By Mitch Borden
Newly-released police footage shows the moments leading to the arrest of Tye Anders, a 21-year-old black man, whose case has sparked criticism of the Midland Police Department.
Bystander video of the May 16 arrest showed officers pointing guns at Anders while he was lying facedown on his grandmother’s lawn. In the video, Anders repeatedly shouts, “I’m scared,” and asks officers to put down their weapons.
The footage circulated online last week and spurred concerns over racial bias within the Midland Police Department. The backlash prompted the City of Midland to schedule a town hall on Thursday, May 28 for community discussion.
The videos include the period of time just after police say Anders rolled through a stop sign to when Anders is booked at the county jail.
Anders has been charged with a third-degree felony for evading arrest for allegedly continuing to drive after being pursued for failing to fully stop at a stop sign.
‘We don’t need to prove a point’
Initially, the city refused to release any footage of the arrest, arguing it would do little to calm tensions.
“We don’t need to prove a point,” said Midland Mayor Patrick Payton during a press conference days after the arrest.
However, City Councilmember John Norman, the only person of color on the council, disagreed with the move and pushed for the police footage to be released.
“We know that every second of the video will be scrutinized and debated on social media for days,” said Norman in a press release. ”I don’t have a problem with that at all. Because at my core, I believe that transparency builds trust.”
Before the city released any footage, a three-minute video taken by a relative of Anders’ was shared online. The footage shows at least five officers, most with their guns drawn and pointed at Anders, who was unarmed, lying on the ground with his hands stretched out.
What the released videos show
The city’s footage shows an officer, identified in the arrest affidavit as M. Rosero, driving behind Anders, who’s in his mother’s 2017 silver Dodge Challenger. Shortly after the video begins, the department says Rosero turned on his lights to pull over Anders, who was on his way to his grandmother’s home to celebrate his 21st birthday with family.
Law enforcement alleges Anders didn’t come to a complete stop at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Butternut Lane, which the department says is why they pulled him over. Officials say the released footage doesn’t capture this moment because the video didn’t begin recording until after Anders allegedly rolled through the stop sign.
Once Rosero flashed his lights, Anders continued driving for a little over 20 seconds until he arrived at his 90-year-old grandmother’s home, according to the department. After Anders parked, officers called for him to get out of his car, but he didn’t. About 6 minutes pass, where Anders later explains he was calling different family members.
Soon, more police arrive — at least seven can be seen in the videos.
When Anders exits his car, he immediately tosses his phone to the side, raises his hands and asks, “Why’d you stop me?”
Officers immediately pull their weapons and tell Anders to walk toward them. Instead, he surrenders, lying down on the front lawn.
Anders’ grandmother walks out of her house and tells officers to “leave my child alone.”
The standoff between Anders and law enforcement lasts a few minutes before police eventually handcuff him on the lawn. As officers move in, Anders’ grandmother falls over and a young woman, along with other family members, rush in to help the elderly woman up.
Midland police pinned the young woman to the ground, cuffed her and placed her in a patrol vehicle. She was later released.
After Anders joins the woman in the back of the police car, he tells her, “[The officer] had no reason to pull me over, I stopped at every stop sign, too.”
In another moment, Anders explains to an officer that he waited and called family members because of past negative interactions with law enforcement. “I was scared of em,” he’s heard saying. “I’m scared of cops. I’ve already been abused and thrown over my car.”
Later, Anders asks Officer Rosero why he stopped him.
“You ran that stop sign on Maple,” said Officer Rosero.
“I did not run no stop sign,” Anders screams repeatedly.
At this moment, Anders turns toward Rosero, his knees sticking out of the police cruiser’s backdoor, blocking it from being closed. The department says Anders “intentionally places his leg” outside the door, which constitutes resisting arrest, according to police.
A female officer, whose uniform identifies her as Sergeant McNulty, then enters the cruiser where Anders is being held. The video shows her jerking Anders by the neck and pulling him toward her so the door can be closed. Then, McNulty pins him to the car seat by placing her hand on his cheek and pushing down.
After reviewing the footage, Midland’s District Attorney Laura Nodolf said in a statement that she plans to move forward with the charges filed against Anders.
“I cannot comment on the strength or weakness of the case, nor any potential outcomes,” she wrote. “However, there were no actions taken by any member of the Midland Police Department that would cause me any concern with moving forward with the case.”