Two years after violent arrest, Breaion King 'more at peace' upon learning of officer’s firing


7:30 p.m. update:  Breaion King, the Austin school teacher whose violent arrest in 2015 sparked national attention, said Tuesday that she felt “a sense of peace” upon learning the Austin police officer she encountered two and a half years ago is no longer on the force.

“I became OK with living again,” King said in an interview with KVUE-TV and the Austin American-Statesman. “I know that I am OK now. Knowing that he is no longer out there…I feel more at peace.”

Her comments came a day after Officer Bryan Richter was fired from the Austin Police Department for using excessive force on a suspect he was arresting in the parking lot of Barton Creek Square Mall on July. The man was being arrested on narcotics-related charges and for an outstanding felony assault warrant, documents show.

King's comments also followed an announcement that an HBO documentary about her case, “Traffic Stop,” was nominated for an Academy Award.

“I’m honored that people listened to my story, heard my story, and that they were able to see me and understand where I was coming from,” she said. “It has sparked justice in America. For us to be able to fully express ourselves and find justice. That gives me a sense of peace.”

Richter stopped King for speeding along Riverside Drive in a June 2015 incident that his patrol car's dashboard camera captured on video. The stop quickly escalated, and Richter is seen pulling King out of her car and hurling her across an empty parking spot.

Richter was issued a written reprimand at the time, but the case did not receive scrutiny from the department brass until a year later. By then, a deadline to issue additional discipline had passed.

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley fired Richter and Det. Steve McCurley on Monday, saying that they both used excessive force on the suspect during the July arrest.

A disciplinary memo said Richter put his foot on the man’s head in violation of department policy. The memo also said that he violated policies requiring officers to be honest.

Earlier: Included in this year’s Academy Award nominations, which were announced Tuesday morning, is an HBO documentary on the controversial arrest of Austin elementary teacher Breaion King. 

OSCAR NOMS: ‘The Shape of Water,’ ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Three Billboards,’ lead nominees

The documentary “Traffic Stop” is nominated in the documentary (short subject) category. According to HBO’s website, the documentary tells the story of the Austin teacher “who is stopped for a routine traffic violation that escalates into a dramatic arrest.”

The American-Statesman broke the exclusive news of King’s 2015 arrest in July 2016 after obtaining video showing the traffic stop “escalating rapidly in the seven seconds from when officer Bryan Richter, who is white, first gives a command to 26-year-old Breaion 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.”

Officer Richter was fired Monday after new excessive force allegations were reported against him. 

READ: Officer in Breaion King case fired amid new force complaint

“Traffic Stop,” which has a runtime of 31 minutes, will be available to watch on HBO Go and HBO Now starting March 12, according to HBO’s website.


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