Video shows high school band director shocked with stun gun, arrested after refusing to stop music


In an image made from video released by the Birmingham Police Dept., a high school band director is seen before he being tasered and arrested after refusing to stop his band from playing after a football game, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Birmingham, Ala.

Birmingham Police Department, via AP

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Police body camera video shows an Alabama high school band director being shocked with a stun gun and arrested by officers in front of screaming students, in a chaotic scuffle that broke out after he refused to immediately stop the band as it played in the bleachers following a football game.

State Rep. Juandalynn Givan, who is representing band director Johnny Mims as his attorney, said Tuesday that the incident is an “alarming abuse of power” that instead “should have been should have been deescalated.”

The Birmingham Police Department said it remains under investigation but the band director resisted arrest and allegedly pushed an officer.

The altercation erupted after the game last Thursday between Minor and Jackson-Olin high schools.

In the body camera video released by police Monday night, officers are seen approaching Mims, the band director at Minor, as the band plays in the stands. They ask him several times to stop the band and clear the stadium. Mims continues to direct the band and replies to the officer, “Get out of my face.”

“We’re fixing to go,” he continues. “This is their last song.”

As the music continues, an officer tells Mims he will go to jail. and another says she will contact the school. Mims flashes two thumbs up and says, “That’s cool.”

“Put him in handcuffs,” an officer is later heard saying.

The video shows that the band played for about two minutes after officers approached Mims.

After the music stops, officers are seen on the video apparently trying to arrest him, in a scrum of bodies. One says Mims swung at an officer and must go to jail, and Mims denies doing so. An officer then shocks Mims with a stun gun.

In an image made from video released by the Birmingham Police Dept., a high school band director is being tasered and arrested after refusing to stop his band from playing after a football game, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Birmingham, Ala. (Birmingham Police Dept. via AP)

Students — more than 140 were present, according to Givan — are heard screaming in the night as the arrest plays out.

Police said Friday in a statement that Mims refused to put his hands behind his back and the arresting officer said he was pushed by the band director, which led to the use of the stun gun.

Givan said Tuesday that she is not going to debate “whether my client was right or my client was wrong” but said officers “should have never drawn their Taser.”

Givan, who is a graduate of Minor High School, said Birmingham has a high homicide rate “yet you’ve got law enforcement officers at a darn kids’ game that would attack my client excessively and abuse him in front of kids.”

Officer Truman Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the department, said Mims was charged with disorderly conduct, physical harassment and resisting arrest. The police chief has met with with the mayor and the superintendents of the two school systems, Fitzgerald said.

Also Tuesday, city Mayor Randall L. Woodfin announced the formation of a civilian-led Public Safety Advisory Committee, though his office said it had been in development for some time and was not related to the incident at the football game.


She owed $7K due to a water leak. Her utility saw the signs but didn’t tell her

Birmingham Water Works flagged Claire Ahalt’s account for unusually high water use, but she did not find out until asking a utility worker weeks later.

City OK’s $5 million to help keep Birmingham-Southern College open

BSC President Daniel Coleman said in a statement that next he’ll ask Jefferson County to meet the city’s commitment, focus on private donors and reengage with state leaders to work on getting more funding.

A year after the Moody landfill fire: “We need just as much help now”

Around Thanksgiving a year ago a landfill near Moody caught fire blanketing the surrounding area with smoke. The fire burned for months before the Environmental Protection Agency covered the landfill with dirt to extinguish the flames, but there have been flare ups since. To understand what things are like now, we heard from one nearby resident.

Why trees are an environmental and health Swiss army knife

Cool Green Trees plants trees in under-resourced communities in the Birmingham area to help mitigate climate change and advance environmental justice initiatives.

A pro jiu-jitsu league is bringing grapplers from across the globe to a small city in Alabama

For acclaimed grappler Brandon Mccaghren, Decatur, Alabama, was the perfect place to grow the Professional Grappling Federation from idea to reality.

The flu is soaring in the South and rising elsewhere

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted new flu data on Friday, showing very high activity last week in Louisiana, and high activity in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and South Carolina.

More Education Coverage