Film about her Austin arrest takes Breaion King to Oscars


30-minute documentary “Traffic Stop” is nominated for an Oscar in the Documentary, Short Subject category.

HBO crew followed King for several days, filming her at home and at Central Texas school where she teaches.

When she first went public nearly two years ago about her violent arrest by an Austin police officer, Breaion King said she wanted to help continue the conversation about relations between police and minorities.

On Sunday, she’ll take another step in keeping the topic on the national forefront: King will be in the audience at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles to learn whether “Traffic Stop,” a documentary about her experience, will win an Oscar.

“I still don’t believe it,” she said before leaving for California. “So I’m kind of like, meh, I’m going to the Oscars. But I definitely feel like I accomplished my goal.”

King was stopped by officer Bryan Richter in 2015 for speeding along Riverside Drive. What happened next was captured on video: The traffic stop escalating rapidly in the seven seconds from when Richter first gives a command to King to close her car door to when he forcibly removes her from the driver’s seat, pulls her across a vacant parking space and hurls her to the asphalt.

VIDEO: Teacher’s violent arrest caught on tape; officers face investigation

On the way to jail, another officer told King that police are sometimes wary of blacks because of their “violent tendencies.”

The American-Statesman and KVUE-TV first reported on the incident a year later, and it received national attention at the time.

Within weeks, an HBO crew contacted King about doing a documentary about her experience.

The crew followed her for several days, gathering footage of her at home and at the elementary school where she teaches for the 30-minute film.

King said she has viewed the film only once.

“It was surreal,” she said. “I know that it is going to spark a change far greater than what I thought. My biggest thing was to help my babies. But now, I am helping my babies on a greater scale. Those not just in Texas, those not just in my classroom, but those around the nation.”

Richter was not disciplined in the case because the deadline to impose punishment had passed before police leaders learned about the stop. In January, Richter was fired for using excessive force in an unrelated case.

READ: Austin officials fumbled four chances to address Breaion King case

King has a pending lawsuit against the city stemming from the incident.

King said more than two years later, she has only one regret: She wishes she had not been speeding.

This weekend, King was traveling to the Oscars ceremony with her attorney, Erica Grigg, to participate in numerous Oscar-related events, including interviews with the media about the film.

King said she hopes the film receives one of the industry’s highest honors, but no matter what, she feels honored by the response her story has received.

“If it does not win, it is OK because I got a chance to share my story, and I got a chance to help people through this process, and that’s all I ever wanted to do,” she said. “I always wanted to help people.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Autonomous cars will be built, but will people get onboard with idea?
Autonomous cars will be built, but will people get onboard with idea?

I tumbled out of bed early one day this week and made it to one of those issues-and-eggs type of breakfasts, this piece of policy jawboning offered by the Urban Land Institute on the topic of autonomous vehicles. Three experts and a moderator worked through the implications and prospects for that particular transportation innovation, and they had some...
TEXAS DIGEST: Heart transplant hospital could lose Medicaid funds

HOUSTON Heart transplant hospital could lose Medicaid A Houston hospital that suspended its heart transplant program for two weeks amid scrutiny following the deaths of two patients could lose federal Medicaid funding. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center on Friday was notified that Medicare plans to halt funding to its heart transplant program in...
Tracking the legal challenge to Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance
Tracking the legal challenge to Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance

City of Austin attorneys will be in court Monday to defend the paid sick leave ordinance passed in February that mandates employers provide paid sick days. Here are five things to know about the lawsuit: 1. What is the paid sick leave ordinance? Set to take effect Oct. 1, the ordinance made Austin the first city in Texas to regulate sick leave. Many...
Community news: Feedback sought on city’s clothing recycling service

TRAVIS COUNTY SOUTH AUSTIN Input sought on clothing recycling The city of Austin Resource Recovery is seeking feedback regarding the clothing recycling service operated by Simple Recycling from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Austin Public Library Pleasant Hill Branch, 211 E. William Cannon Drive. Austin Resource Recovery is seeking feedback from customers...
Traffic report for week of June 25, 2018

Interstate 35 (Travis County): The right lane on the southbound access road will be closed as needed between Delmar and Blackson avenues from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. The left lane on the southbound access road will be closed between Stassney Lane and the William Cannon Drive exit from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights, and the William...
More Stories