Last week, students and spectators at a college football game in Alabama were stunned and confused after police officers arrested and detained a band director who told his students to continue playing their instruments.
Birmingham police officers attempted to clear the Jackson-Olin High School football stadium on Thursday after 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 were instructed to stop playing both bands so that individuals would not linger at the facilities. According to him, the Jackson-Olin band ceased performing, but Johnny Mims, the band director at Minor, refused to silence his students.”During the officers’ interaction with Minor’s band director, the decision was made to place him in custody,” the Birmingham Police Department said in a statement. “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 reported that the band director refused to place his hands behind his back and then pushed the officer who placed his hands on him, prompting a second officer to use a stun gun on the band director.FOX6 reports that a witness to the arrest stated that the stadium’s lights were turned off as officers approached Mims. Additionally, she stated that the officers sprayed mace but not directly at the students.
Fitzgerald stated that paramedics treated the band director at the scene and transported him to a hospital for further evaluation.
After posting bail, he was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, and resisting arrest before being released.
The arrest sparked controversy on social media, with some commenting that it was excessively harsh.
Superintendent of Jefferson County Schools Walter Gonsoulin declined to comment on the incident, telling The Associated Press that he will reserve judgment until all the facts are known.
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