New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts accused Texas authorities of harassment Thursday stemming from a March traffic stop in front of his house.
USA Today obtained dashcam footage of Roberts’ incident with the Fort Bend Sheriff’s Department outside his Richmond home on March 10. Roberts was pulled over and got out of his vehicle with his hands up and told the deputy, “This is my house,” according to the newspaper.
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Deputy Adam Watkins reportedly told Roberts to take back into his vehicle and called for backup over a “big black man” who “wouldn’t comply” with his commands. Roberts didn’t argue with Watkins during the traffic stop and asked to talk to Watkins during the heat of the moment, according to USA Today.
Roberts was told he was only stopped for a basic speeding violation but not until nine minutes into the ordeal.
“Unfortunately, these types of things are happening all too often to African Americans,” the two-time Super Bowl champ told USA Today in a statement. “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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He added: “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 reportedly filed a harassment complaint 10 days after the incident. In the complaint, he reportedly wrote he “felt so harassed I couldn’t even remember where my insurance paper was in my car.”
The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department’s internal affairs division wrote on May 20 that Roberts’ complaint wasn’t substantiated, the paper reported.
Roberts’ attorney, Jeannine Hovell-Cox, told USA Today she requested that country’s district attorney open up an investigation. Brian M. Middleton replied, saying Roberts was directed to contact internal affairs.
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The Patriots selected Roberts in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. In three seasons with the Patriots, he played in 44 games, recorded 177 total tackles and three sacks.
He won Super Bowls with the team in 2016 and 2018.