On June 15, 2015, Breaion King, an African American elementary school teacher, was approached by Austin police officer Bryan Richter in a parking lot. The officer said she was driving 15 miles over the speed limit. As captured on two police videos—obtained by Austin American-Statesman and KVUE yesterday, more than a year after the incident—King was then body-slammed, thrown to the ground repeatedly and pulled violently by her arms, which were handcuffed and jerked in a 90-degree angle. Austin officials are investigating the case.
About an hour later, in the back of the cop car, King was lectured by a different transporting officer, Patrick Spradlin, on why white people are afraid of black people. Specifically, their “violent tendencies” and “their appearance and whatnot, some of them are very intimidating.”
It is unclear exactly what happened between King and Richter’s initial conversation off camera. There is shouting: A terrified King, an angry Richter. “Oh my god, why are you doing this!” “Stop resisting!” “I’m not!” “Get on the ground!” “I’m getting up!” Watching a 112-pound woman slammed into the ground, tripped, lifted into the air, and slammed into the ground again, for her crime of speeding sure looks like what they call “excessive force.” (King’s charge of resisting arrest has been dropped since the release of this video.)
“I’m not saying anything, I’m not saying it’s true, I’m not saying I agree with it or nothing,” Spradlin says. “But 99 percent of the time, when you hear about stuff like that, it is the black community that is being violent. That’s why a lot of white people are afraid. And I don’t blame them.”
When King asked him, “How do y’all know before you even hire a person that they are not a racist?” Spradlin had a theory:
“Oh, trust me. There is a four-hour psych exam that we’ve got to go through. Four hours of psychological testing we go through prior to being hired. So yeah, there’s a lot to it.”
“So do you think later on they build a certain type of image about certain people after working, and then become racist?” she asks.
“Oh yeah,” he answers. “I’m sure.”
In a press conference, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said: “My heart was sickened and saddened when I first learned of this incident... 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.”
The case is expected to go to a grand jury.