Cops Tase High School Band Director at Football Game

Johnny Mims claims 'egregious violation of civil rights' in Birmingham
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2023 11:35 AM CDT

Police in Birmingham, Alabama, repeatedly deployed a stun gun in front of students while arresting a high school band director who allegedly refused to stop his band from playing. Police were clearing spectators from a stadium following a football game between Minor and Jackson-Olin high schools on Thursday when they reportedly requested that both school bands stop playing, per Police say Jackson-Olin High's band complied, along with some members of the Minor High band—until their band director, 39-year-old Johnny Mims, demanded that they continue. "Get out of my face," he appears to tell officers in a body camera video, per WBRC. "This is our last song." "You will go to jail," an officer responds. "Cool! That's cool!" Mims replies, giving two thumbs-up.

The stadium's lights go out moments later, shortly before the band finishes their song. Multiple videos then show a chaotic scene, with spectators screaming as Mims and others argue in an area just below the bleachers, per Police describe a physical altercation involving Mims, Birmingham City Schools security personnel, and Birmingham officers. They say Mims not only ignored the police order but also shoved an officer and refused to put his hands behind his back. An officer ultimately deployed a stun gun at Mims, who was facing him. It hit Mims in the torso before he dropped to the ground. A woman could then be heard yelling, "In front of the kids?" Earlier in the scuffle, a young person was observed screaming, "Leave him alone. Stop!"

Mims was treated by a paramedic, taken to a hospital, then arrested and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, harassment of a sports official, and resisting arrest, per Law & Crime. He posted bail and was released from Birmingham City Jail later Thursday. A day later, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin released a statement, asking "everyone not to jump to conclusions." "I am in the process of gathering all the facts and feel it would be inappropriate to comment further until that process is complete," he said. On Monday, school officials said Mims had been placed on administrative leave with pay, per He plans to "seek justice" for an "egregious violation of civil rights," his lawyers tell WBRC. (More arrest stories.)

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