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Alabama High School Band Director Tased and Arrested After Allegedly Refusing to Stop Performance

The band director was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest after the incident at a high school football game

<p>youtube</p> Johnny Mims

youtube

Johnny Mims

A band director in Alabama was arrested after allegedly refusing to stop a performance.

The reported incident took place at a high school football game on Thursday at P.D. Jackson-Olin High School in Birmingham. According to a release by the Birmingham Police Department, after the team faced off against Minor High School, officers asked both of the school's band directors to stop playing music in order to get attendees to clear out of the stadium.

Minor High School band director Johnny Mims allegedly did not comply with "multiple officers' request" and instead "instructed his band to continue performing," police said.

The department said that after multiple officers attempted to stop the performance, a "physical altercation ensued between the band director, Birmingham City Schools System Security personnel, and BPD officers."

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

After being treated by Birmingham Fire and Rescue and transported to UAB Hospital as part of "normal protocol," Mims was "booked in and subsequently bonded out" of Birmingham City Jail, police said. He was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest.

The incident remains under investigation by the Birmingham Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division. Body-cam footage from the game was released by authorities on Monday.

The department shared in a statement that the video from the interaction was released due to Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond's commitment to maintain a "positive relationship with our community members through transparency and open dialogue."

The nearly eight-minute video shows Mims telling officers multiple times to "get out of my face" when being instructed to stop the performance. After the stadium lights are shut off and Mims finishes leading the band through their "last song," officers attempt to handcuff Mims when one is heard alleging, “He hit the officer. He gotta go to jail. He swung on the officer.”

When Mims responded that he "did not swing on the officer," he was later tased on the ground after the physical interaction between Mims and the officers continued.

Following the incident, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin "urged everyone to not jump to conclusions" in a statement shared with WBRC.

“We are aware of the incident that occurred after the Minor and Jackson-Olin football game," Gonsoulin wrote. "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.”

PEOPLE has reached out to Gonsoulin for comment.

In a statement to CNN, Mims’ attorney, Juandalynn Givan, said that they plan to pursue legal action against the department and that “this incident is an alarming abuse of power and a clear violation of our client’s civil rights."

“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, a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, added.

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In a statement to PEOPLE, Givan called the use of a taser on Mims "both shocking and unacceptable."

"We trust that a thorough investigation will be conducted to shed light on the circumstance surrounding this incident," Givan's statement continued in part. "We call for transparency, accountability, and justice to prevail. No one should be subjected to unnecessary force, especially when they are engaged in their professional duties and are not posing a threat."

According to NPR, Mims has been a director with Manor High School since 2018. He is currently on administrative leave with pay while the incident is investigated, he told NPR.

"Nothing we were doing at the time was being a danger to the community, fans, or the school," he told NPR Monday. "Everyone was enjoying themselves. That's the part I'm having a hard time grappling with."

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