‘It was a horrifying situation’: Alabama high school band director speaks after arrest
Good morning. I am Wanda Van, the attorney representing Mr Johnny Mims, on behalf of the Alabama Education Association, my name is spelled Juandalynn. Last name Giban. Today we have asked you members of the media to assemble here at the Birmingham Division office of the Alabama Education Association. Present here today is the associate executive director, Mr Stokes, also the supervising attorney and lead counsel for the Alabama Education Association and he leads that entire legal division. There. Other members associated here today are members that are entitled directors and they serve all corners of Jefferson County and the state of Alabama as well as Mr Johnny Mims, the individual in question our client and the person who was assaulted by the Birmingham Police Department giving rise to these incidents. Today, we are here to discuss with you the incidents that gave rise on September the 14th 2023 after *** football game between minor high school and Jackson Oland High School here in the city of Birmingham. This incident gave rise to Mr Mims being un excuse me excessively tased with what we have termed as *** stun gun or *** taser. In common terms, we feel that it was an assault on him physically as well as on his character. Today, we are here to discuss some of the particulars of the incident that arose and as well as to give Mr Mims an opportunity to speak to you collectively. At this time, I would ask that Anna Burn uner director who is also the UN director for Mr here in the Birmingham area, if she would come forth on behalf of the Alabama Education Association. Thank you. Hi, my name is Anna Byrne. I am the UNICEF, one of the UNICEF directors for district 28 which includes Jefferson County. I’m thrilled to be able to represent my member. This is what we do at *** E ***. We stand behind our members and I could not be happier that he is the best legal team around to represent him. This was an unfortunate event for our community, for our schools, for our parents and for our students. And so I, I have all the confidence in the legal team moving forward and we will continue to advocate for our members. Thank you. Thank you. At this time, we are asking you will formally now hear from Mr MS uh Good morning. Uh Again, my name is Johnny Mims. Johnnym, I MS uh I’m the director in question. Uh First of all, I’d like to thank you guys for being here today for giving me the opportunity as an educator to give my side of the story, uh, on Thursday, September 14th, uh, we were preparing for just *** normal day. *** normal football game is what we normally do. We prepare three days *** week, uh, for our football games. I was traveling over to Jackson Olden High School, uh, with *** group of about 100 and 45 students, uh, with ***, uh, with *** chaperones and, uh, with, uh, staff, we were preparing for the game as we would normally do, we came in and played the band sounded amazing as, as, as expected from our uh stellar students. And then towards the end of the game, uh the director from Jackson High School came over to set up *** coordination of playing *** few tunes after the game, which we agreed upon, we do 2 to 3 tunes and it will establish that we would do three tunes at that point. And so we followed suit and so it brings all the question of what happened in this situation. What should never have happened to me or to the students or to the parents to have to even see. Uh and again, the most important thing I want you, uh everybody to know that I was just doing my job uh as an educator in, in the band, uh allowed the band to play and again, the celebrating the achievements of our football team, uh Chile the squad and our band program. Uh the things that happened in that game should have never happened. Uh The students should have never seen me tased. Uh those things should have never happened. I was not trying to be defiant to the police department again, I was just trying to do my job, which was previously established uh before the end of the game. And so I think it’s important for everybody to know that it was coordinated is something that is uh uh customary uh to bands. And again, uh we wanna make sure that everybody doesn’t lose sight of that. The students will call it in this. It’s very important to understand also that the lights were cut off towards the end of that, help us perform in those tunes. And so that further made it more difficult for us to be able to move the students out of the stadium in an orderly fashion way. Because more importantly, we have to always be careful to make sure that we consider the students and make sure that they’re safe entering and out of the stadium. And so, uh that’s the uh account what happened uh at the game. Uh It’s very unfortunate I should have never been uh tased. Uh It was excessive and I, I think that should have uh no, should ever have to experience that, but I definitely don’t want us to ever lose sight of the students who were caught in the middle of this. Uh They are the most important thing in this situation. Thank you. One thing I want to add on behalf of Mr Mims is that it was alleged that he struck *** Birmingham police officer. I know many of you in the media have had received some video footage uh body cam footage from them and I want to make sure that I reiterate something uh that that is not the only footage. There were several uh pieces of body cam that the city of Birmingham Police Department is in control and in that they are the custodians of I am now in possession of that video footage and they failed to give all versions of the body cam information