No more Buford Pusser

Published 9:34 pm Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nothing aggravates me more than being pulled over by an obnoxious police officer. I don’t consider myself an expert in the field of law enforcement, but I do believe that common sense should always be the basis of one’s actions.

Unfortunately for Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats and his family, not all police officers exhibit common sense. In case you missed it, this week a video was unveiled of a Dallas police officer pulling over Moats for running a red light. Moats was speeding with his emergency lights flashing en route to a Dallas hospital.

What the police officer learned after stopping Moats in the parking lot of the hospital, was that his mother-in-law was dying of breast cancer. Unfortunately, the officer didn’t believe — or possibly didn’t care — what was taking place inside the hospital, even after a nurse and another officer both stopped at the scene to substantiate Moats’ claim.

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Instead, the officer who pulled Moats over showed that his arrogance was the most important part of the whole incident. In fact, the officer’s arrogance prevented Moats from seeing his mother-in-law alive one last time. Moats’ wife ignored the officer and ran into the hospital, anyway, arriving at her mother’s bedside just as she died.

The officer was put on administrative leave, and the Dallas Police Chief apologized to Moats and his family, saying, “His behavior, in my opinion, did not exhibit the common sense, the discretion, the compassion that we expect our officers to exhibit,” according to the Associated Press. The police chief has attempted to make things right with the Moats family, but the scars that have been left by the officer will forever be with the family, no matter what happens to the officer.

By no means does this portray all law enforcement, but it does shed some light on how tragic not exhibiting common sense can be. I’ve never been in a similar situation of such implications, but I have on numerous occasions been pulled over for having a heavy foot. Rather than greeting a polite officer at my window, I have more times than not encountered a police officer who thinks he is Buford Pusser.

Should the police officer have pulled Moats over or followed him until he stopped? Yes, by all means. The officer had ample reason to wonder why the driver didn’t pull over when he saw his lights. But the rubber met the road when the stop occurred, and the officer heard the pleas from the Moats family.

I don’t believe for a second that police officers in large part are treated disrespectfully. Therefore, there’s no excuse for taking advantage of their authority. Doing so sheds a poor light on all law enforcement, which is not something that we need.

Police officers play a vital role to serve and protect. Just how, though, did this Dallas police officer serve or protect?