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

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"?


  1. paul c says

    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.

  2. DR says

    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…

  3. says

    “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?

  4. Michael says

    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.

  5. Jason says

    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.”

  6. Sargon Bighorn says

    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.

  7. exo says

    “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.

  8. says

    ‘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.

  9. MikeyDallas says

    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.

  10. Jonathan says

    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.

  11. says

    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.

  12. Bobby says

    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.

  13. soulbrotha says


    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.

  14. Rick in Robbinsville says

    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.

  15. liz templin says

    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.

  16. peterparker says

    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.

  17. oneway says

    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.

  18. BMF says

    Can you imagine, a loved one’s parent is dying and you cannot be with them to help them in that unbelievably difficult time because an officer has to write a ticket?

    David B: I am so sorry to hear your story, but I am sure your grandmother knew you were thinking of her.

  19. mike says

    White cop, black driver. No further explanation needed as to why the cop wasn’t more lenient, considering the situation. What is amazing is that the driver is going SLOWLY through the red light with his hazard lights flashing. The driver is not speeding. My understanding is that this is a universal signal to police that the driver and/or occupants are in distress. I am surprised that cop-asshole didn’t try and get physically abusive (or worse) with the driver. I’m glad he didn’t, of course, but it would have been a typical cop-asshole reaction. My son’s wife gave birth a year ago to their second child. They live out way out on Long Island, but because of the crappy insurance plan he had at his job (now gone), he had to drive into Queens, NY, to a local hospital because it was the only one who would take his insurance. His wife had gone into labor that night, so my son, his wife and my grandson (their first child) got into the car to come into Queens. He was speeding (not excessively) and he had his flashers on. By now, his wife in full labor. A Nassau County police followed my son, pulled him over and got very belligerent and abusive even after the cop-asshole saw that my son’s wife was very pregnant and in labor. They were desperate but the cop-asshole said, “I don’t care if your wife is dying, son. You were speeding and your gettin a ticket.” My son’s wife pleaded with the cop-asshole. He told her to shut up and if “anybody says anything else, I’m going to arrest you (my son)”. My grandson (then 8 years old) was in the back seat and started to cry because he was afraid. The cop-asshole shines his flashlight into the boy’s eyes and says, “Tell your kid to shut up and stop cryin!” Long story short: the cop-asshole finally wrote the ticket, let them continue onward, and followed them the rest of the way to make sure my son didn’t go over the speed limit. Once they passed into Queens County, the cop-asshole (Nassau County) turned back. My son and his wife made it to the hospital and within ten minutes, she had given birth. I tried to complain to the Nassau County police, but to no avail. Actually, the two responses that I did get were “well, he was speeding” and “speeding is speeding”. My son said to let it go, since the only important thing is that the baby came out OK and the baby’s mom was OK. I never was a fan of the police, but now after that incident and the one discussed here, I am even less of a fan. I could tell of a few other personal experiences with NYC cops, but why bother? The fact is, cops are assholes. They are always part of the problem and, believe me, in the next few years as the economy worsens and people get more desperate, the cop-assholes around the country are going to be even more obnoxious, arrogant and abusive.

  20. John S. Hall says

    A similar thing happened to my cousin as he was racing to the hospital in Boston as his mother was dying. (It was a long process, not entirely unexpected, but still!)

    The @$$#*|+ cop gave him a ticket for speeding, despite his frantic explanations to the contrary, and by the time he got to the hospital, she was gone.

    I’ve never had the heart/nerve to ask if the officer suffered any repercussions (and I sincerely hope so!), but I know the ticket was dismissed after my cousin presented his mother’s death certificate as evidence that he was speaking the truth.

    My heart goes out to this man and his family for having an already unbearable situation made that much worse by petty-minded people such as this cop.

  21. paul c says

    It would be tempting to decry this as racism, but it happens to other people as well.

    There was an older white woman on tv about a year ago who had this happen to her. I seem to remember that it got physical in her case, and she had been on her way to see her own father in a similar situation.

    Pointing to isolated incidents to say that all cops are bad is really fucked up. Unfortunately there are a lot of assholes who are cops, but the vast majority are not. I’ve had good and bad interactions with police, and I would just as soon avoid them myself….but I realize that they do far more good than harm by a longshot.

  22. Dan Cobbb says

    What the officer did is NOT technically appropriate. How is holding up a person who is going to see a relative in the process of dying –appropriate? The problem with this officer is that he has no concept of using discretion. Every crime is excuseable under certain circumstances… even murder –can you say self-defense? This officer unfortunately suffers from what many black-and-white pedantic personalities suffer from: an incapacity to step outside the rule book and use discretion to handle a situation that screams out for mitigation. These personalities have a horrible time with personal relationships because they have such a rigid notion of what is, and what is not acceptable behavior in their partners… it’s rather sad for them.

  23. Ed2 says

    Again, it’s been proven that common sense isn’t so common. I wonder if this would’ve ever come to light if the driver wasn’t an NFL player.

  24. FrozenNorth says

    Sorry, but I don’t buy it. Family tragedy is no reason to allow anyone to commit reckless traffic violations. This is why you always get someone in a better mental state to drive you in these situations. Would you be so non-chalant about how wrong the officer was if they wound up striking another car or pedestrian in their attempt to get to the hospital?

    Oh, do we know if the mother had been sick or was this a sudden incendent. i.e. were they taken off guard or did they know she was sick, and just weren’t there when she died?

  25. Eric says

    The most abhorrent part of this story is that the hospital sent out two nurses that verified Moats’ story, who told him that there were only minutes left of her life, and another police officer told the cop to let him go see his dying mother-in-law, yet the cop still refused to let him go.