to you all. Uh And again, once you receive that information, we started circulating, you will see that my client never struck or attempted to strike *** Birmingham police officer. At this time, we have do Darryl Sinkfield, assistant exe executive director of field services on behalf of the Alabama Education Association. Again, *** protocol has been established. We welcome the media here today, but we want everybody to know that the Alabama Education Association stand by our members has been stated, this was *** very unfortunate situation that happened to Mr Mas, our students, this community and we as members of the Alabama Education Association want our members here far and near to understand that when things happen, *** *** would be there to come to their rescue and come and stand by their side. Mr MS is *** very important member of the, of the association. He’s been in this district for six years, been an excellent uh band director and we just want him to know today we stand ready to make sure that his due process is not violated and that he will seek and be able to be able to go back into the school and provide those great services that he’s been providing. So Mr, we stand beside you as the members of *** E ***. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. At this time, we will hear from the associate executive director and uh head lead attorney for the uh Alabama Education Association in Stoke. Good morning. What I like to say is that we appreciate everyone for coming. But this is what’s important about this situation. This should be *** learning situation for not only uh the, the folks that was involved in this, in, in uh what happened at the at the football game, but also it should be for all other school districts and everywhere to learn the importance of how you treat uh band directors, how you treat students when you were at *** game. One of the thing we learned now over the years is that we cannot allow violence to be the way we handle situations in this situation. Violence was not needed. Matter of fact, it was not necessary what we feel like it should have been an example of how not this is an example of how not to do things in the school system. Well, it’s *** football game and remember now that the folks were attending the football game, *** lot of them were students, the band had 145 members. Those same students take classes in school regarding government, government, law enforcement, how to respect law enforcement. They are trained and taught that way. However, law enforcement must set an example as to how they treat students, citizens of this state because it’s unfortunate that *** mounted in incident like this turned into such *** tragic situation. And I said tragic in *** sense that the impression that those students received from this situation will be li life with them for life. They will always remember. And one of the biggest problem we have is getting the public to trust and respect law enforcement. That’s one of the biggest problem we have. It is so unfortunate to see that over the years where minor traffic incidents or minor uh uh uh situation in the public turn into not only *** serious situation but tragic situations. So we would like to be able to work with law enforcement. We appreciate the Birmingham City Police Department, we respect them, but on the same token, the officers must operate in an efficient and safe manner. If it’s with their intent to protect the uh patrons and the students that were at the football game, why would they turn off the light lights when they were still in there. Why would you allow persons to be trying to exit *** uh, *** stadium in the dark? That, that is just not justifiable in this situation, what we see here and what, what they did to Mr S the first time they said he tased him and it had no effect on him. I want to know y’all, y’all see Mr, he’s not *** very big guy and you tased him once, then you taste them again. Do you taste them again? I just think that was something that was totally unnecessary. So what we feel is that the schools have *** right to protect all of its persons that are attending games at the school at *** football game. As you know, the fifth quarter uh situation is traditional where they play songs at the end of the game, they played the school alma mater and both team, both bands would play. This was something that was routine. I guarantee you, Mr Johnny did not wake up last Thursday to say he was going to *** football game to be treated like *** criminal that was not his intent. So what we’re saying is let’s have some accountability right now, Mr Mr Mims have been placed on administrative leave by his school district as if though he was wrong, he was wrong. I have not heard anything saying what is going to be done to the officers that was involved in this situation. Yes, we are requesting that Mr may be put back to put, be put back to work because it was not his fault. Well, to say that we can have *** fun time at *** football game should be ordinary, should be routine. We should be able to chill, shout and yell for an hour team. If our team loses, we still need to have respect and we still need to be professional in how we treat the other team because you know what they call that sportsmanship. That’s what you’re supposed to be teaching Children in high school. But you’re also need to be teaching them how to be treated by law enforcement so that they don’t, won’t go around having *** fear that every time they get pulled over by *** policeman or they get uh stopped in the store by *** security guard or anywhere in this country that they’re gonna be treated fairly with respect. So what we’re here today