Community leaders met Friday night for about two hours to discuss a recent incident with Tyler Police and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.
The meeting was scheduled in regards to an incident that happened January 11, hours before the Earl Campbell award ceremony took place. Williams was in town for the event, staying at the Courtyard Marriott in Tyler. During his stay, he decided to take a walk in the woods near the hotel. He was later detained by four officers responding to a report of a suspicious person near that area. Williams matched the description of that suspicious person.
On January 18, Williams went on an Austin radio show saying he was racially profiled by the Tyler officers. Friday evening, community leaders met together focused on moving forward. Attendees of the meeting include: Tyler Police Chief Jimmy Toler, Tyler Mayor Martin Heines, Councilman Ed Moore, Councilman Darryl Bowdre, NAACP member Jon Lee Turner, NAACP member Albert Lacy, NAACP member Donald Sanders, NAACP President Cedric Granberry, City Attorney Deborah Pullum, Tyler police officer David Long, Tyler police officer Billy Yates, Tyler police PIO Don Martin, Jeff Williams and and John Sims of Tyler Together, Chairman Henry P. Jackson, Ralph E. Caraway Sr. of St. Louis Baptist Church, City Manager Edward Broussard, Ernest Deckard of Community Action, Orenthia Mason of TISD Board and Smith County Commissioner JoAnn Hampton.
“Most of the discussion was focused on what are the solutions and where can we continuously come together as a community and deal with any issue that we have because we’re strong enough as a community,” said Mayor Heines. “(Friday) is the first night to be able to really connect again and sit and visit and for us to begin the planning process in how we work together. Things don’t change overnight and issues come up, but we know how to work together as a community to solve issues.”
Mayor Heines said more meetings will take place to continue building a relationship with one another.
“We talked very candidly like we have in the past. We have addressed some immediate things that could perhaps be discussed to be put in place to make sure that we’re not as stringent in everything that we are,” said Councilman Bowdre. “Some things are never going to get right because we’re human beings but the main thing is that we’re making this effort and we believe that we can determine what happens in Tyler, Texas.”