory laws that allow visitation only by "family members"?

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  1. Family values in Bush country

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 27, 2009 12:17:19 PM

  2. It was his mother-in-law, but I guess your version is more sensational.

    The cop and the driver were both in the wrong, but I'm glad the wife ignored the cop and went to see her mother against his orders.

    Posted by: paul c | Mar 27, 2009 12:18:49 PM

  3. Congratulations, Officer Dickhead. You're fucked.

    Posted by: Jordan | Mar 27, 2009 12:22:42 PM

  4. Wow. I'm not sure what to think. I don't advocate running a red light to get to the hospital when you have a cop on your tail, but for a cop to tell anyone "I can screw you over" is utterly abhorrent. How about you go inside with him and verify the story and show some sympathy? At least his wife and other family members made it in; I was holding my breath when they were walking away waiting for them to be tackled...

    Posted by: DR | Mar 27, 2009 12:24:57 PM

  5. "I can screw you over." Very professional.

    How could pointing out the horrifying fact that gay people are often times legally prevented from being with their dying partner interpreted as "downplay[ing] the horror" of the Moats story?

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Mar 27, 2009 12:26:28 PM

  6. I don't have to imagine very hard, because this actually did happen to me when my father died. One already feels completely out of control and desperate to see their family member, and having to explain to a stoney faced police officer that you are just trying to get to a hospital because your father seized and is in a non-responsive and excelerated declinging state creates a lot of anguish. Fortunately, he was still alive by the time I got to his side, and I got to hold his hand as he slipped away.

    Was I in the wrong for speeding? According to the law, but humanity trumps law, as I believe we all can attest to.

    Posted by: Michael | Mar 27, 2009 12:28:22 PM

  7. He probably should have invited the officer inside the hospital with him. That's what I would have done.

    Posted by: Dhani Darko | Mar 27, 2009 12:29:32 PM

  8. They had on fucking caution lights! For all the cop knew someone in the car was dying, and they were rushing to the hospital. What a jackass. Typical of power-tripping cops, though. Even the police chief knows this cop wasn't completely "with it."

    Posted by: Jason | Mar 27, 2009 12:29:41 PM

  9. what the officer did was technically appropriate but sometimes you just need to forgo protocol and leave shit be.

    Posted by: Salome | Mar 27, 2009 12:30:03 PM

  10. The police officer was needlessly rude and offensive even after he heard from the suspect. I've seen this sort of behavior before. I understand the police officers are on edge not knowing what the person they stop might do so the try to get the upper hand right away with verbal intimidation. But the driver was at a hospital, and then family members get out of the car and right then the officer should have understood the situation was very different from just a driver going through stop signs. The officer did not use common sense.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Mar 27, 2009 12:30:54 PM

  11. "It was his mother-in-law, but I guess your version is more sensational."
    How is it more sensational? He was on his way to see a dying relative, does it really matter if it's his mother, mother-in-law or cousin? Clearly he was agitated, he was outside a hospital, and he gave an explanation. Perhaps it would have been a good idea for the cop to take a moment and assess the possible tragic outcomes of what was going on. And to respond "Hold on I'm almost done" when a nurse and a security officer came out to explain the situation to him is unbelievably cold. At that point, maybe you should check the ego and think about what's going on.

    Posted by: exo | Mar 27, 2009 12:33:42 PM

  12. 'I was just doing my job.'

    I have no doubt that this is the cop's rationale. But it has become the rationale for an entire society surrendering its humanity and ethics, from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street to you name it.

    Infuriatingly tragic in this situation, generally just sad.

    Thanks for spreading the word. Here's hoping change comes from this getting press.

    Posted by: notshychirev | Mar 27, 2009 12:33:55 PM

  13. I live in Dallas an I can assure you that this officer will be fired and then reinstated by an administrative board. Almost 95% of all fired Dallas police are back on the job because of this board.
    Also, the car was stopped for rolling through a red light with it's hazards on right next to a hospital. Those of you saying the family has to "share the blame" are bonkers.

