“It took 13 minutes for Dallas police Officer Robert Powell to shame his profession and his department, to give the city an embarrassing black eye and to set off an ugly, sullen public argument about cops and race,” says Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd. A 13-minute video shows Powell bullying and lecturing Ryan Moats, whose mother-in-law was dying in a nearby hospital room. By watching, viewers experience his disbelief that, in what is literally a life-and-death circumstance, the policeman cares only about making a show of who’s the boss here, of who holds the high poker hand of ultimate authority.
Powell may have technically acted within the scope of his authority, but he did a lot of damage, says Floyd. Moats, and NFL running back, was held in a hospital parking lot while his mother-in-law passed away. As fate would have it, Moats is black, while Powell is white. Concludes Floyd: Powell “reinforced the worst suspicions of those who automatically assume white cops will not give a black man a fair shake, that they take a malicious pleasure in humiliating prosperous, professional civilians of color.”