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Police officers face an investigation after videos showed a violent arrest and comments afterward by one officer saying blacks have “violent tendencies.” A dashcam video published Thursday showed Officer Bryan Richter slamming Breaion King to the ground twice during the June 2015 speeding stop. Separate footage that also surfaced Thursday revealed the conversation about race between King and another white officer, Patrick Spradlin. “Why are so many people afraid of black people?” Spradlin asked King. “That’s what I want to figure out because I’m not a bad black person,” she replied.
“I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way: violent tendencies,” Spradlin said. Prosecutors cleared King, a 26-year-old elementary teacher, of a resisting arrest charge after viewing the video of the June 15, 2015 arrest. The 112-pound woman told the local newspaper she has hired lawyers as she considers a suit against the department. “I’ve become fearful to live my life,” King said. “I would rather stay home. I’ve become afraid of the people who are supposed to protect me and take care of me.”
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo announced at a press conference Thursday that he has removed both Richter and Spradlin from the streets as the department conducts an internal review. The probe will include both a criminal investigation and an administrative review into how Richter’s supervisors arrived at the decision to give him the lowest level of discipline: counseling and training, he noted. The chief said he didn’t know of Spradlin’s comments, which he called racist, until local media began inquiring about it.
“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 told the Statesman. “But there is another piece, which has caused concerns as to our review process and the systems we have in place.”
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