BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The Alabama Education Association (AEA) hosted a press conference Wednesday to discuss the tasing and arrest of Minor High School Band Director Johnny Mims, who spoke during the press conference.
“The things that happened in that game should’ve never happened,” Mims said. “I was not trying to be defiant to the police department, I was just trying to do my job.”
Mims, a member of the AEA, was tased by a Birmingham Police Department (BPD) officer after a football game on Thursday, September 14. When asked by officers to make the band stop playing, Mims instructed his band to keep performing.
A verbal and physical altercation ensued, during which Mims was tased by a BPD officer. At the press conference, Mims called the tasing “excessive.”
Mims was later arrested on warrants for disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest.
“I definitely don’t want us to lose sight of the students who were caught in the middle of this,” Mims said, referencing the students who witnessed the incident,
During the press conference, Mims said that it was agreed upon beforehand that the band would play three songs after the game as a part of a “fifth quarter.” Birmingham City Schools released a statement later in the day stating a fifth-quarter band performance is not a BCS practice.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Mims and his attorney Givan said that he and his band were approached and asked to play a musical selection for a 5th Quarter following the football game to which they agreed.
Additionally, when asked how his wife and children were handling the situation, Mims said, “It’s heartbreaking. It’s traumatizing. It’s difficult.”
Mims also said it was unfortunate that students had to witness the incident.
“I know my students very well,” Mims said. “I know the community that I have worked for. I can just feel the emotions [and] seeing the parents here supporting me, it’s very emotional.”
Mims is represented by Attorney Juandalynn Givan, who helped arrange Wednesday’s press conference alongside AEA’s Legal Department. Givan said that she is currently reviewing all bodycam footage and plans to release videos that have not yet been made public.
“It’s unacceptable for my client to be tased the way he was tased by the Birmingham Police Department. It was excessive,” Gavin said. “The situation at hand at which they have accused my client of striking, hitting or shoving a Birmingham police officer is just another attempt by law enforcement as they have done across this country to validate their bad acts.”
Mims’s legal team said they want all charges dropped and for him to return back to work at Minor High School. They’re also asking for the officers responsible to be held accountable.
“We respect them but on the same token their officers must operate in an efficient and safe manner,” said Theron Stokes, the Associate Executive Director with the Alabama Education Association.
CBS 42 reached out to BPD regarding the current employment status of the officers involved. We were directed to talk to the City of Birmingham’s Public Information Office. They responded with a statement saying they are not commenting on pending litigation.
The press conference was held at the Central Region AEA Office at 10:00 a.m. You can watch it in full through the top video player.