Thomas' wife detained by Moats' cop

Updated: March 29, 2009, 2:50 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Another allegation has surfaced against the officer who prevented Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats from entering a hospital to see his dying mother-in-law last week.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Maritza Thomas, wife of former Cowboys linebacker Zach Thomas, was handcuffed and spent approximately three hours in jail after Dallas officer Robert Powell pulled her over for an illegal U-turn in July 2008.

"This in no way compares to what happened to Ryan Moats and his family," Thomas told The Morning News. "But we wanted to tell our story, not knowing how many others have been affected by Officer Powell. We know the vast majority of the Dallas police force are good and professional people, but this guy just seems excessive."

Four of the five tickets issued against Maritza Thomas were later dropped including failure to show proof of insurance, running a red light, improper address on driver's license and a registration sticker was not on the windshield. She accepted deferred adjudication for the illegal U-turn charge, and her record will be cleared next month.

"This situation never should've happened," Maritza Thomas' attorney, Brody Shanklin told The Morning News. "Unless extraordinary circumstances exist, no person should be arrested for a Class C citation. In this case, it was an example of Officer Powell being overzealous and exerting his authority in a manner that he never should have."

Bob Gorsky, Powell's attorney, defended his client's actions.

"I do understand that an arrest on multiple traffic charges happens often and is absolutely proper under these circumstances," Gorsky told The Morning News. "Often, when there are multiple charges, an arrest made and bond posted, some of the charges from a single event are later dropped."

Powell pulled over Moats for running a red light on his way to the hospital to see his dying mother-in-law. Powell detained Moats for 13 minutes, in which time his mother-in-law died. Powell issued an apology on Friday.

A Dallas police spokesman declined to comment but said the department would investigate any complaint filed against Powell, who is on administrative leave.

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