Elandon Roberts campaigns for police harassment inquiry

New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts claims he was unfairly and improperly harassed by a police officer outside his home back in March.

According to a recent report from ESPN News Services, Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts is attempting to convince a Texas district attorney’s office to investigate a March incident involving Roberts and Adam Watkins, a sheriff’s deputy police officer. The alleged incident occurred on March 10 right outside of Roberts’ home in Fort Bend County.

Roberts was reportedly pulled over for speeding – driving 59 mph in a 35 mph zone, specifically – and then failing to provide insurance. Roberts later claimed in a written statement that he “felt so harassed I couldn’t even remember where my insurance paper was in my car.”

USA Today Sports provided dashcam footage taken from the deputy’s car, in which Watkins claims Roberts “exited the car before the traffic stop had begun.” He also can be heard referring to Roberts as the “big black man” who “wouldn’t comply,” which in turn caused Watkins to “yell at him pretty hard to comply.”

Roberts’ wife came out of the house to see what was happening at one point, whereupon Watkins allegedly told her to go back inside to avoid arrest, before calling for backup over the police radio.

While no charges were filed by the police department – and the sheriff’s department has since reportedly called Roberts to dismiss the speeding ticket and apologize for the incident – Roberts and his attorneys are seeking further action to be taken on the matter before anything is resolved.

“I have no interest in any financial gain from releasing this story,” Roberts told USA Today in a statement. “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.”

Roberts claims what happened to him is just one example of a larger systemic problem in this country:

“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.”

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The incident may end up getting investigated further by the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s office, the sheriff department’s Internal Affairs Division, the Texas Rangers, or by some combination of those entities, if it is investigated at all.

 

 

 

 

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