Alabama high school band director stunned, arrested after telling students to keep playing music, police said

13:35 18.09.2023 - FOX News, Lawrence Richard

The Birmingham Police Department arrested Johnny Mims from Minor High School and charged him with disorderly conduct among other charges.

Attendees and students at a high school football game in Alabama last week were left stunned and confused after police officers stunned and detained a high school band director, who told his students not to stop playing their instruments.

The arrest took place when Birmingham police officers were attempting to clear the football stadium at Jackson-Olin High School on Thursday, following the team's 27-0 loss to Minor High School, according to Birmingham Police Officer Truman Fitzgerald, a department spokesperson.

Fitzgerald told The Associated Press that officers instructed both bands to stop playing so that people would not linger at the facilities. He said the Jackson-Olin band stopped performing, but Minor's band director Johnny Mims refused to silence his students.

Instead, Mims told his students to keep playing. Then a scuffle ensued.

"During the officers' interaction with Minor's band director, the decision was made to place him in custody," a statement from the Birmingham Police Department read. "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 Security personnel, and BPD officers."

Fitzgerald said the band director refused to place his hands behind his back and then pushed the officer who put his hands on him, so another officer shocked the band director with a stun gun.

According to FOX6, someone who witnessed the arrest said the lights at the stadium were turned off as officers made their way to Mims. She also said the officers sprayed mace, but not directly at any students.

Paramedics treated the band director at the scene and then took him to a hospital for further evaluation, Fitzgerald said.

He was subsequently charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest before being released after posting bail.

The arrest sparked some controversy on social media with some users remarking it was unnecessarily heavy-handed.

Jefferson County School Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin declined to comment on the incident, telling The Associated Press that he is withholding judgment until the facts are known.

"I urge everyone not to jump to conclusions," Gonsoulin said.

The Birmingham Police Department's Internal Affairs Division is investigating the incident, as is protocol where an officer uses force during an arrest.

Jackson-Olin High School is located at 1300 Avenue F., in Birmingham. Minor High School is located in nearby Adamsville.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 1:35 PM /

themes:  Alabama

Alabama band director who wouldn't stop playing at football game is tased, arrested by police

An Alabama high school band director was shocked with a stun gun and arrested by police after he refused to stop his band's performance following a football game.

Police body camera video captured the altercation Thursday after the Minor and Jackson-Olin High School football game in Birmingham. The police department released the video Monday.

It shows three Birmingham officers repeatedly asking the band director for Minor to stop playing, but he refuses to do so. Things quickly escalated and the band director was hit with a stun gun several times by one officer and then placed in handcuffs, according to the video.

Police alleged that the director swung at an officer, a claim the director denies.

Jefferson County School Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said Friday that he was still gathering all the facts and declined further comment, according to The Associated Press.


Police said officers were clearing out the stadium following the game and saw both school bands still performing. Officers asked both band directors to stop playing so people would start to leave. The director for Jackson-Olin stopped, but the director for Minor High School continued to play, according to a police news release.

The body camera video, which began 18 minutes after the game ended, shows an officer approaching people with Minor's band.

"It's time to go," the officer says. "Y'all gotta go and come down."

The officer then starts speaking with the director, telling him that he's "being disrespectful."

"Get out of my face. Get out of my face. Get out my face," the director repeats with his hands in the air.

A second officer approaches and tells the director to stop, the video shows. A sergeant is also seen in the video telling the director to "cut it."

The director tells the sergeant that this is the band's last song, the video shows. The director then turns toward the first officer and tells him to get out of his face.

"What you gonna do?" the officer says.

The situation then continues to escalate. The sergeant threatens to contact the school and one of the officers tells the director he's going to jail. In response, the director gives a thumbs up and says "that's cool," the video shows.

Police said that the director signaled for the band to keep playing.

At one point, the field lights cut off and the sergeant directs the officer to handcuff the director.

The band eventually stops playing and the director climbs down from the bleachers to the ground. Shortly after, an altercation occurs between the director and police, the video shows.


"During the physical altercation, BPD officers attempted to get the band director to place his hands behind his back, but he refused. The arresting officer alleges the band director pushed him during the arrest," the release states. "The arresting officer then subdued the band director with a Taser which ended the physical confrontation."

