A police official claimed the man had been driving in a way that aroused suspicion, "making several extreme attempts to elude and avoid me."
Content warning: This report contains details of racial profiling that readers may find disturbing
With rising racial tension at an all-time high across the country, videos of a 90-year-old grandmother trying to defuse a tense confrontation between her black grandson and gun-wielding cops are going viral on social media. The incident occurred in Midland, Texas, on May 16, when officers stopped 21-year-old Tye Anders for running a stop sign, the Midland Police Department said in a statement. Anders had been driving in a way that aroused suspicion, "making several extreme attempts to elude and avoid me," a Midland police officer claimed in an affidavit, reports CNN.
Hands behind his back as he was lying on the floor on his stomach without even being arrested. Without any cop on him. His grandmother came out attempting to protect him but instead got assaulted by the cops, as a 90 year old black woman. They both did. I counted 4 cops. +— Orange BLM ACAB (@orangefr00tloop) May 29, 2020
Although the police department released footage from an officer's dashcam and a 36-minute-long bodycam video—six days after the incident—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 after the cruiser's lights went on 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.
We should not have had to wait 12 got damn days to see this situation picked up by national news outlets. Tye Anders and his Granny deserve better than this. https://t.co/51k5KqjPQ8— ⚖️ 9Gen ✍🏼 (@Tsiser45) May 29, 2020
Anders was charged with evading in a motor vehicle while police were attempting to detain him, but his attorney Justin Moore claimed 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 order him to stand up and walk towards them.
Tye Anders’ decision to not pull over in a secluded area, his hesitation to get out of his car, & his refusal to approach officers with their guns drawn was necessary for his survival. It was self-preservation at its core, not an an arrestable offense.— Blue Lives Murder (@EspicyBitch) May 27, 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.
However, the video brings to light the constant fear of police brutality and systemic racism that the black community lives in. Anders is heard repeatedly shouting "I'm scared, I'm scared, I'm scared," in videos of the incident 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."
"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."