Elandon Roberts says he was harassed by police in incident because of race

Ryan Hannable
July 11, 2019 - 10:54 pm
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Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts was involved in an incident with police at his home in Richmond, Texas, a Houston suburb, in March, which he believes was racially motivated.

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Roberts was pulled over outside his house and was quickly told to stay in his car by police on March 10.

“I haven’t begun the traffic stop. The big black man got out of the car,” the officer said in dashboard camera video obtained by USA Today. “I told him to get back in and he wouldn’t comply. I had to yell at him pretty hard.”

Roberts' wife reportedly came outside to see what was going on, but was told immediately to go back inside. After nine minutes, Roberts was told he was pulled over for speeding. Dash cam footage shows he was going 59 mph in a 35 mph zone.

“Unfortunately, these types of things are happening all too often to African Americans,” Roberts said 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.”

The Patriots linebacker filed a complaint with the department 10 days after the incident, but nothing ever happened.

Court records do not show anything from the matter and there's nothing on Roberts' record. His attorney said police backed down once they realized who exactly he was.

“The citation was never processed by the sheriff's department and sent for filing with the court,” said Jennine 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. 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.’”

Roberts and the Patriots open training camp July 25.

Related: 15 most important Patriots for 2019: No. 4, Dont'a Hightower

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