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Patriots LB Roberts seeks inquiry for police harassment

Reuters | London | Updated: 12-07-2019 22:32 IST | Created: 12-07-2019 22:27 IST
Patriots LB Roberts seeks inquiry for police harassment
Image Credit: Pixabay

New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts, who says he was harassed by police in the driveway of his Fort Bend County home in Texas during a traffic stop in March, wants a further investigation into the incident. Jennine Hovell-Cox, Roberts' attorney, told USA Today Sports that she made a request to the district attorney of Fort Bend County to further investigate the sheriff's department over the March 10 incident, when the player was pulled over for speeding.

Roberts, who is heading into his fourth season with the Patriots after they made him a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Houston, was stopped in Richmond, a Houston suburb, allegedly for driving 59 mph in a 35 mph zone. He also received a citation for not providing proof of insurance. The dashcam video of the incident obtained by USA Today shows Roberts, 25, getting out of his sports car with his hands in the air after arriving at the driveway of his home.

"Get back in the car," Fort Bend County Sheriff deputy Adam Watkins tells Roberts. "This is my house," says Roberts, who does get back in his car.

Watkins, calling for backup about "the big black man," also says, "I told him to get back in. He wouldn't comply. I had to yell at him pretty hard." Watkins also told Roberts' wife to return to their home after she checked to see what was happening. Charges were not officially filed.

The sheriff's office made phone calls to Roberts to apologize for the incident and said the ticket was dismissed, according to Hovell-Cox. "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," Hovell-Cox told USA Today.

Ten days after the stop, Roberts reportedly filed a complaint, writing that he "felt so harassed I couldn't even remember where my insurance paper was in my car." In a statement to USA Today, Roberts said, "Unfortunately, these types of things are happening all too often to African Americans. 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 de-escalate a threatening situation." In a May document obtained by USA Today, Roberts' previous complaint was dismissed by the internal affairs division of the sheriff's office and the matter was closed. The deputy was ordered by a supervisor to "go through refresher training" on traffic stops.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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