Documentary on Breaion King arrest gets Academy Award nomination

Dash camera footage of Breaion King's arrest in June 2015. The officer here is grabbing King out of her car. (Austin Police Department)
Dash camera footage of Breaion King's arrest in June 2015. The officer here is grabbing King out of her car. (Austin Police Department)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The day after it was announced that an Austin police officer — seen on dash cam video slamming an Austin teacher to the ground during a traffic stop in 2015 — was fired for lying about a separate incident, a documentary on the arrest has been nominated for an Academy Award.

The film, covering the arrest of Breaion King, is competing against four others in the Documentary (Short Subject) category. “Traffic Stop” is directed by Kate Davis and produced by David Heilbroner and will be available on HBO on demand, as well as streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now, on March 13.

“I’m a first generation college student, I’m the first to graduate with my master’s and I’m going to get my doctorate,” King says in the trailer for the documentary, interspersed with video of King’s life after her arrest and dash cam video of the incident.

The June 2015 arrest received nationwide attention and brought an intense focus on policing in Austin. A racially charged conversation between King and another officer driving her to be booked following the arrest resulted in then-Chief of Police Art Acevedo saying he was “sickened” and “saddened” by the event.

“Why do you think so many people are afraid of black people?” Officer Patrick Spradlin asked King. He answered his own question by saying it’s because of “violent tendencies.”

The officer seen slamming King to the ground on dash cam video, Bryan Richter, was officially fired on Jan. 19 for lying to his superiors about using force on a man during a July 2017 arrest — also caught on video.

In 2016, KXAN uncovered more video of Richter — who has charged more people with resisting arrest than any other APD officer in the past decade — using force against people he arrested, records show. In each of those cases, his superiors determined he did not use excessive force.

To watch the trailer for the film, visit Oscar.go.com.

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