    Posted by: MikeyDallas | Mar 27, 2009 12:36:19 PM

  14. A) Mother-in-law
    B) Moving violation (he ran a red), not a speeding ticket.
    Moats explained to the officer that he had intentionally run the red after carefully making sure no one was around because he was in race against the death of his wife's mother. His wife was in the car, ran into the hospital and was able to be with her mother before her death.

    Moats handled himself well in a trying situation that would like have sent lesser men to violence or petulance. The officer, on the other hand, is a lesser man.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Mar 27, 2009 12:38:01 PM

  15. I bet you if it wasn't a pro football player, they would have not even done anything about the officer. you know the deal...

    Posted by: scott in philly | Mar 27, 2009 12:48:48 PM

  16. My grandmother died alone while I was in jail in a nothing speed-trap town in northern Ohio. I was driving 15 miles over the speed limit.

    I was driving from Detroit to Cleveland and there's this bizarre situation where you get off one freeway and drive through nothing roads to get to the Ohio Turnpike. Because I couldn't pay cash on the spot and only had my checkbook (didn't have a credit card) I was thrown in jail until the next morning for the supervisor to come in. Even after I explained the situation, they wouldn't call the supervisor.

    I learned she died, and died alone, with my one phone call that I made at 3:15AM.

    Since then I've been repeatedly given every reason to hate and disbelieve anything a police officer says to me.

    Posted by: David B. | Mar 27, 2009 12:56:53 PM

  17. Many of the defendants of the Nuremberg WWII Nazi trials argued that they were "just doing their job" when killing thousands of innocent people. There comes a point when one must face a decision based on humanity and moral reason in a situation where a job or occupation brings forth an internal debate on right vs. wrong.

    Had the officer gone inside with Moats and the family and allowed them to see their ailing family member, I am sure that the family and Moats would have been more than happy to pay the ticket.

    It may have been the officer's job to ticket Moats or the driver, but he could have handled the situation a lot more differently. Maybe follow Moats into the hospital to verify their claims. The officer's rudeness and lack of compassion irks me.

    Posted by: Bobby | Mar 27, 2009 1:04:14 PM

  18. @DhaniDarko,

    There was no reason for Moats to "invite" him into the hospital. Officers are (supposed to be) trained to assess situations. Moats is at a hospital yelling that his mother-in-law is dying while his wife has run inside in tears. What more did Barney Fife need? He could have and should have walked inside the hospital with Moats WITHOUT being "invited." This ain't no damn tea party.

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Mar 27, 2009 1:05:30 PM

  19. Paid leave? What the f---!
    This poor excuse of a man and a police officer should be fired.

    Posted by: Jim/Charlotte | Mar 27, 2009 1:08:58 PM

  20. imagine how often this kind of thing happens to partners of gay patients who are not considered "family."

    i had to tell er staff in the past that i was my mother-in-law's son in order to join her there (god bless her, she responded "you ARE family"). subsequents to nj's civil union law, i explained i was her son's partner and was granted access, although i had still worried i wouldn't be allow to do so because we weren't married.

    Posted by: Rick in Robbinsville | Mar 27, 2009 1:13:08 PM

  21. jerk. i love how near the end, another officer told him "yeah, he needs to come in" and the jerk officer said "I'm almost done"

    almost done? WTF. nice.

    Posted by: liz templin | Mar 27, 2009 1:22:08 PM

  22. Unfortunately that pap smear of a cop serves my area.

    Posted by: Raven | Mar 27, 2009 1:36:47 PM

  23. I read about this on CNN yesterday, it made me sick. There is no excuse for what this cop did, no excuse.

    Posted by: CJ | Mar 27, 2009 1:40:56 PM

  24. If there is any justice in the world, that cop will die a painful death all alone while his loved ones (assuming he has any) are delayed for petty, ridiculous reasons.

    Posted by: peterparker | Mar 27, 2009 1:45:53 PM

  25. Quick scan of the comments and I don't believe anybody has yet suggested whether the officer's behavior had all the hallmarks of racist overtones.

    They pulled into a friggin hospital for crissakes! Not exactly an emergency run to the 7-11.

    Posted by: oneway | Mar 27, 2009 1:59:00 PM

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