Body cam footage released after high school band director shocked with stun gun, arrested

The band director was booked on charges including disorderly conduct.

September 19, 2023, 2:55 PM

Police have released body camera footage involving the arrest of an Alabama high school band director who was shocked with a stun gun after officers say he refused to comply with orders to stop playing and resisted arrest.

The incident occurred Thursday at P.D. Jackson-Olin High School in Birmingham, following a game against Minor High School.

Officers were attempting to clear the stadium following the game when the altercation occurred with the Minor High School's band director, according to the Birmingham Police Department.

"Officers approached Minor High School's band director and then began asking him to get his band to stop performing," the department said in a statement. "Minor's band director did not comply with multiple officers' requests to stop his band from performing; he instructed his band to continue performing."

The Birmingham Police Department released body camera footage from the arrest of Minor High School band director Johnny Mims that occurred on Sept. 14, 2023 in Birmingham, Ala.
Birmingham Police Department

The nearly 8-minute video shows several officers approach the band director, Johnny Mims, as the band is performing. Mims repeatedly says, "Get out of my face," as officers tell him to tell the band to stop, the video shows.

"Cut it! We got to go," a sergeant says.

"I know. We're fixing to go. This is our last song," Mims says in response.

After an officer says something to the effect of Mims going to jail, Mims gives a thumbs up and says, "That's cool."

The Birmingham Police Department released body camera footage from the arrest of Minor High School band director Johnny Mims that occurred on Sept. 14, 2023 in Birmingham, Ala.
Birmingham Police Department

The band continues to play as officers order them to leave, and the sergeant yells to put Mims in handcuffs.

While attempting to handcuff the director after the band stopped performing, an officer can be heard saying, "I'm fixing to tase you."

Another officer says, "He hit the officer, he got to go to jail."

"I did not swing on the officer, man," Mims says in response.

While attempting to detain Mims, an officer deployed his stun gun on him three times, the video shows.

Birmingham Fire and Rescue personnel treated Mims at the scene before officers transported him to a local hospital, per police protocol.

The booking photo of Johnny Mims.
Birmingham County Jail

Upon being discharged, Mims was booked at the Birmingham City Jail on disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest charges early Friday. He was bonded out within hours, online jail records show. Police allege Mims refused to place his hands behind his back and pushed an officer during the altercation.

The incident remains under investigation by the Birmingham Police Department's Internal Affairs Division, a department spokesperson told ABC News on Tuesday.

The Birmingham police chief has met with the Birmingham mayor and superintendents from both school districts regarding the incident, a department spokesperson said upon releasing the footage.

Mims' attorney, Juandalynn Givan, has called for the officers involved to be placed on administrative leave "until further investigation," adding the incident "highlights the urgent need for police reform, training and the protection of every citizen's rights."

"This incident is an alarming abuse of power and a clear violation of our client's civil rights," Givan, who is also a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, said in a statement. "It is unacceptable for law enforcement to engage in home rule in the field of play or with regard to band activities unless there is a significant threat to the safety of the general public. These matters should be addressed by school district administrators or other leaders with expertise to de-escalate situations like this."

Givan's office said they plan to pursue legal action and "seek damages for the pain and suffering endured by the band director."

Minor High School is in the Jefferson County school district. District leadership is currently reviewing the video, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said.

"My initial reaction is sadness," Gonsoulin said in a statement. "It’s extremely upsetting to me that our students, our children, had to witness that scene. Nothing is more important than their well-being."

Counselors have been made available to students, he said.

Gonsoulin added he is not commenting further pending the review of the incident.