Quite the controversial topic today. Ryan Moats of the Houston Texans was on his way to see his mother-in-law on her death bed when he ran a red light and was followed by a police officer to the hospital. The video is here:
I'm not going to pretend to think that being a police officer is an easy job. It puts your life in danger and many times being decisive and acting with your gut is the only way to stay alive. In this situation, I have a hard time believing that the police officer acted in a correct manner. While Moats' wife did leave the scene and did get a chance to see her mother before she passed, Moats was not so fortunate. The officer held Moats long enough to rob Moats of seeing his mother-in-law one last time.
When a family member is dying, people do not typically stay in a rational state of mind. The expectation of the officer was that Moats was giving him attitude for the sake of giving an officer attitude (which happens A LOT, I'm sure.) However, Moats was in a heightened state of urgency and was not prepared to have any conversation, let alone a legal confrontation. A very easy solution could have been to escort Moats and his wife into the hospital and verify their story with a doctor or nurse. Getting any necessary information (insurance, license, etc.) could have been obtained easily after Moats was able to see his mother-in-law. The officer could've played the hero rather than the villain.
The officer at one point claims that if his mother was dying, he would pull over if a cop was trying to pull him over. I don't know about that mister big shot. Not to mention, that not everyone would act the exact same in such dire circumstances, I have a hard time believing that the officer would honor this claim. At some point, police officers need to remember that they are "Officers of the Peace" rather than dictators of their sector. For those that truly go about things the right way- I commend you. Dealing with rational officers that don't strictly deal in black and white is excellent and leaves me feeling alright. Dealing with officers like the one in the video continues negative stereotypes that are sometimes put on officers.
I hope there is a lesson to be learned nation-wide from this situation. The officer was suspended with pay pending an investigation, but even more I hope that all officers take note of how situations like this can get out of hand without a couple extra levels of rational thought.