RICHMOND, Texas (CBS/AP) – New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts says he was harassed by police in the driveway of his Texas home earlier this year.
USA Today reported that the 25-year-old was stopped on March 10 for speeding. Dashcam footage shows Deputy Adam Watkins telling the two-time Super Bowl champion to “get in the car right now” after he got out of the Porsche parked in his driveway with his hands up and said “this is my house.”
Roberts is seen getting back in his car, but the video then shows the deputy calling for backup, saying “The big black man got out of the car. I told him to get back in and he wouldn’t comply.”
In a statement to the newspaper, Roberts said he “felt so harassed I couldn’t even remember where my insurance paper was in my car.”
“Unfortunately, these types of things are happening all too often to African Americans,” Roberts said. “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.”
Roberts was told he was being stopped for going 59 mph in a 35 mph zone and failing to provide insurance, but there haven’t been any charges filed. His lawyer said Roberts got a call from the sheriff’s office a few hours after the stop offering an apology.
There was a complaint filed with the sheriff’s office, but the department told Roberts it was “not sustained,” according to USA Today.
Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said Friday during a news conference that he spoke with Roberts and his attorney and said the deputy should not have taken so long with the traffic stop.
“It wasn’t as professional as it should have been, Nels said. “I apologize for the way you were treated.”
Nehls did defend the reference to race, saying the deputy was simply offering a description of the driver. “This wasn’t a race issue,” Sheriff Nehls said.
The deputy involved in the traffic stop is new to the job. “Obviously, four months is a very short time to be out there doing traffic stops, you can only imagine what it’s like at 10 o’clock at night,” said Sheriff Captain Steve Holtz.
Roberts said he’s not trying to make a financial gain by sharing his 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,” he said.
WBZ has learned that Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke with Roberts Friday, when he was made aware of the situation, and offered his full support.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)