Officials are investigating an Austin police officer’s violent arrest of an African-American elementary school teacher who was twice thrown to the ground during a traffic stop and comments by a second officer who said police are sometimes wary of blacks because of their “violent tendencies,” reports the Austin American-Statesman. Video of the 2015 incident obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV shows the traffic stop escalating rapidly in seven seconds. Officer Bryan Richter, who is white, first commanded Breaion King, 26, to close her car door, then forcibly removed her from the driver’s seat, pulled her across a vacant parking space, and hurled her to the asphalt.
Richter wrote that he acted quickly because King demonstrated an “uncooperative attitude” and was “reaching for the front passenger side of the vehicle.” He said he didn’t know whether she had a weapon. He said King resisted by pulling away from him and wrapping her hands and arms around the steering wheel. Police charged King with resisting arrest, but prosecutors dismissed the case after reviewing the police dashcam video. The Austin Police Department issued the lowest level of discipline to Richter — counseling and additional training — after Richter’s supervisors looked into his use of force, but his conduct was never formally investigated. Police Chief Art Acevedo said the department has opened an administrative review into how Richter’s supervisors evaluated his actions, and a separate criminal investigation. Officials are also investigating Spradlin’s comments. Acevedo said he cannot take disciplinary action beyond a written reprimand against the officers because the incident more than six months ago.