The video shows the officer deploying his Taser several times, causing the director to fall to the ground.

The director was treated at the stadium by Birmingham Fire and Rescue and then taken to the hospital. ..... He has since bonded out, police said.

NBC News reached out to State Rep. Juandalynn Givan, who is the attorney representing the director.

Givan said the director was directing the band during their 5th Quarter performance," according to The Birmingham News. She accused police of using excessive force and said they wrongfully arrested him.

"Without any justifiable cause, a Birmingham police officer approached the band director, escalating the situation to an unimaginable extent," Givan said. "The officer deployed a Taser against the band director, causing physical harm and inflicting emotional distress all while in front of his students."

Givan said what happened was an "alarming abuse of power and a clear violation of our client's civil rights."

Alabama band director tased for refusing to stop playing after HS football game

An Alabama high school band director was tased on a football field Thursday after he refused to stop playing for the crowd, police said.

Johnny Mims from Minor High School was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest for encouraging his teenage band to continue playing long after the game had ended, records show.

Police were trying to clear out the Jackson-Olin High School stadium after the Minors had walloped the Mustangs by a score of 27-0 when they noticed both school bands were still playing, the Birmingham Police Department said.

The home team gladly left after cops asked them to stop playing, but Mims allegedly ordered his students to continue jamming.

Police repeatedly asked Mims to stop so students and ticketholders would leave the stadium, but the requests fell on deaf ears.


That's when a physical altercation ensued.

Mims allegedly fought against the arresting cops, refused to put his hands behind his back and reportedly pushed one of the arresting cops.


Mims was taken to a hospital for treatment, which police said is protocol, but was released and taken to a Birmingham jail.

He has since been released on bond.

High school band director tased and arrested for defying police orders


While the band director for Jackson-Olin complied with the officers' request, Mims refused to stop his band's performance. In a video captured by a police body camera, Mims can be seen repeatedly refusing to stop playing and engaging in a verbal confrontation with the officers. The situation quickly escalated, and an officer deployed a stun gun on Mims multiple times before placing him in handcuffs.


The arrest of the band director has sparked controversy, with some social media users criticizing the police for their use of excessive force. State Rep. Juandalynn Givan, who is representing Mims, accused the police of using unjustifiable force and violating Mims' civil rights. She described the incident as an "alarming abuse of power."

Jefferson County School Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin declined to comment on the incident, stating that he is gathering all the facts before making a judgment. ..... 

The arrest has left attendees and students at the football game stunned and confused. The exact sequence of events leading up to the arrest is still under investigation, and the school district is expected to release a statement once all the facts have been gathered.

Bodycam video shows Alabama high school band director being tased, arrested after refusing to end performance

A high school band director in Alabama was shocked with a taser and arrested when he refused to direct his students to stop playing music after a football game last week, authorities said.

The band director, Johnny Mims, has retained a legal team that is pledging to take action against the Birmingham Police Department, which released body camera footage of the incident on Tuesday.

Mims, who directs the band at Minor High School in Adamsville, a Birmingham suburb, led the band's performance Thursday on the bleachers at P.D. Jackson-Olin High School, where both football teams had recently finished a game. Both the Minor and Jackson-Olin high school bands continued to play after the game in what is known as the "fifth quarter," Juandalynn Givan, an attorney representing Mims, said in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday. The "fifth quarter" is a marching band tradition usually seen at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, where students continue to play music after a game ends.

Birmingham police officers told the band directors of both high schools to end their students' performances while attempting to clear the stadium following the game, the Birmingham Police Department said in a news release Friday. Police said the Jackson-Olin band director complied with officers' requests, but Mims did not.

In the body camera footage, which police said begins 18 minutes after the end of the football game, an officer wearing the camera crosses the football field and steps up onto the bleachers, where students are seen standing and playing music.

When the officer addresses Mims, he continues to conduct the band. "Get out of my face," he tells the officer several times.

"I've got my troops coming," the officer says. The officer then instructs Mims to stop the students playing and tells Mims, "You will go to jail," to which Mims replies, "That's cool."

Another woman in the video gives similar instructions to Mims to stop the band and warns that she will call the superintendent.

