Alabama Band Director Tased by Police During Post-Game Performance

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Alabama band director, Johnny Mims, was left traumatized following a shocking encounter with police which saw him arrested and assaulted with a stun gun after he led his band in a previously arranged post-game performance at a high school football fixture. “No educator should ever have to experience that. It was excessive,” Mims stated in a recent news conference, emphasizing his concerns for his students who were subjected to the harrowing scene.

Mr. Mims, currently attending to his duties at Minor High School, was subsequently taken to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, and then to the Birmingham City Jail. Charges based on disorderly conduct, harassment, and resisting arrest were represented by officers in the arrest warrants.

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The incident occurred after Mims, alongside the band director from PD Jackson-Olin High School (the game’s hosting venue), resolved to play a few songs after the game’s conclusion. “I was not trying to be defiant to the police department,” Mims clarified. “I was just trying to do my job, which was previously established before the end of the game.”

An urgent call is now being made by Mims’ attorneys for all charges against him to be dropped and for the involved officers to be put on administrative leave. Body camera footage released by the Birmingham Police Department, showing Mims being tased amid widespread screams, prompted Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin to express his upset that students had to witness the event.

Mims, currently on administrative leave, is navigating a recovery process as he works to regain full use of his arm after the tasing event. Theron Stokes, the lead attorney for the Alabama Education Association, has called for Mims’ reinstatement and questioned the efficiency and safety of the police officers’ actions on the night.

Details from an incident report state that police officers at the scene requested both bands to cease performing so spectators could vacate the stadium. While the home team complied, Mims, apparently, asked his band to keep performing. A physical altercation ensued as officers tried to arrest Mims for Disorderly Conduct, a charge contested by Mims’ attorney, who insists it was an excessive and unacceptable act by law enforcement for an educator to be tased in front of students.

Meanwhile, confusion looms over who turned the stadium lights off, an action that according to Mims, made it challenging to cue a finish to the band’s performance due to the poor visibility. The incident has sparked broader questions involving usage of police force, especially in majority Black educational institutions.

PD Jackson-Olin High School, a part of the Birmingham City Schools district, restricts post-game performances “as a safety precaution,” and expects bands to promptly exit the stadium.

Mims, having served as the band director since 2018, with a decade’s prior experience teaching high school band in Florida and holding a master’s degree in music education from Florida State University, has yet again found himself at the heart of a divisive issue. The story, far from its final note, continues to seesaw between versions of events from Mims, the police, and local school officials, despite the chilling bodycam footage leaving a lingering discord.