School band conductor Tasered by police for not stopping performance
A high school band director in Alabama was tasered by police officers after he refused to tell his marching band to stop playing.
Johnny Mims, the band director at Minor High School in Adamsville, Alabama, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, and resisting arrest.
The incident took place at a football game between Minor High School and PD Jackson-Olin High School in Birmingham.
The game was hosted at Jackson-Olin’s stadium on Thursday night. Police intervened when the teams’ bands continued playing after the game ended.
Mims was placed under arrest after he failed to comply with demands to stop the performance.
‘Minor’s band director did not comply with multiple officers’ requests to stop his band performing; he instructed his band to continue performing,’ the Birmingham Police Department (BPD) said in a statement.
A BPD sergeant attempted to place the director under arrest when a ‘physical altercation ensued’ between the director, a Birmingham schools employee, and BPD officers.
‘During the physical altercation, BPD officers attempted to get the band director to put his hands behind his back, but he refused,’ the police department said.
The director then allegedly pushed one of the arresting officers. That officer then retrieved his Taser stun gun, which he fired at the director.
The director was treated by paramedics and briefly hospitalized before being booked at Birmingham City Jail. He has since been released after posting bond.
However, Mims’ attorney Juandalynn Givan called the police’s account of the incident ‘an absolute lie.’
‘My client, not at one time, attempted to assault, in any fashion, the Birmingham Police Department,’ Givan told CNN This Morning.
‘Regardless of how this may have started, there’s nothing that happened that would have warranted my client being tased multiple times, even while on the ground like some total criminal, at that point in front of 145 students.’
Mims said the bands were playing a ‘Fifth Quarter’ performance, a historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) marching band tradition in which the band keeps playing while guests leave the stadium.
Fifth quarter performances are not allowed in Birmingham City Schools as a safety precaution.
‘High school bands in Birmingham City Schools are instructed to exit the stadium as soon as possible at the conclusion of high school football games,’ the district said in a statement.
Body camera footage released by the BPD shed more light on the confrontation.
In the video, the officers position themselves between Mims and his band, telling him to stop directing.
‘Get out of my face,’ Mims repeats to the arresting officer as he continues to focus on the band.
‘I got my troops, and they gone sweep their a**es out,’ a male officer responds.
‘Load them up before I contact the superintendent,’ a female police sergeant yells over the music.
‘I know, we’re fixing to go,’ Mims says. ‘This is our last song.’
Mims continues calmly directing the band while the officers shout instructions at him, attempting to be heard over the music.
‘I’m fixing to send you to jail!’ one of the officers can be heard yelling.
About two minutes into the video, the stadium cuts the lights out. Mims holds his hands up, getting the bands attention, and directs them to finish the song.
The director walks toward the field, out of view of the body camera. When the officer catches up, Mims is surrounded by other police officers and school employees.
One of the cops tells Mims he ‘swung on an officer,’ but the director immediately refutes the accusation.
‘I did not swing on the officer, man,’ Mims replies.
Mims can be seen arguing with another officer, who holds a Taser up to the director’s face. It is unclear what they are speaking about, but seconds later he pulls the stun gun’s trigger.
The same officer fires the Taser at Mims two more times before the video ends.
Jefferson County School District Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said he was gathering the facts about the incident.
‘I urge everyone not to jump to conclusions,’ Gonsoulin said.
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