Ex-NFL Star And Texas Police Dispute What Happened During A Traffic Stop

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

In the 1990s, Lamar Lathon played for two NFL teams — the Carolina Panthers and the Houston Oilers. Though his career ended in 1998, he was in the spotlight again recently after he claimed on Facebook that a police officer in Pearland, Texas, pulled a gun on him during a traffic stop during the early morning hours of Sep. 1, KHOU reported.

The police have since released more than 16 minutes of dashboard camera footage that shows a police officer pulling a gun on Lathon after he reached under his seat. The officer was apparently concerned Lathon was reaching for a weapon, despite having just asked Lathon for his driver's license and proof of insurance. 

“I was like, ‘Guys, what’s going on, what’s the problem. Have you lost your mind? Why are you pulling a gun on me?’” Lathon told KHOU shortly after the incident. “I proceeded then to give him my license. He holstered his weapon."

Although Lathon said he feared for his life, he was simply issued a ticket and released. The Pearland Police Officer's Association said Lathon misrepresented its officers’ conduct and wants an apology. 

"As a former NFL Pro Bowler, Lathon is looked up to and considered a role model by many in the community. Mr. Lathon needs to take ownership of words and actions, and apologize to the men and women of the Pearland Police Department that fearlessly protect and serve their community in these very dangerous times.”

The Pearland Police Department defended its officers’ conduct. “Based on review of the video footage, it is the position of the Pearland Police Department that the response of the officers involved in this traffic stop was professional and within both the law and policies of this agency,” it said in a statement.

“The primary officer was tactically aware, maintained control of the scene and attempted to de-escalate a volatile situation brought on by a driver who refused to follow directions and whose primary complaint seemed to be the issuance of a citation.”

Police had pulled Lathon over for speeding. Lathon has apparently not addressed the incident since the footage was released.

Sources: KHOU (2) / Photo credit: KHOU, Screenshot Pearland Police Department/Facebook