  26. Jessica says

    That is absolutely sad. Mr. Officer, when you’re mother-in-law or mother is dying and someone prevents you from seeing her, I hope you think about this and how you prevented that man from saying goodbye. I hope they fire you’re sorry excuse for a HUMAN BEING. This actually made my stomach hurt. One more reason why I cannot stand law enforcement!

  27. Jessica says

    Just wanted to put this out there for everyone to see…

    Taken directly off the Mission Statement page of the Dallas Police Department’s website:

    “Treat citizens and their fellow employees courteously and with the same amount of dignity with which they expect to be treated themselves”

    Guess that got completely thrown out the window!

    ^^^website with the rest of their “mission statement”^^^ whatever the eff that is!

  28. pntd says

    Kindness and reason which is the hallmark of a civilized society, seems non existent in our country.

    What does it take to return to a kinder, gentler and more altrustic way of life?

    Will the cop learn from this? Doubtful. He will probably use it as an excuse to be angry the rest of his life-IF he even is made to take responsibility for his profoundly arrogant and selfish actions.

  29. Craig says

    Ah, Dallas police. When it’s one of their own, though. Several years ago there was a national story about a rookie cop over running his siren, running something like 80 mph down the wrong side of the road as he blasted through a light protected intersection. An elderly man turned left in front of him, and the cop was killed. The Dallas PD charged HIM with first degree, pre-meditated murder. The guy never saw the cop, never heard the sirens, and simply made a left turn.

    In Tucson yesterday, I saw a disciplined, professional officer on an obvious emergency call, pull up to the light, stop, verify that nothing was coming from any direction, and then run through. That’s safety. That’s what a public safety officer is supposed to do.

    The more I learned about police in places like Dallas and Arkansas, the more I appreciate the professionalism and courtesy of my own police.

  30. Craig says

    David, very sorry about the experience you suffered through with your Grandmother. Ohio can be insane about speeding. I saw a JB Hunt truck pulled over for speeding there once (55 mph truck speed limit), and knew that their fleet was governed at 55. In those days no JB truck could get more than 55 if they were rolling down hill with a tail wind. Amazing. “You in heep o’ trouble boy! Caught you goin’ 56 in in 55! You goin’ to Leavenworth, boy!”

    These were the same idiots that would pull big trucks over to do safety inspections on the side of the freeway, in construction sites, at night, in the rain. Then you wonder why they have those scary videos of cops getting hit on the side of the road. Dumb, dumb, dumb. They got more people killed doing that stupidity than any other state.

  31. syracuseny says

    Did anyone else notice that this officer PULLED HIS GUN during a routine traffic stop in a hospital parking lot? I’m surprised this pathetic excuse for a police officer didn’t start shooting before asking questions. This is what happens when we give people who don’t deserve it too much power. I was also told by a police officer: “I can screw you over,” just before he threw me face-first into a parking lot because I tried to lean into my car and turn it off during a traffic stop.

    While this story is tragic, will there be any real changes in police behavior, especially toward people of color and gay people? Not likely.

  32. Shawn says

    I don’t see how people are defending this cop. I do understand the procedures of a police officer, but his actions was very harsh and common in our community. This is sad, but like they do with everything else is give jerks a free pass for the next time. (and put our brothers in jail)
    People wake up! This is a time for change and this racial stuff needs to STOP. The only way this nstion will get better if the goverment gets more involved with these racial incidents, are else we will keep reading and seeing this right in front of us. The devil is working, but god is GOOD…Evertime you think noone is watching GOD is……..

  33. Andalusian Dog says

    Cops are power-tripping pigs. They always talk like that to people, and they rarely allow for any communication back. Their behavior generally veers a little too close to fascism; this story is reprehensible. If there is any justice in the world, someone three times the size of this asshole will beat him to a bloody pulp someday after he starts getting a chub from pushing people around and talking to them like they’re garbage.

  34. Thelma says

    Kudos to Moats, in a angry situation he was able to not allow his anger to consume him.
    Listening to the tape, Moats replied yes sir a couple of times in a situation where anxiety was present. We all say what we would have done, but until we are faced with the same situaton we don’t know how we would have re-acted. People have died for less. As always we all have opinion’s, here’s mine. the officer was young, had no real life training, because he hasn’t been on the job long enough, and its understandable he has a job to uphold and that was all the officer could see. Its unforunate, the officer made a bad call. I do beleive what comes around goes around.The officer is human and we humans make mistakes.I was happy to see the wife was able to see her mom..The lesson here is about humanity & compassion and the officer needs Jesus.

  35. Steve says

    I sure am glad that the author used this as a vehicle to push onto others how bad the poor, poor, poor homosexuals have it in this country. As we all know, no issue in the world should be reported without detouring the story on how it affects the poor, poor, poor homosexuals. Golly, we all know that the real victims in any situation are the poor, poor, poor group-thinkers… Oops I mean the homosexuals. I didn’t mean to detour my rant by mentioning how the homo in homosexuals really addresses how all of them think exactly the same way on all the important issues.

  36. lizzie says

    Not only should law officer Robert Powell be fired, he should be banned from being in law enforcement for the remainder of his life: for the integrity of common sense, the American public and himself.

  37. Levi says

    Cops are the scum sucking bitches of the Earth, lower than shit. Because even SHIT cannot get on THAT level of a power trip. I have never been in any trouble with the “law,” but I hate cops more than any almost any other criminal. If you flunk school, get beat up a lot, and are basically a ******g PUNK, become a cop so we can laugh at your 25K/yr income.. Pieces of SHIT.

  38. says

    This is what happens when we give people who don’t deserve it too much power. I was also told by a police officer: “I can screw you over,” just before he threw me face-first into a parking lot because I tried to lean into my car and turn it off during a traffic stop.

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