Alabama Band Director Trying to Regain ‘Regular Use’ of Arm After Being Shocked with Taser By Cops, Denies Claim He Pushed Officer: ‘An Absolute Lie’

A Birmingham-area high-school band director said the police went too far when they shocked him with a Taser and arrested him after he refused to comply with their orders to stop his band’s performance at the end of a football game.

The Birmingham Police Department released body-camera footage of the incident on Tuesday, Sept. 19, showing officers subduing Minor High School band director Johnny Sims.

After a football game between Minor High School and home team P.D. Jackson-Olin High School ended last week, police at the scene asked the band directors from both schools to end their performances so they could shut down stadium operations.

Johnny Mims, a Birmingham-area high school band director, said police went too far when they arrested and shocked him in front his students during his band’s performance after a football game. (Photos: YouTube/Birmingham Police Department and WVTM 13 News)

The home team’s band followed the directive, but Mims continued to allow his band to play.

About 20 minutes after the game ended, they personally approached Mims to make the request again. Mims is heard saying on the video, “Get out of my face,” but also tells the officers that the song the band is playing will be the last before they pack up.

Moments later, the stadium lights are shut off, the band stops playing, and students begin screaming. It’s too dark to see, but an altercation begins between Mims and a few officers as the officers attempt to handcuff Mims. Bodycam footage shows Mims saying, “Get off of me” to the officers restraining him. One officer yells that Mims hit another officer, which Mims denied. Then, another officer tases Mims.


Mims was arrested, taken to a nearby hospital, and then booked into jail on disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest charges.

During a news conference, Mims stated that the incident should have never escalated, especially in front of his students. He explained that the police interrupted a classic “fifth quarter” situation when marching bands, usually from predominantly Black high schools and colleges, continue to play music after games end in a battle-style performance.

“The things that happened in that game should have never happened. The students should have never seen me tased. I was not trying to be defiant to the police department. Again, I was just trying to do my job, which was previously established before the end of the game. This was something that was customary to bands,” Mims said. “I definitely don’t want us to lose sight of the students who were caught in the middle of this.”

Mims’ attorney, Juandalynn Givan, doesn’t believe confrontation would have happened if the schools were predominantly white.

“This wouldn’t have happened in a majority white school in the state of Alabama,” Givan said. “But you would dare tase a Black man in a Black school in the city of Birmingham, which is a majority Black city — it’s OK?”

Mims and Givan also discussed the aftermath of the incident during an appearance on CNN.

“Regardless of how this may have started, there’s nothing that happened that would have warranted my client being tased multiple times, even while on the ground like some total criminal, at that point in front of 145 students,” Givan told CNN. “Those kids were traumatized.”

The school superintendent echoed similar sentiments as Mims’ attorney.

“It’s extremely upsetting to me that our students, our children, had to witness that scene,” Jefferson County Schools superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said in a statement. “Nothing is more important than their well-being.”

Birmingham Police released a statement about the confrontation, which said that the arresting officer alleged that “the band director pushed him during the arrest.”

Givan called that claim “an absolute lie.”

“My client, not at one time, attempted to assault, in any fashion, the Birmingham Police Department,” Givan said. “That an educator would be tased in front of students by law enforcement is unacceptable. It is excessive.”

Mims told CNN that he’s working to regain use of his left arm after being tased.

“I have a great doctor that I’ve been working with to try to help me get regular use of my arm because I was tased in the shoulder as well as the lower torso area,” Mims said. “I use my shoulders for, of course, most of the things that I do.”

Mims remains on administrative leave at this time while the school district reviews and investigates the situation.

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