Breaion King, an Austin, Texas elementary school teacher, was thrown to the ground by a police officer, an incident captured in dashcam videos that have been watched several hundred thousand times on YouTube and provoked outrage, said ABC News. Another officer can later be heard on video telling King that police are afraid of blacks because of their “violent tendencies.”
The videos, which were released on July 21, are the latest involving police to cause outcry; the shooting deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, captured in part on video, sparked widespread protests. Those deaths also may have partly motivated shooting deaths of police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas.
The Washington Post has posted a full transcript of the videotaped exchange between Breaion King and Austin, Texas police officers.
The violent nature of King’s arrest has led the Austin police chief to condemn the restraint used. The mayor has called the video deeply troubling, and it’s under investigation.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. King Was Stopped Because She Was Speeding During Her Lunch Hour & She Is an Elementary School Teacher
The entire incident started because officers stopped King for going 15 miles per hour over during her lunch hour. KTLA says King was ticketed for going 50 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone and was stopped in a Wendy’s parking lot.
Watch the video here:
The video was released July 21 by an Austin, Texas newspaper and televion station. Wyoming Daily News says that King is 26-years-old and teaches in an elementary school.
2. King Was Initially Charged With Resisting Arrest But The Charges Were Dropped
King said that she didn’t initially file a complaint because she didn’t know she had the option and was too embarrassed, Denver Channel 7 said, quoting The Associated Press. Wyoming Daily News quotes King as explaining, “I was embarrassed and I was ashamed and I did not know what I needed to do.”
KVUE says the officer wrote in a report that he had acted quickly because he wasn’t sure whether King had a weapon, because he “was increasingly concerned with her uncooperative attitude” and because she“began reaching for the front passenger side of the vehicle.” The officer, Bryan Richter, said “King resisted by pulling her arms away from him and wrapping ‘her hands and arms around the steering wheel,'” said KVUE.
The Washington Post says prosecutors may take a case against the officer to the grand jury and that the charge against King was dismissed.
3. King Has Called For More Cultural Training For Police Officers & Says She Is Still Afraid Because of The Arrest
King told Austin television that she was “genuinely fearful” for her life during the incident and that she “literally didn’t understand what was happening,” said ABC News. She’s now “afraid of the people who are supposed to protect me and take care of me,” the network said.
KTLA said that King teaches second grade. She told Austin media that she hopes the incident can spark change. She told the Austin American-Statesman that the incident “is an opportunity to make things better and to change things for the better,” said The Guardian.
4. One Officer Can Be Heard On the Video Saying Blacks Have ‘Violent Tendencies’
Denver 7 quoted the exchange this way: Officer Patrick Spradlin asks King, “Why are so many people afraid of black people?” King says “she is also trying to figure that out.”
“I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way,” Spradlin said on the video, according to Denver 7. “Violent tendencies….Some of them, because of their appearance and whatnot, some of them are very intimidating.” Spradlin has been on the force since 2001, and Richter since 2010, said The Guardian.
5. The Police Chief Has Apologized to King & The Incident Remains Under Investigation
According to KTLA, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo publicly said “he was sorry for what happened to King.” KTLA quoted Acevedo as saying of King: “You were approached in a manner and treated in a manner that is not consistent with the expectations of this police chief, of most of the officers of this police department, and most importantly, I think, of all of us as human beings.” You can watch the chief’s news conference above.
The arrest occurred in 2015 but the dashcam video was publicized by the news media in Austin for the first time on July 21, 2016. Acevedo told Austin TV he was angry, “sickened” and “saddened” by the incident, said The Guardian.