Body cam shows high school band director’s arrest after football game

Johnny Mims did not comply with officials after multiple requests to finish the performance, police said.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 6:06 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC/Gray News) - The Birmingham Police Department released body camera footage on their social media leading up to the arrest of a high school band director.

He was arrested for multiple charges following the Jackson-Olin - Minor high school football game Thursday night, police said.

Police said officers at the game were in the process of clearing out the stadium when they noticed the bands from both schools were still playing. Officers spoke with the band directors from the schools to end the performance so students and fans at the game could begin to leave the stadium.

GRAPHIC WARNING: Video included in this story includes content some may find disturbing.

The altercation with the band director was caught on body cam.

The officers were able to get the Jackson-Olin band to finish their performance. However, officers said Minor High School band director Johnny Mims did not comply with officials. After multiple requests to finish the performance, he directed his band to continue playing, police said.

During the interaction, officers decided to place Mims in custody for disorderly conduct. An altercation ensued between Mims, officers and Birmingham City Schools System personnel.

Police said Mims refused to put his hands behind his back, and the arresting officer had to subdue him with a Taser. The arresting officer is alleging that Mims pushed him during the arrest.

Birmingham Fire Rescue Service treated Mims at the stadium and then took him to UAB Hospital. Police officials said this is standard protocol for this type of incident.

After being discharged from the hospital, Mims was taken to the Birmingham City Jail where he was booked and bonded out. Officers have presented the case to City of Birmingham Magistrate’s Office and have obtained arrest warrants for disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest.

Dr. Walter Gonsoulin, the Jefferson County Schools Superintendent said in a statement, “We are aware of the incident that occurred after the Minor and Jackson-Olin football game. 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.”

A WBRC photojournalist was at that game until the end of the second quarter shooting highlights for WBRC Sideline. He says he noticed the two bands going back and forth, playing music loudly during game play.

One witness described the incident in a message to WBRC. She says the lights were turned off at the stadium around the time officers made their way to Mims. She says officers sprayed mace, but not directly at any children.

Givan and Associates, the attorneys representing Mims, said that the band director was “subjected to excessive force and wrongful arrest. ... Without any justifiable cause, a Birmingham Police Officer approached the band director, escalating the situation to an unimaginable extent. The officer deployed a taser against the band director, causing physical harm and inflicting emotional distress all while in front of his students.”

Attorney Juandalynn Givan called the incident “an alarming abuse of power and a clear violation of our client’s civil rights” and called for the officers to be placed on administrative leave.

Mims has been put on paid administrative leave, the school district said. This is a standard protocol in these type of situations so the district can continue gathering facts.

The Birmingham Police Department says this incident is still under investigation by the Internal Affairs Division.