Videos taken by bystanders show Tye Anders laying on his grandmother's lawn and screaming in distress as three Midland Police officers point their guns at him from their cars.
Trigger Warning; This story contains details of police brutality and racism that readers may find disturbing.
It is a bad time in the country as protests have broken out to fight systematic racism and marginalization of people of color. During such trying times, a video of a 90-year-old woman protecting her Black grandson from gun-yielding cops went viral. The incident took place in Midland, Texas, on May 16, when officers stopped 21-year-old Tye Anders for running a stop sign, according to a statement by the Midland Police Department. Anders had been driving in a way that incited suspicion, "making several extreme attempts to elude and avoid me," a Midland police officer claimed in an affidavit, reports CNN.
Tye Anders. He’s a 21 year old black man who allegedly rolled through a stop sign. Police followed him to his 90 year old grandmother’s house where police officers drew their guns at him. He was on the floor, willing to cooperate as long as they put their guns away. He put his + pic.twitter.com/4gHS3GRY7N— orange 🍊🧡 (@orangefr00tloop) May 29, 2020
Six days after the incident, the police department released footage from an officer's dashcam and a 36-minute-long bodycam video. However, it does not show the alleged traffic violation. Officials stated that the violation for which they arrested Anders "occurred prior to activation of the video system." Officers claimed in the video that the man drove for two blocks despite the cruiser's lights going off, before he pulled into his grandmother's driveway. "We know that every second of the video will be scrutinized and debated on social media for days. I don't have a problem with that at all. Because at my core, I believe that transparency builds trust," said District 2 City Council member John Norman in a statement.
Anders was charged with evading in a motor vehicle while police were attempting to detain him. His attorney Justin Moore alleged it was a case of racial profiling and that there was no justification for his client's arrest. Videos taken by bystanders show Anders laying on his grandmother's lawn and screaming in distress as three Midland Police officers point their guns at him from their cars. "Put the guns down I’m scared, I’m scared," he can be heard pleading in the viral footage. "He's scared, Y'all have guns on him. He's black. Do y'all not see how many black people are getting shot? He's only 21, of course, he's scared," an unidentified woman shouts at the cops when they ordered Anders to stand up and walk towards them.
Because, thankfully, he wasn't killed, you may have missed the name Tye Anders. If so, you need to Google his name right now, view the bodycam footage of the police response to an alleged traffic violation, and stay the fuck mad.— Bilal Dardai (@bilald) June 22, 2020
"I do not fault the officers for drawing their weapons," said James A. Gagliano, CNN law enforcement analyst. "When he (Anders) wasn't compliant they (police) had to be suspicious that there was something more there because he was running away from a ticket for running a stop sign. That's not normal behavior." Correlating this incident with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Gagliano said Anders' arrest was the "exact antithesis" of the Floyd case. "This was a case of police officers not just doing their job but going above and beyond to be patient and to let this play out when this young man put his hands down by his waist and refused to comply," he said.
Anders is heard repeatedly shouting "I'm scared, I'm scared, I'm scared," and pleading with the cops to lower their weapons while lying down on his stomach. At one point, his 90-year-old grandmother is seen stepping out in an attempt to defuse the situation. When officers approached the elderly woman, she appears to fall across her grandson, leading bystanders to scream and shout in fury and shock. It's unclear from the footage how the woman fell and while Midland police say she "appeared to lose balance and fall," Moore claims she was "forced to the ground by overly aggressive Midland PD officers."
If watching this video and hearing how terrified that baby is doesn’t simultaneously rip your heart out and enrage you, then nothing will. #tyeanders was indicted yesterday for running a stop sign. https://t.co/fs6MGNWjtD— Heather (@daisiimama80) June 24, 2020
"Racial profiling and pretext stops have been at pandemic levels in this country for generations," Moore said in a statement. "This incident falls within this age-old trend of following black men and arresting them for fabricated reasons." The attorney also claimed his client was "struck multiple times in the face," after he was handcuffed and in the back of a squad car. In police bodycam video, Andres is seen asking the officer what he is being arrested for and when told that he ran over a stop sign, he kicks his legs out the door while screaming several times, "I did not run no stop sign." Officials stated that a sergeant grabbed Anders around the head to "lay him flat and control his movements" and used "physical strength to pull his (Anders') body back in the vehicle. No strikes were thrown."
Joy, Midland DA indicts Tye Anders on Juneteenth. This was deliberate. I'm a criminal defense attorney in Midland and it normally takes 6 months to indict people here! This was a big fuck you to the black community to keep them in their place!— Sara Spector (@Miriam2626) June 20, 2020