Breaion King says her view of the police have changed, and Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo can understand why after seeing recently released video of two of his own officers treating Ms. King in a cruel manner.
Video of what should have been a routine traffic stop involving King has been released and shows a white officer violently throwing Ms. King to the ground during the stop, and then another white officer telling her that white people are “justifiably afraid” of blacks because they have “violent tendencies.”
CBS News reported that Police Chief Acevedo strongly condemns the actions of the two officers, stating that the actions and comments captured on the officer’s own dash-cam were “disturbing,” and that a criminal investigation has been opened against the officer who arrested Breaion King.
The video of Ms. King, a second grade teacher, being arrested is shown below.
The traffic stop happened in June 2015, but wasn’t made public until the Austin American-Statesman published the video Thursday. Acevedo quickly removed both officers from street patrol, and both are now facing new internal investigations, which he said will include both officers’ conduct in the year since the incident.
Police Chief Acevedo has made it clear that he has no patience for his officers treating citizens in such a manner — and that he believes it is an issue of race in the country.
“For those that think life is perfect for people of color, I want you to listen to that conversation and tell me we don’t have social issues in this nation. Issues of bias. Issues of racism. Issues of people being looked at different because of their color.”
It was Officer Patrick Spradlin who is heard talking to Ms. King about race while driving her to jail.
“Why are so many people afraid of black people?” Spradlin asks his prisoner.
King replies that she has also been trying to figure that out, but Spradlin had his own theories.
“I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way. Violent tendencies.”
The officer expounded further, stating that he doesn’t “blame white people” for their fear, because he seems to think it’s justified because of “violence,” as well as the appearance, of black people.
“Some of them, because of their appearance and whatnot, some of them are very intimidating,” he says.
Chief Acevedo stated that King didn’t file any complaint with the police department after the arrest, and he hadn’t been made aware of the traffic stop until this week, stating that he should have been alerted to the video.
Acevedo said Ms. King was pulled over for driving 15 mph over the speed limit. She was then ordered out of her vehicle by Officer Bryan Richter. The video shows him nearly throwing her into a nearby truck while arresting her. Richter can be heard ordering King to “stop resisting” as he orders her out of the car, but the angle of the video doesn’t fully show what King was doing that qualifies as “resisting.” The two struggle on the ground, while Richter tells her to put her hands behind her back.
King says that the arresting officer did not give her an opportunity to respond to his initial commands.
“It happened really fast,” said King. “I wasn’t given enough time.”
A resisting arrest charge against King was later dropped, KEYE-TV reports.
King is now frightened of the police.
“I’ve become fearful to live my life. I would rather stay home. I’ve become afraid of the people who are supposed to protect me and take care of me.”
The video is surfacing amid heightened nationwide tension over police treatment of black people, including the recent incident of a black therapist being shot by a police officer while trying to help a patient with autism. For more information on that incident, click here.
[Photo by Austin Police Department/AP Images]