to say that we want justice for Mr Mills, we want him to be treated fair. We want him to treat it with respect. Also, we want the officers involved in this to be held accountable for the action. And again, I say we know that we have some great fine officers in the Birmingham uh with the Birmingham uh police Department, we have some great officers in Jefferson County all across this country, but we cannot let the few make it bad for the whole and in this situation. It was exactly that we had *** few officers saying they were trying to protect folks by, by making sure folks exit the stadium when they turn off their lights and someone could have easily just missed the step, stepping down from the stands and hurt themselves. And then you saw the chaos that, that, that, that pursued. If the lights were on, you couldn’t have *** better video of what took place, but the lights were off and I have not heard anyone justify why the lights were being turned off. So what we are asking y’all, we are open to letting you know that we represent Mr Ma E *** represent Mr S and we’re here today on behalf of Mr S. Thank you, Mr Stokes. Um The last things that I will say is uh before opening it up, uh Many of you have inquired, where are we, we have started what is called uh the discovery process and that is, we have uh submitted *** notice of appearance on behalf of Mr Mims to the Birmingham Municipal court. We have also been in communication with the city attorneys. Uh There was *** meeting on yesterday evening between myself and several of the city attorneys as well as MS Anna Byrne, who is here present with us today to begin to review all of the body cam footage. I was actually uh I did receive the body cam footage as well as some other discoverable information we are now going through that I do want to uh express that we actually went through uh several uh different versions of the body cam, some of which I was surprised to hear that the, the city attorney had not even viewed yet. Uh It was also my understanding that they did not have full knowledge of the fact that the Birmingham police was going to release in the manner that they released on Monday. Uh the uh body cam for which you all are seeing, which also demonstrates to us an attempt by them to get ahead of the story with ***, an altered version of the body cam that you all are seeing in order to put themselves in *** positive light. We are going to uh be also sitting down with the sheriff’s department because there were two officers because uh they are minor high school is *** county school. There was also two sheriffs there, uh deputies that were also there that are resource officers, however, they did not engage in any of this, uh these accounts that took place. Uh But I’ve spoken with sheriff T and he has advised me that I can come over to view the body cam images that they have as well. Um He said that his uh uh deputies knew not to engage uh because that’s not their responsibility to get involved with home rule. Uh It is our position that it was not the city of Birmingham’s position or that it was within the authority to direct my client that should have been uh addressed with either the principals of minor high school and, or Jackson Nolan. And I leave you with this. I uh the questions that need to be asked is where were the administrators, where were the supervisors, where were the people who had supervision over the two band directors? And also with regards to the fifth quarter show, the band director from Jackson Olan came over to my client. We have witnessed account of that to state that they were going to in in fact, have 1/5 quarter activity because I know many of you have been asking about the fifth quarter, my client just didn’t initiate that on his own. Um And so we again stand firmly by our belief that this was excessive force, unnecessary and unwarranted. There were multiple Birmingham police officers there and the size of my client, he should have been able to be subdued in some kind of manner, but it never should have escalated. It’s their role to de escalate *** situation that was *** situation in which they were in. As Attorney Stokes has said in front of, of 100 and 45 Children who were ultimately traumatized. The situation at hand in which they have accused my client of striking, hitting or shoving *** Birmingham police officer is just another attempt by law enforcement as they have done across this country. To validate their bad acts. This is no different from the police officer in the tyre Nichols situation that said that because he was, he became so enraged because Tyree Nichols bump kicked him during an attempted traffic stop. Well, I’m glad my client was at the stadium because the acts of this particular Birmingham, these two, these uh particular Birmingham police officers could have ultimately had no cameras been there, had they been outside the presence of third parties if you’re so enraged that you have to draw *** taser and shock. And almost that’s *** form of electrocution. That’s what happens when you tell somebody, I could only imagine what would have happened from this particular officer. Had there not been cameras there and warm bodies in the in the uh at the facility at this time, we will open up the floor for questions that those other views be released. The video I am going to ask and I’m going to release them myself. I have copies of them and we started *** process uh last night of trying to get that information out. I 13. Um this question for Mr Man, he can answer but uh if you could share with us what has this experience been like for you and your family? If they have seen this video, if you are married and