MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – It’s a much needed national conversation: How can we obtain a good relationship between police and those they are supposed to be protecting?
Following a controversial arrest of an African-American man, Tye Anders, community members gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center Thursday to discuss the rising tension between police officers and the people they are sworn to protect. However, some feel this meeting is not enough and more must be done to protect people of color.
“This is an opportunity to open that door and start these conversations. I think it’s the first step but we have to take that first step in order to get to the second so,” said John Norman, Midland’s District 2 City Councilman.
One group in attendance said when lives are on the line a conversation isn’t enough.
Bryant Phelps, a Senior Pastor at the Church of the Disciple United Methodist and a native Midlander said, “We are here because justice is deserved here. People here deserve justice, people here deserve to have their voices heard.”
“We believe this town hall is being held prematurely and dishonestly. As long as Tye Anders is facing felony charges for evading an arrest stop we believe that this town hall is being used to pacify the citizens of Midland,” said Justin Moore, Tye Anders Attorney.
Maricela Chavez and her 16-year-old son Fernando who was seen being kicked by a police officer in a video back in April were also in attendance.
“I’m here once again for my boys because they also were at gunpoint, kicked to the floor, when the already had their knees to the floor,” said the mother.
Phelps said, “We pray that this city will do right by its people if not the righteous will take it by force and by faith.”
According to Norman, for a long time Midlanders that he represents have not been heard and now is the time to break down those barriers during these conversations.
“It might be some weeping, it might be some real thoughts put out there and we have to be ready for that. Be prepared that these are going to be real situations and stories that people have that need to be heard,” said the Councilman.
You can watch the full meeting in the video below.
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