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New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts was pulled over by police outside his own house. He emerged from his car with his hands up, was immediately told to get back in the car and complied within five seconds.
That was enough for the officer to request back-up while reporting a “big, black man” who wasn’t complying with his orders, as captured in dashcam footage obtained by USA Today.
Now, Roberts is saying the incident was racially motivated harassment.
Patriots LB files complaint over treatment by police
The incident reportedly occurred on March 10 in the Houston suburb of Richmond, Texas. Roberts’ Porsche was pulled over outside his house and was quickly told to stay in his car.
“I haven’t begun the traffic stop. The big black man got out of the car,” the officer said. “I told him to get back in and he wouldn’t comply. I had to yell at him pretty hard.”
The noise was reportedly enough to draw Roberts’ wife Tori out to see what was happening. She was reportedly ordered to get back in the house for her own safety and that she would be arrested if she didn’t comply.
It reportedly took nine minutes before the officer told Roberts why he was pulled over: speeding.
Thursday, Roberts released the following statement about the incident:
“Unfortunately, these types of things are happening all too often to African Americans,” Roberts said in a statement to USA Today. “People are becoming desensitized to them. Being harassed in your own yard simply because you are a 'big black man’ should never become the norm. To the person being harassed, it is frightening, disrespectful and embarrassing.
“I have no interest in any financial gain from releasing this story. My only hope is that these types of bias-based traffic stops can end and that, perhaps, other black drivers might see how to deescalate a threatening situation.”
Per USA Today, Roberts filed a complaint 10 days after the encounter. The complaint was reportedly “not sustained” and only resulted in an instruction for the officer’s supervisor to go through a traffic stop refresher.
No citation was reportedly found from Roberts’ traffic stop in a search of court records, and the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s office said it received no charges regarding the incident.
Roberts’ attorney Jennine Hovell-Cox said the police only backed down after discovering Roberts’ employment:
“The citation was never processed by the sheriff's department and sent for filing with the court,” said Hovell-Cox, Robert’s attorney. “We believe that once the dashcam footage was seen by Deputy Watkins' supervisors and realizing who Elandon is, a decision was made to halt everything. Elandon started receiving phone calls from the sheriff's office a few hours after the ‘stop,’ apologizing and telling him that the ticket was being ‘dismissed.’”
Hovell-Cox also told USA Today she has requested an investigation into the incident by the DA.
A native of Port Arthur, Texas, Roberts just finished up his third year in the league. He has 177 career tackles in three seasons with the Patriots.
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