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A viral video showing the recent arrest of a 21-year-old black man has ignited outrage across social media.
The footage was captured on May 16 in Midland, Texas, where a handful of officers were seen pointing their guns at Tye Anders as he lied face down in a front yard. At one point in the video, which was captured by a bystander, Anders begs the officers to put down their weapons, before repeating: "I'm scared. I'm scared."
Toward the end of the video, we see an elderly woman walk toward Anders and attempt to deescalate the situation. According to Reporter-Telegram, the woman was identified as Anders' 90-year-old grandmother, who was later seen falling as officers approached Anders and placed him in handcuffs. It's unclear what caused the woman to fall, though the woman behind the camera can be heard shouting: "You pushed her!"
After initially refusing, the Midland Police Department eventually released dash cam footage of the arrest to the public. The department said officers pursued Anders after he allegedly failed to adhere to a stop sign. Authorities said they tried to conduct a traffic stop, but the "vehicle began increasing its speed in an attempt to elude." Anders allegedly didn't stop until he arrived at the residence seen in the video. He was ultimately hit with a felony charge of evading arrest.
Anders' attorney, Justin Moore, told NewsWest9 his client did not commit a traffic violation and was simply targeted because of his race.
"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. "... As Tye laid on the ground compliant, yet scared, his 90-year-old grandmother came out to deescalate this high-stress situation by praying for her grandson and officers. That also didn't work. As the officers approached, they ended up assaulting her and knocking a 90-year-old woman to the ground."
Moore told the Reporter-Telegram his client had multiple run-ins with the Midland Police Department and previously filed a harassment complaint against its officers. He also claims Anders was assaulted several times in the back of a patrol vehicle following the May 16 arrest.
According to the San Antonio Current, the Midland District Attorney's Office intends to move forward with the felony charges against Anders.
"I cannot comment on the strength or weakness of the case, nor any potential outcomes," District Attorney Laura Nodolf wrote in a statement. "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."
Award-winning director Ava Duvernay has highlighted the incident on social media, pointing out it was yet another example of the racial prejudice and discrimination that plagues the criminal-justice system.