have Children and they’ve seen or heard about it, what has this been like for you? Uh It’s uh very difficult even talking about because um as you can hear in the videos, you can hear screams from the students and the parents. Uh I know my students very well. I know the uh the community that I work for. Um I can just feel emotions uh just again seeing the parents here supporting me. Uh it is very emotional because it’s, it’s something we all agree, everybody agree. This is something that should never have happened. And so to know that those students seen that happen to know that they’ve seen that happen to somebody they respect and love. We are team. Uh We call it the S OS family. We’re very tight. Um It’s, it’s heartbreaking, it’s traumatizing, it’s, it’s, it’s difficult. Um I get *** question *** lot like, how are you doing it? There’s no way to explain how I’m doing because I know that my students are hurting. I know that they come to school every single day trying to figure out when their director is gonna be back when because I’m always there in the morning to, to welcome him uh to say good morning. How are you doing? Like we have that type of bond. So regardless of what was going on in that stadium, regardless of, of, of the, the questioning or we need to leave. None that’s more important than the interaction that happens on *** day to day basis between me and the students and the staff that in that inspire those students. And so, uh, this is *** very hard and difficult thing to get, uh, passed. Uh, but I, I just, uh, I just, I just dread the, uh, this, this situation, uh, in *** way that it, it, it, it would be something that the kids have to, uh, deal with on *** day to day basis. We were outside the school, um, from what, you know, how are you all trying to keep more or they, I guess you not there? How are they trying to keep morale going for the student who still have to continue? Well, that’s, that’s the, that’s the, that’s the special thing about the minor high school band, one of the best band programs in the country, uh is that we built *** leadership team within that, in that group where we have student leaders. Uh We have *** great parent booster program. Uh So all parts of the, of the band that has already been intact, uh work together to make everything happen because it was always said that regardless of what happens to any individual within the group, the group, the band still has *** responsibility and so their responsibility is to get ready for the next performance. Um And so I’m so proud of them, of course, can’t be there. Um But I, I can, I know people can hear the music. If you go to Walmart to buy some chips, you’re gonna hit *** minor high school band in there. And so uh that’s the thing that’s special. They’re one of the best programs in the country and the students, all they wanted to do is to play and enjoy uh an opportunity to perform at *** football game for their fans who came to see them. Valerie be with ABC 33 40 Mr Mims. What do you think that your actions towards police officers? What kind of example or how did respond to see them? I think the students know deep down in their heart that Mr Mims all would like is to make sure that we were able to finish what we were doing, which had already been agreed upon. These are the things that the students look forward to and they prepare for and so that that interaction that you’ve seen, I know for the students, it was just like Mr Mans were just making sure that we were able to complete what we were doing, which was playing the song and you’ve seen that in the video footage, which if the lights weren’t cut off, you would see *** proper cut off of that song. And I think that’s how they took that situation just following up to that on the video several times. You can be heard saying get out of my face to *** uniformed officer regardless of who is right or wrong in that situation. Do you believe that that escalated the situation to what it led into rather than just ending like Jackson’s band director did and taking it up with uh more authority at it. It shouldn’t. Uh if you, if you look in the video, you can see the officer leaning over and so the, the only feedback you get from me was letting officer know it because you’re between me and the students and so you’re interfering. If you wanted, it was important for us to cut off or for us to leave, you’re interfering with the opportunity for me to do that with the students by being in front and yelling at me. So it should have never escalated because officers we’re taught and, and, and as an educator, you are taught that people are gonna say up to you all the time, but you still have to keep keeping composer. And for me, that was an opportunity for uh we’re done with the end of the song. We get off the podium, you pull me off the side and say, hey, listen, these are the situations of why we need to have you guys leave. None of that information was communicated and you could hear in the video how the officer was approaching me and, and, and the same thing, it’s gotta be respect on both sides and I feel like that was exactly what wasn’t done. And I wanna add something to that because that question uh is Valerie uh Valerie um that you, that you just asked, you need to see all of the video footage, you need to see the Jo side of the field. How did they approach the JO band director? At what time? And what period did the JO band director? Stop? Was he playing? Was he in mid song? What was he doing at the time? He was? So, so when you’re saying that they said stop, they may not have said stop to the band director while he was actually up conducting. So that’s why I want you all to