The City of Midland is holding a community conversation on Thursday, May 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center to discuss the controversial arrest of Tye Anders.
The young black man was held at gunpoint by several officers after he allegedly rolled through a stop sign. The incident has raised questions about the Midland Police Department’s policing of people of color.
Anders has been charged with evading arrest because he failed to immediately stop, though he pulled over in front of his grandmother’s home less than 30 seconds after the officer flashed his lights.
The arrest of Anders is just one of a number of incidents that have raised questions about Midland Police Department’s treatment of minorities. Recently, another video showed an MPD officer kicking a 16-year-old. Earlier this year, two former MPD employees alleged in a civil lawsuit they were discriminated against by the department because of their race.
John Norman, Midland’s only black city councilman, believes city officials need to listen to community members about their concerns.
“I think if both parties or both sides can understand where each side is coming from, then I think we can, you know, start building that relationship and trying to come up with solutions for these problems,” Norman said.
Midlanders will have the opportunity to speak to city officials on Thursday evening at a community forum held at the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center. The city is taking precautions to try and prevent the spread of the coronavirus among any residents who participate.
“We want to take all the precautions necessary to make people comfortable,” Norman explained.
Social distancing will be enforced, masks and gloves will be available, and if needed, an over-flow room will be used to safely distance community members. Norman also said the microphone that audience members will use to speak to officials will be sanitized after every speaker.
For those who are unable to come out for the event or do not feel comfortable gathering during a pandemic, the forum will be live-streamed on Facebook.
This story was produced by Marfa Public Radio.