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Alabama Band Director Johnny Mims was tased in front of 145 students by a Birmingham, Alabama, police officer on the evening of September 14.
What started out as a routine band performance of Talkin’ Out the Side of Your Neck by Cameo at an Alabama high school football game concluded in a traumatizing confrontation when a cop tased the marching band director at the near-conclusion of his band’s routine.
Mims: “I didn’t deserve to be tased.”
“I didn’t deserve to be tased, regardless of how people say it or how people feel about it. I never deserved that. I’m a good citizen,” Mims told Good Morning America.
The altercation occurred last Thursday around 9 p.m. local time after a game at Jackson-Olin High School in Birmingham.
Minor High School band director Johnny Mims, 39, and his ensemble of 145 students were about a minute away from being done with their final song when a police officer approached the podium.
Alabama band director has ‘hard time grappling with’ incident
According to both Mims and the Birmingham Police Department, officers asked Mims to stop the performance so they could clear out the stadium. Mims responded that the song was about to end and the performance was agreed on by both schools.
“Nothing we were doing at the time was being a danger to the community, fans or the school,” Mims told NPR on Monday. “Everyone was enjoying themselves. That’s the part I’m having a hard time grappling with.”
As the students finished their performance, officers attempted to arrest Mims for not complying. Police said the Alabama band director “refused” to place his hands behind his back and allegedly pushed an arresting officer.
Mims was caught off guard, saying it was difficult to see who grabbed him because the stadium’s lights went out. Moments later, an officer pulled out a stun gun and tased Mims.
Birmingham police said it happened once, but Mims insists he was tased up to three times.
The entire confrontation was witnessed by dozens of students, parents and faculty members.
Johnny Mims was released on bail the following day
Mims was sent to the hospital, which police said was standard protocol “after this type of incident.”
When Mims was discharged, he was taken to jail on charges of disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest. Mims returned home Friday on bail.
On Tuesday, the Birmingham Police Department released body-worn camera footage of the incident with the Alabama band director.
According to ABC News, Givan claimed in the press conference on Wednesday that the 8-minute body camera video released by the Birmingham Police Department is only part of the footage available.
She claimed that BPD did not release all of the body camera video related to this incident and said that she has acquired additional videos that allegedly show that Mims did not strike a police officer.
Juandalynn Givan, a lawyer for Mims, called the incident “an alarming abuse of power” and called for the officers involved in the incident to be put on administrative leave until further investigation.
She added the Alabama band director plans to take legal action against the police department.
According to BPD, Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond met with the Birmingham mayor and superintendents from both school districts regarding the incident.
This story is developing.