Johnny Mims: Lawyer for Alabama band director arrested after football game says hazing was unacceptable and traumatized students.


The Alabama band director, who was stunned with a police stun gun and arrested after refusing to stop his band’s performance at a high school football game, said the post-game songs were arranged ahead of time. And the whole experience has left him traumatized.

“I should never have been harassed. “It was extreme,” Minor High School band director Johnny Mims said at a news conference Tuesday. “No teacher should ever have to experience this.”

Mims said she is most concerned about the students who had to witness the incident, saying, “They are the most important thing in this situation.”

“It is heartbreaking. It is painful. It’s tough,” he said. “There’s no way to explain how I’m feeling, because I know my students are hurting.”

After the incident, Mims was taken to a University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital and then to the Birmingham City Jail, where he was booked and later bonded out of jail. Police said officers obtained arrest warrants for disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest.

Mims’ attorney, Jundalin Givhan, said, “Regardless of how it began, nothing happened to cause my client to be tased multiple times, even on the ground like a complete criminal, in front of 145 students. Front.” Tuesday on CNN This Morning. “Those kids were in shock.”

Mims said that he and the band director of PD Jackson-Olin High School, where the football game took place, had agreed to continue playing music after the game ended.

“The director of Jackson-Olin High School came over to coordinate playing some tunes after the game,” Mims said, adding that he agreed to play three songs.

“I wasn’t trying to be disobedient to the police department,” Mims said. “I was just trying to do my job, which was established before the game was over.”

CNN has contacted Jackson-Olin High School for comment.

Attorneys representing Mims are requesting that all charges against him be dropped and that the officers involved be placed on administrative leave.

The Birmingham Police Department released body camera video of the encounter that shows Mims being tased and bystanders screaming.

“It’s extremely disturbing to me that our students, our children, had to see that scene,” Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Walter Gonsolin said in a statement Tuesday. “Nothing is more important than their well-being.”

Birmingham police gave the district permission to review the bodycam footage Monday night, Gonsolin said.

“I am not prepared to discuss specifically the content of the video. “Our district leadership is still reviewing and analyzing the video and related circumstances, and will reserve further comment until that review is complete,” he said.

Mims has been placed on administrative leave, which Gonsolin said is standard protocol while the district reviews the situation.

“We cannot allow violence to be the way we handle situations,” Theron Stokes, lead attorney for the Alabama Education Association, the union that represents teachers in the state, said at a news conference Wednesday. The association has called for the mims to return to work.

The incident began Thursday, when officers asked the band directors of both schools to stop their performance after a football game at PD Jackson-Olin High School so people would leave the stadium, Birmingham police spokesman Truman Fitzgerald previously said. statement,

The home team’s band stopped playing when asked, but Mims “instructed his band to continue performing,” the statement said.

“BPD officers attempted to detain the band director for disorderly conduct when a physical altercation occurred between the band director, Birmingham City School System personnel, and BPD officers,” the statement said.

Birmingham Police Department

Mims said he was stabbed on his shoulders and torso.

“The arresting officer alleges that the band director pushed him during the arrest,” the police statement said. “The arresting officer subdued the band director with a Taser, ending the physical confrontation.”

Mims’ attorney, Given, called the police account of the incident “completely false.”

“My client never once attempted to attack the Birmingham Police Department in any way,” Givhan said. “That a teacher would be harassed in front of students by law enforcement is unacceptable. This is too much,” she added.

The Birmingham Police Department referred CNN’s request for comment to the city attorney’s office. CNN has contacted that office for comment.

Mims said he split up while his band was playing, with about 15 students on the track and 130 in the stands.

“I told the executives, ‘Hey, we’re on the last part of the song,'” Mims said. “There has to be a coordination between those two entities of the band. It’s not one of those things that you’re separated from the group.”

Mims said the entire band from the other high school was in the stands, which “made it very easy for that director to have complete control over what was happening with the group.”

And at some point, the lights in the stadium were turned off, he said.

“You can see that I’m trying to signal separation of the group, but at that point, of course, because I’m a dark-skinned person, it’s very difficult for students to see that,” he said.

Givhan said she was seeking information about who cut the lights at the stadium and that they were planning to take legal action against the police department.

“We are asking the City of Birmingham to drop all charges against Mr. Mims and get him back to as healthy as possible,” Givhan said.

Mims said Wednesday that he is working to regain regular use of his arm after police tased him. “I have a great doctor that I’ve been working with to help me get regular use of my arm back because I had injuries in the shoulder as well as the lower torso area,” he said. “Of course, I use my shoulders for most of what I do.”

Stokes questioned whether the responding officers acted “in an efficient and safe manner.”

“If their intention was to protect the patrons and students present at the football game, why did they turn off the lights while they were there?” Stokes said.

It is not clear who switched off the ground lights. PD Jackson-Olin High School, the school district that belongs to Birmingham City Schools, said Wednesday it is still looking into the matter.

Bodycam video shows several officers asking Mims to end the performance while the band director repeats, “Get out of me.”

“We are preparing to leave. This is our last song,” Mims then tells the officers.

When an officer threatens, “You’re going to go to jail,” Mims responds with a thumbs-up and says, “That’s cool.”

The stadium field lights are then turned off and the band ends its song. When Mims walks off the stage, a struggle begins between him and the officers as they appear to try to handcuff him while he yells, “Get away from me.”

“He hit the officer. He needs to go to jail,” an officer can be heard saying. “He swung at the officer.”

Mims is then heard saying that he “did not attack the officer” as the struggle continued.

Seconds later, an officer uses a Taser on Mims, knocking him to the ground as panicked screams are heard from the crowd around him.

The video has raised questions on the use of police force.

“This would not have had the guts to happen in a majority-white school in the state of Alabama,” Givhan said. “But you would dare to taser a black man in a black school in the city of Birmingham, which is a majority black city?”

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

PD Jackson-Olin High School is part of the Birmingham City School District, where fifth-quarter performances are not allowed “as a safety precaution,” the district said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.

“The band has been instructed to leave the stadium immediately. This is even more important when games are played on school nights,” Birmingham City Schools said.

The district said that “the band director resigned after a member of the BCS security team tapped the director on the leg to get his attention.”

“We are further advised that when Birmingham Police officers attempted to arrest the Minor Band Director, a BCS security team member attempted to deescalate the situation,” the district said, adding that school administrators, including Jackson Olin Principal, were there. Were present. game.

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

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