get copies of the video footage and see the real story as to what happened. They may not have walked up to the Jo band director and uh use certain words that I cannot say here today. Uh and approach the JO band director in the way they approached my client, you can hear on one of the pieces of footage that the police are, one of the officers are saying what that they were gonna call Doctor Sullivan or the superintendent. And if not, my client would have to pay them over time. So was it *** thing that they were so ready to leave that they are because it’s just *** monetary issue at the end of the day, I have much footage that will demonstrate that there’s more to this story. But regardless of what happened, shy of him, actually physically trying to harm *** police officer, there was nothing and there is nothing in the, you can’t show me in *** code book you can’t see, show me anywhere in writing because if that were the case that anybody, if you say something back to the police that you should be arrested, you don’t see that you don’t say you see anything in *** code book that says that you can be automatically taste or salted. You don’t see that in *** code book. If that’s the case, many of you in this room today would have been apprehended at the mere fact that *** police officer stopped you to ask you or to inform you that you were speeding. So that’s not an excuse. And I’m gonna stop that right now. It’s unacceptable for my client to be tased the way he was tased by the Birmingham Police Department. It was excessive. You’re gonna, you’re gonna see in the footage that you will see, you’re gonna see *** the response from the police officers that may not, may not even have been on that side of the field. There’s even one Birmingham police officer that was on the jo side once that they were radioed and all of the record started. Someone informed him that his partner had tased my client. The first thing he says, and it’s clear Anna Anna Byrne was sitting there with me and as well as the prosecutor. Oh no, he tased him. Where did *** taser come from? You hear Birmingham police officers literally on there saying, oh my God, this never should have happened. You see the response and certain port portions are cut off at the time that my client was pulled from the conductor stand, he was dragged down from the conductor stand by either uh excuse me, one of the security officers and *** Birmingham police officer that never should have happened. It didn’t have to happen that way. All the Birmingham Police Department had to do was to allow my client as he said, he was wrapping up and then some of the that you will see it, that situation could have been where he wrapped up the song and everything would have been quietened down and it would have been over and we wouldn’t be here today. But to manhandle someone to snatch him off *** conductor stand, you tell me what you would have done regardless of how it started because I know there are some folks standing right in this room that would have said, why are you arresting me? Is it wrong to ask someone why they are arresting you? Is it wrong to say and proclaim that you didn’t do anything at the time? And I’m speaking now only at the point of contact at the time that he was tased. Everyone in here saw the footage. My client was simply doing this. Why are you doing this? What did I do? And he asked that repeatedly and then some law police officer from the city of Birmingham who feels that he is above reproach because he wears *** badge, decided to tase him. So there was enough time between whatever happened when they initially approached my client that there should have been *** warming down period and it should have been able to de escalate the situation. These officers obviously need training. And another thing I’ll add, this wouldn’t have happened in Mountain Brook. It wouldn’t have happened in Hoover. It wouldn’t have happened in Vestavia or Homewood. This would dare not have happened at *** majority white school in the state of Alabama that you would see *** black police officer tasing anyone on those campuses and everyone in this room knows that it wouldn’t have happened. You couldn’t have paid them. I don’t care if the kids never left the field. I don’t care if the conductor continued to conduct all night. They would not have said one single thing, but you would dare taste *** black man in *** black school within *** city in the city of Birmingham, which is *** majority black city. It’s ok. No, ma’am, it’s not. Ok. And that is why this story has gone viral. That is why the national media is concerned because they’ve never witnessed anything like this. So the question should not be whether he could have done anything. The question is, what did the police ultimately do? Can I follow up with um the fifth quarter thing you mentioned that the jail van came to Mr to tell him there’s going to be 1/5 quarter. Um Birmingham City Schools tells us for safety reasons. That’s not about that band director. Is *** county? Is that something that he was aware of that? It’s not allowed? That’s *** great question, Magdala. I literally before coming here spoke with Mark Sullivan. Doctor Sullivan and doctor Sullivan said that he was totally unaware. He was at, at this point going to call the band director in from JO because he should, that he spoke to us and he said that his band director should have known. Look at the footage, if you common sense tells you if the JO band was playing at some point, there had to be *** mutual assent between the parties. So it didn’t just happen by happenstance that my client was playing. If you just ask someone just ask the question, did the