Footage shows the scene quickly devolve. The stadium lights turn off as an altercation ensues between Mims and at least two police officers, one of whom is wearing the camera. People crowd around them and many are heard screaming. Officers physically restrain Mims and are in the process of handcuffing him when one says, "He hit the officer, he got to go to jail." Mims denies hitting the officer.

While being ordered to put his hands behind his back, Mims is shocked once with a taser. In annotated text included in the body camera video, Birmingham police wrote that the first attempt to shock Mims was "ineffective." Moments later, Mims is shocked again with a taser for a more prolonged period.

Mims was taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct, physical harassment and resisting arrest, according to police. His attorney said Tuesday that Mims' legal team will investigate the incident, along with the Alabama Education Association, and intends to take legal action against the Birmingham Police Department.

"The objective is not only to seek damages for the pain and suffering endured by the band director, but also to shed light on the systemic issues within law enforcement and advocate for change," Givan said in the statement, calling the incident "an alarming abuse of power and a clear violation of our client's civil rights."

"These matters should be addressed by school district administrators or other leaders with expertise to de-escalate situations like this," the attorney's statement continued. "I am asking the Mayor of Birmingham and the Chief of Police to place all officers involved on administrative leave until further investigation. We will not rest until justice is served and those responsible are held accountable. This case highlights the urgent need for police reform, training and the protection of every citizen's rights."

Alabama band director says he was 'stunned and baffled' after getting tased at football game


Johnny Mims, the band director for Minor High School, said on NBC News NOW that he and the director for Jackson-Olin High School had agreed to do a 5th Quarter performance, where both bands continued playing while the crowds left the stadium in Birmingham after Thursday night's football game.

Mims said bands typically do this.

He said when police approached him he told them that the song they were playing would be their last performance.

"Before I knew it, I did see the officer tase me. I went down and after that, I was tased an additional two more times by the same officer and a different officer," he said. "I can't even remember after that point because I was so stunned and so baffled. All I remember is hearing all of my students screaming and all of the parents crying."

Officers were clearing out the stadium following the game and saw both school bands still performing, the Birmingham Police Department said in a ..... The director for Jackson-Olin stopped, but the director for Minor continued to play, according to the release.

The police department released body camera video on Monday that they say began 18 minutes after the game ended. It showed an officer approaching people with Minor's band and telling them that it was "time to go."

"Y'all gotta go and come down," the officer is heard saying.


The situation quickly escalated and an officer is heard telling Mims that he's going to jail. ..... 

The stadium lights cut off, the video showed, and a police sergeant is heard directing an officer to handcuff Mims.

The body camera video showed that an altercation occurred shortly after the band stopped playing. ..... 

Mims was hit with a Taser several times, causing him to fall to the ground, the video showed.

Police said that Mims was treated at the stadium and then taken to the hospital. ..... 

Mims said on NBC News NOW that he has been going to the doctor to check on his health.

The Birmingham Police Department's Internal Affairs Division has launched an investigation into the incident. Jefferson County Schools also is investigating and said Mims is on administrative leave, a standard procedure.


Alabama high school band teacher tased by police after refusing to wrap up postgame performance: video

The band director told police to 'get out of [his] face' multiple times.

A band director in Birmingham was tased after he refused to wrap up his band's post-football game performance, police say.

The band director, Johnny Mims, was charged with disorderly conduct, physical harassment and resisting arrest. The incident took place after Thursday's game between Minor High School and P.D. Jackson-Olin High School.

The Minor High School band was playing in the stands during the "fifth quarter," which is a tradition for some marching bands. Bodycam footage from the Birmingham Police Department shows officers approaching the band 18 minutes after the game ended.

The band was still loudly playing and cheering when police came over and asked them to wrap up. "It's time to go," an office was heard saying to a band instructor. ..... 

Officers then turned to their attention to Mims, who told them to "get out of [his] face" multiple times.

"Load them up before I contact the superintendent," a female officer told Mims. The director still energetically conducted the band despite the officers' pleas.

Chaos ensued when the field lights were turned off, prompting students to scream. After the band finally stopped playing, police attempted to arrest Mims. An officer accused the band director at swinging at another cop, which Mims disputed.

After the officers ordered Mims to put his bands behind his back, an officer tased him for several seconds. After the tasing, Mims obeyed the officers and allowed them to handcuff him.

The Birmingham Police Department is actively investigating the incident. No additional details were released by authorities.

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