Breaion King says she feared for her life after arrest

Breaion King in an interview with KXAN on July 22, 2016 (KXAN Photo)
Breaion King in an interview with KXAN on July 22, 2016 (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Breaoin King, the woman at the center of a video that shows an Austin police officer slamming her to the ground in a violent arrest, is speaking out for the first time.

King says she remembers the tense moments on June, 15 2015. She says she was confused when Officer Bryan Richter stopped her.

“He’s standing next to my door, I was in the vehicle, he asked me to get in the vehicle, but I guess my foot was out, and before I had a chance to comply, it escalated,” King remembers.

Soon after, the second grade teacher was taken to the ground.

“I was afraid for my life, that I have this man pulling me out of my car and I didn’t understand why, and it was pure fear, and I really wanted God to help me, I needed him to save me because I didn’t know what was going to happen,” King says.

Newly released video from the first police car she sat in shows her reaction moments after the arrest. She’s placed into a second police vehicle, at her request, and that’s when her conversation about race begins with the second officer, Patrick Spradlin.

“I wanted to understand the point of view the officer was coming from, well what is it, why is it, you know and how can we make a change,” King says. “That’s what I was trying to understand, what is it that I need to do? What do we need to do as a community to make sure we change these things in a positive way so it doesn’t continue to happen to people?”

Why did it take so long to come forward?

Many have asked why King took more than a year to come forward with her case. Her attorney says video was just now released to her, but that her client only hired her in May. King herself told us she was scared and ashamed.

“I asked God why, is there something that I’ve done? What is it — so part of me felt like is there something wrong with me, what’s wrong with me?” King said.

The Austin native says she turned to faith immediately following the arrest, trying to make sense of why the police officer had treated her so violently.

“Honestly, I didn’t know what it was going to do, but I feared for my life,” King says. “I was ashamed and I was hurt because I didn’t think it would be me.”

In the days following her arrest, not even family knew what had happened. King says she was determined to keep silent.

“I know a lot of people look up to me so it was embarrassing, you know, my students, I felt like I was letting them down, I felt like I was letting my family down, my organization down, and I felt like I let myself down,” King said.

Recent police encounters caught on video empowered King, she says after a year she wanted to talk, knowing she wasn’t alone in her situation.

“It’s given me the opportunity to be able to deal with it emotionally and mentally,” King says.

Now she hopes her story and video will speak for themselves and help change what she says is happening in our country.

“I have a desire for us to come together as a nation, we need to have open discussions on the way people genuinely feel. What’s going on, how is this hurting you, why is this hurting you and what can we do to take away the fear?” King said.

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