Birmingham, if the Birmingham Police Department had stopped them, uh if they asked them to stop? So obviously, they were in concert together at some point. So there’s no way that the, the uh the uh band director from Jackson Oland was not *** where that my client would be participating in what is called the fifth quarter. He literally walked over and we have witness account of it. He came from across the JO side to my client and directed my client of the fact that they would be holding 1/5 quarter performance during uh at, at the close of the game. My client did not go to him. And so it’s *** part of the camaraderie, as he mentioned, he acquiesced to that request or the comments that came from uh Mr uh Fitzpatrick, I think it is who is the band director of Jackson Oman C CBS 42. I know at the end of your press press release you sent out on Monday that you guys are seeking damages not only for pain and suffering but also to shed life. Can you just elaborate? Absolutely. This is *** matter this again. We can’t repeat it enough. Attorney Stoke said it. I said it. My client has said it, this is *** matter that never should have happened. We believe that uh there was an injustice done. We are seeking all legal *** uh any, any legal actions that we think uh would uh make my client hold. My client was struck. They didn’t know if he had *** pacemaker over 1000 plus people per year die because of being after being tased. They didn’t know his health condition. What would have happened? This is *** small man. Justice attorney Stokes said had they killed my client, my client has had to go to the hospital. He had to go yesterday for another checkup. They had to remove the uh the darts or what have you out of his, out of his arm. Uh So there are some things that we are looking into. Um and we will address all of those at the appropriate time. And lastly, uh and since we are talking about the taser, the question is, and it’s interesting with you, with you all standing here. No one in this media court has asked the City of Birmingham about the taser. They use. The city of Birmingham uses one of the most high powered tasers in the country. No one in this room has asked about the cycle. How many cycles that’s good reporting. The public needs to know that the public needs to know that uh one of the things we’re gonna be asking uh the superintendent for Jefferson County to do is to uh place them back to work Mr S and we’re gonna be asking parents uh of the uh parents in the at, at the school. Also citizens in Jefferson County to request that Mr M be placed back to work. This, this has gone universal. We’ve heard uh nationally, we’ve heard from different parts of the country asking why did this happen? Well, we need to correct it and the first way of correcting it is putting Mr Mills back to work because he was doing an excellent job uh at, so we’re asking that that once this being exposed, sometimes you have to expose the bad things to correct them. So we’re asking now that this be corrected and we want and hope that the Birmingham City Police uh will take this as an opportunity to train our officers not to in *** way how to handle situations like this at school in *** game because we know it’s important for everyone to feel safe when they go to *** football game and that’s why they are there. They are there to make sure people are safe. So we want them to understand that we want to work with them, not against them. So Mr S feels as though he has been mistreated. We can’t undo what he has done. He was tased and all and pushed down on the floor and on the, on the concrete and mistreated. But we can say going forth, it’s *** lesson learned and that this should never happen again. And because uh the fifth quarter, whether the fifth quarter was sanctioned or not, you don’t treat *** band director who and let me tell you about the band director, the band doesn’t move to the band director, tells it to move. So talking to Mr Mims and get him the opportunity to move out 100 and 45 member band that was important and the officers should have known that that was important. So what we are saying now, let’s correct it. Let’s get all on one page on one page so that our students will be educated the right way about how they should be treated by law enforcement and not be not be *** fear of worrying about if somebody pull them over or talk to them about *** minor incident that they’re going to be mistreated. I just wanna get one more question. Let me do this. Let me get uh box six first and then since you asked two questions, two quick questions. First and foremost, you spoke about responsibility that I know y’all want Mr to return to teaching. Do you all have any requests or anything you are asking for DPD regarding the officers situation? Yes. Uh it Attorney Stokes has said we have requested uh, that they be placed on administrative leave. But I find it interesting even with the Birmingham police in the statement that they, the blanket statement they released not one time, do they say they regret or that they apologized to the extent that students were present to witness the accounts that took place? So we are asking that those individuals be placed on administrative leave. Uh And uh, we’re hoping that uh some different actions will be taken in the next coming days. Uh And especially as we begin to roll out the different footage of the body cam. But I think it’s very unfortunate even just *** matter of ***, as, as administrative caution, since there’s an investigatory process, you would have at least thought that these officers should have been placed on leave instead of, uh, continuing with unfounded uh, accusations of my client