Alabama Band Director Tased, Arrested After Post-Game Performance: Controversy Ensues

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The band director of Alabama’s Minor High School, Johnny Mims, reported that he was shot with a police stun gun and arrested post a high school football game performance, stating that the band’s performance had been previously planned. The entire incident, he shared, has left him traumatized.

Arguing that the use of a taser was unnecessary, Mims expressed his concern about the students who had to witness the unwarranted incident. His main prerogative, he stated, was to protect his students from the trauma of witnessing such a display of unnecessary force.

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Post the incident, Mims was admitted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital from where he was transferred to Birmingham City Jail. He was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, harassment, and resisting arrest.

Mims’ attorney, Juandalynn Givan, stressed that there is nothing that could have justified the usage of a Taser on his client. She stated he had been professionally dealing with the situation in the presence of the students.

Mims explained that an agreement had been made with the band director from PD Jackson-Olin High School, where the football game was hosted. According to this arrangement, both bands were supposed to continue playing post the game. Mims also stressed that his actions were not aimed at defying the police, but rather sticking to a pre-discussed plan.

The team of lawyers representing Mims have requested the charges against him to be dropped and imposition of administrative leave on the officers involved. Simultaneously, the Birmingham Police Department released bodycam footage of the incident.

Despite reviewing the bodycam footage, Walter Gonsoulin, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent, refused to comment on the specifics, stating that the matter is still under review. As standard protocol, Mims has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Actor Theron Stokes, representing the Alabama Education Association, condemned the violent handling of the situation and demanded Mims’ reinstatement.

As per the official statement from the Birmingham Police Department, Mims had instructed his band to continue playing in spite of requests to stop, to allow people to exit the stadium. This refusal allegedly led to a physical altercation between Mims and the police officers, resulting in the usage of the Taser. Attorney Givan however, refuted these claims, arguing there had been no assault from Mims’ side.

Mims’ next concern lay with the split band, 15 of whom were on the ground with the rest in the stands, and managing the coordination during the final song. The issue was further complicated when the stadium lights were turned off.

The incident has led to a demand for transparency regarding who turned off the stadium lights, along with a possible legal action against the police department. Furthermore, Mims is still undergoing treatment to regain full use of his arm after being tased.

To further complicate matters, the bodycam video displays Mims asking the officers to back off. The report also documents an officer threatening jail time, to which Mims responds with a nod, and a thumbs-up. Following this, across a darkened field, a struggle ensues, ending with the usage of a taser on Mims.

The video raises questions on the applicability of police force, especially in a majority-Black school witnessed by a majority-Black audience, as stated by Givan. The inquiry is currently being investigated by the Internal Affairs Division of the Birmingham Police Department.

Adding to this, it was stated that post the game performances are not allowed as a safety precaution in Birmingham City Schools, of which the PD Jackson-Olin High School is a part. Minor High School’s band director however, allegedly continued the performance post the game, resulting in his arrest.

Mims, a band teacher from Florida with almost a decade-long experience under his belt and a master’s degree in music education from Florida State University, joined the Minor High School band in 2018.