Monday, March 30, 2009

My Thoughts on Robert Powell

I've had this post percolating for several days. There's a brouhaha building in Dallas over this “incident.” [I have tried to erase the underlining below, but the computer thinks it's part of a link I took out.Sorry.]
I'd like to throw my thoughts into this mix.
First of all, Moats broke the law. If he had pulled over as soon as the officer “lit him up” [turned on his light bar], as all citizens are required to do, he could have explained to Officer Powell why he was racing to the hospital.
Second, Moats and his family member broke one of the most important safety NOT exit your vehicle unless so instructed by the Officer. Every year hundreds, if not thousands, of Police Officers around the country are assaulted by drivers and passengers getting out of their vehicle and approaching the Officer. It's for Safety, and policy in most departments, for the Officer to regain control of the situation by instructing these people to get BACK in the vehicle. NO Person on that scene was obeying the Officer's legally given directions.
Third, emotions were running high, the women were hysterical if you watch the tape. Officer Powell did not know, in the beginning, the situation. When the women left the scene of the traffic stop, the immediate threat was lessened because two of the 'actors' had departed. However, these women could have returned at any time once again screaming and thus endangering the Officer by distracting his attention on traditionally more dangerous men.
Fourth, many felons will flee a traffic stop because they know there are warrants in effect for their arrest. How was Officer Powell to know this was not such a situation?
Please remember, all of this was occurring before the urgency of the situation was confirmed by hospital personnel.
Fifth, the way I saw the tape that's been played ad nauseum, the officer was being spoken to by no fewer than two people at any time. When the women exited the car, they were screaming at him. It hard to understand what any one person is saying when multiple voices are in action. It was only AFTER everyone but Moats and Officer Powell were finally able to speak that he could listen to one voice.
Sixth, I would surmise that once all these loud, out of control people exited the vehicle and approached Officer Powell he experienced at least a slight adrenalin dump. It takes time for this hormone to dissipate. While under the influence of adrenalin while regaining control of what was, by instinct and training, was a situation endangering his safety.
I question whether this would even BE an issue if Powell was black or Moats was white. Or if Moats were white AND Powell was black. Race IS a factor. [ the Moats are bringing up the tired argument of racism on the part of a police officer] We would all be disingenuous if we tried to deny this or claim it was NOT a factor. I think the blacks, Muslims and Hispanics are more likely to make accusations of racism against white officers. I mean, really, when was the last time an Asian claimed the police were picking on him because he was an Oriental?
edited to add:
Powell resigned on April 1 from DPD. I imagine he was given a choice of resignation or termination. Resignation leaves him with a smidgen of dignity and the possibility of future law enforcement opportunities. I'd approve if he came to my town.
Having a Chief who bows to political extortion and won't back his officers as Dallas Police do, is unfortunate.
The mob running the witch hunt for Powell are no doubt happy at this result. It's a shame TPTB succumbed to police hating hooligans.


Old NFO said...

Too true, and it's been blown WAY out of proportion.

g bro said...

I take your point on the safety issue. I have been stopped several times in my life for traffic violations, and I didn't know that I was required to stay in the car. (Once I was told to get out and come sit in the officer's car because he was writing a ticket and wanted to sit in the A/C. Or wanted to let me sit it the AC. He definitely wanted to kill a lot of time so that I would see that speeding didn't pay.)
On the racial front, you say "race IS a factor," but I didn't quite get the connotation. Did you mean that the races of the antagonists make them more or less likely to accuse racism? Or that officers should be more suspicious of some races than others? Regarding Asians, I don't know if I have ever heard of a public accusation of racism. On the other hand, their stereotype is to mistrust public officials and to keep to themselves (don't know if it's true). So they might be culturally disinclined to make public accusations regardless of their feelings.
Having thought through this (on your nickel), I can't disagree with the premise that most accusations of racism against police are made by people who were breaking the rules in the first place. I also think that an officer has to develop instincts about behavior, body language, etc., to alert him or her to danger before it happens. Maybe some of the accusers should first think, "How was I acting that might have alarmed the officer" rather than "he and I are different colors."

g bro said...

I watched the video. The policeman was within the law. Don't care if it was racial or not. On the other hand, he was a total a$$hole. Thanks for making someone miss a loved one's dying moments - not something you get back with an apology. But I don't think he should resign his job.