On October 19th of 2009 I received a call from my husband saying my grandmother had been on her way to the hospital and lost consciousness on the way. I jumped in the car and quickly rushed to the hospital as fast as I could. Unfortunately, my grandma had passed by the time I got there but I remember thinking on the ride over that I hoped I didn’t get pulled over. My fear was that the few minutes I would have to waste explaining to the officer why I was speeding. You know what I wasn’t afraid of? Having a cop pull me over in the hospital parking lot, pull a gun out on me and other members of my family, threaten to impound my care and prevent me from being at my loved ones side all while I and my extended family are trying to explain to him what’s going on.
My father was a cop and so I am always walking a fine line of trying to make sure I am honestly looking at the cops behavior and not just making excuses and also that I’m not falling into the “all cops are assholes” mentality that can be so easy, especially with all the recent displays of abuse of power. However, I’m white so while my first instinct is to trust police until shown a reason otherwise, I can not, when faced with so much overwhelming evidence, blame a POC for leaning more towards the distrust angle when dealing with law enforcement.
I’m sure that people will say that they shouldn’t have gotten out of the car, they should have calmly explained what was going on. I call bullshit. For one thing, police officers are supposed to be observant. When you pull a car over for running a red light to quickly turn into a hospital and the car is filled with a family who is clearly panicked and claiming a dying relative where do you really think the priority is. Moat’s even said he was not arguing against getting a ticket, he just wanted to get inside the hospital and not have a gun pointed in his wife’s face. The second point is, basic humanity, could they have concocted this great story to get away with a ticket, sure why not, but when you’re faced with an upset and grieving family, you fucking step aside.
Instead this turned into a power trip with a cop overreacting and then, instead of apologizing and stepping aside his response is to continue the behavior
“I can screw you over,” he said at one point in the videotaped incident. When another officer came with word that Moats’ mother-in-law was indeed dying, Powell’s response was: “All right. I’m almost done.”
Ryan Moats told KRLD-FM in Dallas in a phone interview Thursday that after the officer pointed the gun at his wife, he pointed it at him. “I just tried to stay as still as possible to not scare him or do anything to make him react,” he said.
This is not a statement that anyone should have to make. To be held up at gunpoint while hurrying to a dying relative’s bedside is beyond fucked up and also goes to highlight how tight a wire black men have to walk when dealing with the police. He had to treat a man paid to uphold the law they way most people would react to a wild animal or deadly snake. No sudden moves as the person in front of them is completely unpredictable.
Kudos to Monica from Transgriot for giving me the direction for the post!