Here’s a question: Are black people ever allowed to be afraid? White people and police officers have been able to rely on the words, “I feared for my life” to justify shooting unarmed people. At the very least, black people should be afforded that justification for not immediately cooperating with authorities. In Midland, Texas, a video capturing the arrest of a black man by gun-wielding police officers for failing to stop at a stop sign as his grandmother steps in poses that same question.
NewsWest 9 reports that a video shared online shows 21-year-old Tye Anders being confronted by police officers who had their guns drawn on him as he laid on the ground. Anders can be heard frantically expressing to officers that he’s afraid that they are going to shoot him, and several witnesses, including family members, can be heard expressing the same concern. Later, in the video, Anders’ 90-year-old grandmother walks towards Anders and then falls on top of him as officers move to handcuff him. All of this apparently started over Anders running a stop sign.
According to the Midland Police Department, officers attempted to pull Anders over after he drove through the stop sign. Instead of pulling over immediately, Anders continued driving until he got to his grandmother’s residence, at which point the officers, with their guns drawn, ordered Anderson to exit his car, which they said he initially refused to do.
“Upon exiting the vehicle, officers advised the subject to walk towards them to be detained, the subject then stopped and laid on the ground,” MPD said. Anders was arrested for evading police and has since been released from jail on bond.
A few questions immediately come to mind: Is “evading” really an accurate description for someone who simply waited to get around family before he stopped? Does the fact that he immediately laid down on the ground instead of walking towards gun-wielding officers as instructed not indicate that he was terrified? Why did all these cops need to be on the scene with their guns out for someone who just ran a stop sign?
Civil rights attorney Justin Moore was hired to represent Anders and he tells a different story altogether.
“We believe and maintain that this was a stop based on racial profiling and there was no traffic violation,” Moore said in a phone interview.
Moore also wrote in a statement: “Racial profiling and pretext stops have been at pandemic levels in this country for generations. This incident falls within this age-old trend of following black men and arresting them for fabricated reasons.” Moore said that Anders was hit in the face multiple times by an officer after he was already handcuffed and in the back of a squad car.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Moore denied that Anders attempted to evade police and said he pulled over once he got somewhere he felt safe.
“There’s no evidence on that video of those facts being justified, or that charge being justified,” he said.
You can view footage of the incident below.