Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls pushed back against accusations of harassment from a New England Patriots linebacker Friday, though he did admit the traffic stop — where a deputy called the professional football player a “big, black male” — could have been more professional.
USA Today was the first to report the incident. In March, Elandon Roberts was stopped for a basic speeding violation. Dash cam footage released to other media outlets shows a Fort Bend patrol car followed Roberts and stopped him right as he parked in the driveway of his own home. The video shows Roberts getting out of his car and Deputy Adam Watkins ordering him to get back in the vehicle.
During the stop, the deputy referred to Roberts as a “big black male” and didn’t tell him the charge until nine minutes after the stop was initiated. Watkins gave Roberts a citation for speeding and another one for failing to provide proof of insurance.
The Fort Bend Sheriff’s office said that Watkins, who’s been a deputy for about four months, has been reprimanded him for the length of the traffic stop and the way he addressed Roberts’ fiancée.
Watkins subsequently downgraded the citation to a warning and has undergone two remedial trainings, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“It wasn’t as professional as it should have been,” Nehls said. The sheriff said he met with Roberts and apologized about the length of the traffic stop.
However, Houston-based attorney Jennine Hovell-Cox, who is representing Roberts, told the Chronicle that Watkins’ comments were “demeaning” and her client felt harassed.
Roberts gave Sheriff Nehls a handwritten citizen complaint on March 20, according to the Chronicle, and has filed a complaint with the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office.
You can watch the entire footage of the traffic stop here: