Roberts’ attorney, Jennine Hovell-Cox, told USA Today Sports that she has requested that the Fort Bend County district attorney look into the sheriff’s department regarding the March 10 traffic stop for speeding.
Dashcam footage obtained by USA Today Sports shows a sheriff’s deputy ordering Roberts to return to his car and calling for backup for the “big black man” who “wouldn’t comply.” Deputy Adam Watkins also ordered Roberts’ wife to return to their home when she came out to see what was going on.
Roberts views the incident as harassment and told USA Today in a statement that he wants to similar confrontations between police and black people to end.
“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.
“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.”
Roberts’ agent, Kennard McGuire, shared his client’s worries.
“As a son, husband, and father, I share the concerns and fear of many,” McGuire said. “We shouldn’t have to move in fear of those with the privilege and honor to protect and serve.”
In the dashcam footage, the deputy says over the radio that Roberts exited the car before the traffic stop had begun.
“He wouldn’t comply. I had to yell at him pretty hard to comply,” Watkins said.
Roberts had been stopped for allegedly driving 59 mph in a 35 mph zone and for not providing insurance. No charges were officially filed.
His attorney said Roberts received phone calls from the sheriff’s office apologizing for the stop and saying the ticket was being dismissed.
Roberts filed a complaint 10 days after the incident, writing that he “felt so harassed I couldn’t even remember where my insurance paper was in my car.”
Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian M. Middleton said in an email to USA Today that Hovell-Cox should direct a formal complaint to the sheriff’s deparment’s Internal Affairs Division and that the request may be referred to the Texas Rangers for an independent inquiry.
Internal Affairs had dismissed Roberts’ previous complaint, saying in a May document obtained by USA Today that the officer was ordered to “refresher training” on traffic stops and that the matter is closed.
The sheriff’s department would not comment on the incident to USA Today.