A white Austin police officer told a 26-year-old black woman that African Americans have "violent tendencies" and look "intimidating" while he drove her to jail on a charge of resisting arrest.
The troubling conversation from June 2015 was revealed after the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE obtained dash cam video this week showing Officer Bryan Richter body slamming Breaion King, a teacher, in a parking lot after a routine traffic stop quickly escalated.
The ten-minute video shows King leaving her vehicle when Richter approaches her and tells her to get back in the car. King questions his authority to pull her over, claiming she was going into a store. Richter doesn't believe the woman, saying she didn't have her wallet so he didn't buy the story. Once King begins to get back in her car, the traffic stop quickly escalates with Richter body slamming her several times before placing her in the back of his patrol car.
While another officer, identified by the American-Statesman as Patrick Spradlin, was taking King to jail, she asked him whether he believed in racism and that's where... well, things got pretty racist. During the trip to jail, King asks Spradlin whether he believes in racism and white supremacy. Spradlin responds by asking whether King knows why white people are afraid of black people.
Answering his own question, Spradlin drops this bomb:
"Violent tendencies. I want you to think about that. I’m not saying anything. I’m not saying it’s true. I’m not saying I can prove it or nothing. 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."
Even after that, Spradlin wasn't finished. "There are some guys I look at," he says. "I know it's my job to deal with them and I know it's probably going to get ugly and that's the way it goes, but some of them, because of their appearance and whatnot, some of them are very intimidating."
The officer admits he believes that racism exists before diminishing its existence to a "card." "I can throw that card just as easily as anyone else can," Spradlin tells King. "Doesn’t do me any good. I’m not going to gain anything."
The American-Statesman reports that the Travis County District Attorney's Office dropped the resisting arrest charge against King, that Richter received low-level discipline, some training and counseling, and that the Austin PD's internal investigations unit is looking into Spradlin's comments. Still, the most punishment he's likely to face is a written reprimand.
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