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Alabama band director tased and arrested after high school football game for refusing to stop performance, police say


By Melissa Alonso and Caroll Alvarado, CNN

(CNN) — A band director was tased and arrested when he disregarded police requests to stop his band’s performance after a high school football game, according to a Birmingham Police Department spokesperson.

The incident occurred Thursday following a win by Minor High School at PD Jackson-Olin High School in Birmingham, said police. Birmingham police officers started clearing out the stadium when the game ended and noticed “both schools’ bands still performing,” said spokesperson Truman Fitzgerald in a statement.

Officers spoke with both band directors and asked them to stop playing music “so students and attendees would leave the stadium,” said the statement.

The home team band stopped playing when asked, but Minor’s band director, Johnny Mims, did not stop and “instructed his band to continue performing,” according to Birmingham police.

“BPD officers attempted to take the band director into custody for Disorderly Conduct when a physical altercation ensued between the band director, Birmingham City Schools System personnel, and BPD officers,” said the statement.

Mims was tased by police when he resisted arrest and allegedly pushed an officer, the statement said. “The arresting officer then subdued the band director with a Taser which ended the physical confrontation,” police said.

A video that surfaced online shows the moment Mims was tased by the arresting officer, Mims’ attorney, Juandalynn Givan, told CNN. Givan is also a state representative.

In the video, several onlookers are seen standing around the altercation between Mims and the officers, which resulted in some pushing and shoving. The arresting officer, who was standing across from Mims, is then seen pulling out a Taser and uses it on him.

Onlookers scream as Mims fall to the ground, the video shows.

Another video shows Mims and police officers tussling but it’s unclear if the video was taken before or after Mims was tased.

“This incident is an alarming abuse of power and a clear violation of our client’s civil rights,” Givan said in a statement shared with CNN. “It is unacceptable for law enforcement to engage in home rule in the field of play or with regard to band activities unless there is a significant threat to the safety of the general public.”

Givan added they plan to pursue legal action against the police department.

Birmingham Fire and Rescue treated Mims at the scene and police then transported him to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. After his release, police said officers took him to the Birmingham City Jail, where he was booked and later bonded out.

Officers obtained arrest warrants for disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest, police said.

The Birmingham Police Department’s “Internal Affairs Division investigates all incidents where an officer uses force during an arrest,” said the police statement.

“We are aware of the incident that occurred after the Minor and Jackson-Olin football game,” said Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin in a statement to CNN affiliate WBRC. “I am in the process of gathering all the facts, and feel it would be inappropriate to comment further until that process is complete. I urge everyone not to jump to conclusions.”

Mims joined the Minor High School band in 2018 after teaching high school band in Florida for about a decade, according to the school’s website, and he has a master’s degree in music education from Florida State University.

“This is a bit much, to tase a gentleman with a stellar reputation” in front of students and parents at a football game, Givan said.

CNN has reached out to the Jefferson County School District directly for comment.

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