punching or shoving *** Birmingham police officer. Lastly, do we have any idea who was the entity or individual that did turn off the lines I know in some districts it’s school personnel. So maybe it is law enforcement that definitely needed to the problem. I have I requested that information this morning from Doctor Sullivan. He told me he would get back with me sometime this afternoon. Um And hopefully I will have that information. I have been able to identify the two security officers. Uh that was something I was working on this morning. And so we’re waiting to hear back from Doctor Sullivan and the Birmingham City school system. So you mentioned that or in the video, it could be heard that Mr MS allegedly hit *** in the report that we got or the statement we got from BPD. His charges are disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest. And your expertise should there have been or should there be an exact charge for hitting an officer or do you know what was the probable cause? Because if you’re alleging that my client hit you the way those tempers were flaring on that day, you would have known that my client had actually struck *** Birmingham police officer. Again, it’s the fabrication of the story that they want the media to, to, to, to uh give life and breathe life into that is why they released the footage, the way they released it un belongs to the city attorney at the time. And because they were trying to get ahead of the story, the question becomes if my client hit or shoved or punched *** Birmingham police officer should not assault should not some other underline some other crime be attached to this harassment. How was he harassing the police? Uh But the other thing is we have more than one witness. We have at least 100 and 45 student witnesses witnesses this situation. So what the Birmingham City police are saying we respect that, but we also going to respect the eye witnesses that were there and saw this, saw this event, this tragic event in the sense of how Mr Mills was treated and some of those witnesses are in the room as we speak. Um And so you can hear, I’m sure some of you all will question them and multiple witness accounts, some of them I have not even spoken to, but they will attest to the fact that the Birmingham Police Department is lying to the general public. So are you saying if he in fact allegedly hit *** police officer? You’re saying assault should be included. I’m saying that that would have been included. You can rest assured of that man and it wasn’t. And I will say this the last first question I asked the the city attorney yesterday before we started going through any footage because I didn’t want to miss it. I said I want you to show me anywhere on any of these number of body cam, this body, this body cam footage where my client struck or attempted to strike *** Birmingham police officer? I not ask once, I not act twice, multiple times at no point. Could he show me to the point? He, then he said, I’ll be honest. II, I haven’t even watched all, all of the footage and I said, but your officers released the footage that had been edited for public consumption. Mr Vins, when you’re, if you’re reinstated, you have to go back to, to the band. Will you feel safe because you know, you’re gonna run into when you feel safe in *** stadium from him? That’s ***, that’s *** tough question. Um I, I would definitely, and I, I, and this is something I heard. I, I would definitely not shy away from doing the performance because at the end of the day, it’s, it’s about the kids. And so if the kids want to do *** performance that would cause us to have to interact uh with the Birmingham police, uh, we request that we would have additional Sr Os on, on site for us. Uh uh But I will do whatever is needed, which is best for our students. And so if we, we’re going to do *** performance, we’re gonna go have *** performance. Let me do this. She’s been had her hand up. I’m sorry, do you know if we have not been able to get that answer? I spoke with Dr Sullivan today. Um and he’s going to get back with me on that. He’s checking himself. Uh He intimated that he thought uh there was the only thing about that intimation. He mentioned the principal that was there the year before and they are no longer at the school. So from our understanding, Birmingham, police officers approached both band directors. Since you’ve seen the video, would you be able to share what you’ve witnessed if there was any differences in the way officers approached them, maybe the same way or differently? I think that the way that they approached my client, that he was treated because *** in one of the pieces of footage, you’ll hear the jo saying, go home, go home, go home. Let’s be mindful of the fact. This was Jackson Olan homecoming. This was *** really big week. They have one of the largest homecoming and homecoming weeks in the city of Birmingham, I believe temper slagged because of the score. Number one, they were, they were the home team and it’s homecoming and they lost. So I think there were many different factors and of course, they’re working for the Birmingham City school system. They weren’t working for Jefferson County. So if there are no further questions, um we want to thank each of you for coming out today. Hopefully, we were able to shed some light or some different perspectives on this situa ongoing uh situation and hopefully we will bring this situation to an end. We are asking the city of Birmingham to drop all charges against Mr S uh and to make him whole again as whole as possible and we will keep you all up to date with any further details regarding this particular matter. Thank you.
