Violent arrest of teacher caught on video; officers face investigation

Austin police officers are facing an investigation after video emerged of the violent arrest of an African-American elementary school teacher.

The video shows Officer Bryan Richter, who is white, ordering Breaion King to close her car door. The traffic stop escalates in the seven seconds between then and when Richter forcibly removes her from the driver’s seat and throws her to the ground.

Richter wrote that he felt he had to act quickly because King showed an “uncooperative attitude” and was “reaching for the front passenger side of the vehicle.”

Although King was charged with resisting arrest, the Travis County attorney dismissed the charges after seeing the video.

A separate police video also recorded a conversation between Officer Patrick Spradlin and King as she was being driven to jail about the possibility of whites being more concerned in interactions with black people because of their “intimidating” appearance.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo has since said that the department has opened an administrative review into the decision to discipline Richter with counseling and training as well as a criminal investigation.

“After reviewing both videos, I and our leadership team were highly disturbed and disappointed in both the way Ms. King was approached and handled and in the mindset that we saw on display in those videos,” Acevedo said. “But there is another piece, which has caused concerns as to our review process and the systems we have in place.”

“We need to help our community overcome the fear or reluctance, which I understand, to file a complaint,” he said. “This is critical if we are to weed out bad officers and bad behavior.”