September 18, 2023

In Alabama, it is apparently a crime to continue playing music when police tell you to stop. Or, put another way, music is criminalized for no apparent damn reason.

Minor High School band director Johnny Mims was tased in front of his students after a football game on Friday night, knocked to the ground, and arrested for allegedly refusing to put his hands behind his back and pushing the police officer. Here's a video of it. I'm not seeing the push, but definitely see the taser at close range.

According to police, Mims was ordered to tell his band to stop playing* and ignored the order, so police proceeded to arrest him. He would not put his hands behind his back so the officer shot him with the taser at very close range, causing him to fall to the ground and be handcuffed and arrested, all in front of his students.

Mims has been placed on administrative leave, which is the usual procedure, according to school authorities.

Are teachers arrested routinely in front of their students at football games? Is music a crime now? And before everyone says he should have complied, do we actually know the circumstances under which he was ordered to clear the stadium? Were students fighting or was this just routine clearance? If routine, why not let the bands play?

I'm a band geek. I was a band mom for years and know how making music binds these kids together and keeps them out of trouble. To me, it's absolutely unconscionable to tase a man for letting his band play on.

* Police wanted to clear the stadium and wanted the bands to quit playing so people could leave, according to their statement.

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