A Montgomery attorney said he intends to ask the Alabama Bureau of Investigation to look into a Phenix City police officer's conduct after a Prattville High School student claimed he was maced during Friday’s playoff game between Prattville and Central High School.
Attorney Michael Kidd said his client, 17-year-old Cameron Rader, was wrongfully detained and sprayed with mace during the final minutes of the game. Kidd is representing Rader along with his law partner Clay Teague.
Kidd said the confrontation began when Phenix City officers asked several Prattville students to step away from the railing in the stands. Rader, who told attorneys he was not standing near the railing, said he started laughing at one of the officers after the officer said he “wasn’t a cop (he) could mess with.”
“He thought the guy was playing with him, and then realized the guy was serious,” Kidd said. “The officer told Cameron, ‘You think this is funny? Do you see me laughing?’ Cameron said, ‘Sir, we don’t think anything’s funny. We’re just trying to have a good time.’”
When Rader turned away from the officer to talk to a girl behind him, the officer accused Rader of pushing him, Kidd said. Kidd said Rader never touched the officer. Shortly afterward, Kidd said the officer maced Rader.
Kidd said the Phenix City officer led Rader out of the arena and into a parking lot full of several other patrol cars. After detaining Rader for 45 minutes, Kidd said the officer released Rader to Prattville High authorities.
“If you’re an officer, you can’t just detain someone. You certainly can’t just mace someone for no reason,” Kidd said. “Cameron has asthma, and he kept telling the officers he couldn’t breathe. They never decontaminated him. They never offered to decontaminate him.”
In a video provided to the Ledger-Enquirer by Kidd, the officer can be seen standing near the railing to the right of the screen wearing a cap similar to a ski mask. At the 37-second mark, the officer can be seen shoving Radar through the crowd and against the railing. He then sprays a substance in the student’s eyes before leading him out of the stands.
The head covering worn by the officer covers everything but the officer’s eyes.
The law enforcement official appears to be shouting in the video. Several students can be heard screaming after the officer sprays the substance.
The Phenix City Police Department in a news release confirmed an incident occurred between a 17-year-old Prattville student and an officer.
“Phenix City officers were attempting to move a large number of persons (mainly teenagers/young adults) back from a railing separating the football field from the stands near the conclusion of the football game,” according to the release. “A confrontation occurred between the officer and the juvenile resulting in the officer using department issued pepper spray to assist in the removal of the juvenile from the football stadium.”
Phenix City Patrol Captain Jim Hart said the student was escorted from the stadium after failing to comply with police orders. He said the student later was released to Prattville High authorities, who told police “they would take care of it.”
Police would not release the identity of the officer accused in the case, whether any disciplinary action has been taken or whether the officer is still on active duty.
Kidd said he learned about the event after his brother-in-law, who serves as an Autauga County commissioner, went to the game and witnessed the alleged assault. He approached Radar’s family Tuesday after Radar asked him to assist in the case.
Several witnesses at the event told Kidd and Teague that Rader did nothing to threaten the officer or provoke unnecessary force, Kidd said. If the ABI chooses to investigate the case, Kidd said he believes the officer could receive a felony charge for unnecessary use of a weapon and unlawful arrest.
“I’m just concerned about the officer’s behavior,” Kidd said. “If he’s willing to do that in a crowd of hundreds of people, what’s he going to do in a dark alley?”