‘It was a horrifying situation’: Alabama high school band director speaks after arrest
Days after he was arrested and shocked with a stun gun by Birmingham police, Minor High School’s band director, Johnny Mims, is speaking out.”All I remember is hearing all of my students screaming, all of the parents crying,” Mims said. “It was a horrifying situation. I just hate to even have to keep talking about it.”In the video player above: Alabama Education Association, attorney of Minor High School band director address arrest and use of TaserThe Birmingham Police Department released a video Monday showing the arrest of Mims, who was also shocked with a stun gun three different times during the incident.”I can’t remember at that point because I was so stunned and so baffled. All I remember is he and all of my students are screaming, all of the parents crying. I mean, it was it was a horrifying situation,” Mims said.Juandalynn Givan, Mims’ attorney, said the bands were taking part in the fifth quarter. This is a time after the game when some high schools and historically Black colleges and universities will have their bands battle to see who is better. “It’s a very popular time during the football season amongst bands. It’s almost like a battle of the band,” Givan said. Citing the safety of its students, Birmingham City School said it prohibits the 5th quarter, stating that BCS High School bands are instructed to exit the stadium at the end of football games.”As a safety precaution, fifth quarter performances are not allowed,” Birmingham City Schools said in a statement Wednesday.The school district also said that the superintendent and security team reviewed the videos and found that the security team present at the time of the incident “attempted to calm the situation,” according to a statement. Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said it was sad to watch. He adds, “It’s extremely upsetting to me that our students, our children, had to witness that scene.””I’ve heard we’ve had students that had to be, you know, sent to the hospital. The EMT had to be sent out because kids were having panic attacks,” Mims said.The school district is not investigating the incident. Body camera footage released by the Birmingham Police Department starts 18 minutes after the game ends and shows officers walking onto the bleachers to where the band is playing.Multiple officers can be heard yelling at the instructor, Mims, to leave and that they are going to contact the school. He responded by telling them that it was the last song.The field lights go off, and the director ends the song. A sergeant says to place him in handcuffs.In the video, you can hear Mims tell an officer, “Get out my face,” several times.”There was one officer, like directly in front of my face, which I thought was very threatening to me,” Mims said.The crowd starts yelling as the body cam footage moves to show an altercation between officers and the band director. It is unclear who started the altercation. An officer then deploys a stun gun three separate times in front of a crowd full of students. The full body camera footage released by the Birmingham Police Department can be seen below. Warning: Some people may find the video disturbing. Mims was taken to UAB Hospital and then Birmingham City Jail, where he was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest, police said. He later bonded out. The Birmingham Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating.
Days after he was arrested and shocked with a stun gun by Birmingham police, Minor High School’s band director, Johnny Mims, is speaking out.
“All I remember is hearing all of my students screaming, all of the parents crying,” Mims said. “It was a horrifying situation. I just hate to even have to keep talking about it.”
In the video player above: Alabama Education Association, attorney of Minor High School band director address arrest and use of Taser
The Birmingham Police Department released a video Monday showing the arrest of Mims, who was also shocked with a stun gun three different times during the incident.
“I can’t remember at that point because I was so stunned and so baffled. All I remember is he and all of my students are screaming, all of the parents crying. I mean, it was it was a horrifying situation,” Mims said.
Juandalynn Givan, Mims’ attorney, said the bands were taking part in the fifth quarter. This is a time after the game when some high schools and historically Black colleges and universities will have their bands battle to see who is better.
“It’s a very popular time during the football season amongst bands. It’s almost like a battle of the band,” Givan said.
Citing the safety of its students, Birmingham City School said it prohibits the 5th quarter, stating that BCS High School bands are instructed to exit the stadium at the end of football games.
“As a safety precaution, fifth quarter performances are not allowed,” Birmingham City Schools said in a statement Wednesday.
The school district also said that the superintendent and security team reviewed the videos and found that the security team present at the time of the incident “attempted to calm the situation,” according to a statement.
Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said it was sad to watch. He adds, “It’s extremely upsetting to me that our students, our children, had to witness that scene.”
“I’ve heard we’ve had students that had to be, you know, sent to the hospital. The EMT had to be sent out because kids were having panic attacks,” Mims said.
The school district is not investigating the incident.
Body camera footage released by the Birmingham Police Department starts 18 minutes after the game ends and shows officers walking onto the bleachers to where the band is playing.
Multiple officers can be heard yelling at the instructor, Mims, to leave and that they are going to contact the school. He responded by telling them that it was the last song.
The field lights go off, and the director ends the song. A sergeant says to place him in handcuffs.
In the video, you can hear Mims tell an officer, “Get out my face,” several times.
“There was one officer, like directly in front of my face, which I thought was very threatening to me,” Mims said.
The crowd starts yelling as the body cam footage moves to show an altercation between officers and the band director. It is unclear who started the altercation. An officer then deploys a stun gun three separate times in front of a crowd full of students.
The full body camera footage released by the Birmingham Police Department can be seen below. Warning: Some people may find the video disturbing.
Mims was taken to UAB Hospital and then Birmingham City Jail, where he was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest, police said. He later bonded out.
The Birmingham Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating.