Officials are investigating two police officers after the violent arrest of an African-American elementary school teacher in June 2015.
Video obtained exclusively by the KVUE Defenders and Austin American-Statesman (available at the bottom of this story) shows the June 15, 2015 traffic stop of Breaion King, 26, rapidly escalating. Officer Bryan Richter gives King a command to close her car door, and seven seconds later is shown on dash camera video forcibly removing her from the driver’s seat, pulling her across a vacant parking spot and throwing her to the ground. Richter stated in his report that he initially stopped her after clocking her going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone along East Riverside Drive. Dash camera video shows the stop happened around 12:30 p.m.
Richter’s arrest report states he acted quickly because he “was increasingly concerned with her uncooperative attitude” and “began reaching for the front passenger side of the vehicle.” Richter noted he did not know if there was a weapon in the vehicle, and that King resisted by pulling her arms away from him and wrapping “her hands and arms around the steering wheel.”
“I was trying to figure out why is this happening to me. Oh my god. I was genuinely like fearful for my life. I didn't know what was going to happen. I literally didn't understand what was happening,” King told KVUE.
The investigation does not end there. While King was being transported to jail on a charge of resisting arrest, she spoke with Officer Patrick Spradlin about relations between officers and the black community. Police video caught some of Spradlin’s explanations about why some people fear African-Americans.
“I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way. Violent tendencies. And I want you to think about that,” Spradlin said on video.
Charges against King were dropped after prosecutors saw the video of her being slammed to the ground. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said her office viewed the dash camera video two weeks ago and has asked APD’s Special Investigations Unit to assist them. Lehmberg said the case will likely go before a grand jury.
At the time, Richter received the lowest level of discipline: counseling and training. Police Chief Art Acevedo tells KVUE the department is conducting a full review on Richter’s use of force and Spradlin’s comments, which Acevedo said he found offensive.
“I can tell you, that those comments are not consistent with the expectations, the mindset the mindset we want of our folks or anyone in law enforcement,” Acevedo said.
King said she wants something done.
“If you’ve wronged someone, and you haven’t been reprimanded, then how do you know that you’re wrong?” she said.
King added the clash between her and Richter has forever tarnished how she views the police.
“I’ve become afraid of the people who are supposed to protect me and take care of me,” King said.
APD Chief Art Acevedo is set to address this incident Thursday evening. It will be carried online and his remarks will be uploaded in full following its conclusion.
RAW VIDEO: Arrest of Breaion King: (First throw happens around one minute into video)
RAW VIDEO: Breaion King with Officer Patrick Spradlin:
RAW VIDEO: Officer Bryan Richter's version of events:
RAW VIDEO: Breaion King's version of events: