Caught on camera: jogger arrested for jaywalking

AUSTIN (KENS/WUSA9) -- Austin police chief Art Acevedo issued an apology Saturday for comments made about a jogger arrested near the University of Texas campus.

The video, posted Thursday, shows 24-year-old Amanda Jo Stephen in handcuffs, sitting on the sidewalk at 24th and San Antonio streets near the University of Texas campus. Moments later, she's captured yelling and cursing at Austin police officers as they load her into a police car.

On Friday, Chief Acevedo called the national attention surrounding the viral video petty. He said, "Cops are actually committing sexual assaults on duty so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas. And I stand here proud as a police chief, saying that I'm proud that this is the controversy that I'm dealing with today, on the day that we're actually convicting somebody of capital murder. And I'm glad that I'm here having to address mediocrity."

Friday was the same day Brandon Daniel was convicted of killing Austin officer Jaime Padron in 2012.

Acevedo's apology reads in full:

"Yesterday's press conference related to the arrest of a jogger by members of the Austin Police Department (APD) was the culmination of an emotional week for the APD, our extended APD family and me personally.

During the press conference I attempted to place the arrest into context by bringing attention to the fact that law enforcement deals with many acts of serious misconduct. This includes recent instances in the news of sexual assault by police officers in other cities.

In hindsight I believe the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize. I stand committed to transparent leadership and will continue to engage the community we serve in an open, honest, and timely manner.

Chief Art Acevedo"

University of Texas student Christopher Quintero shot the video.

"She was running away, past the cops. [She was] not running from them, but jogging, and they grabbed her arm from behind, and I think it's perfectly understandable that she was kind of startled and jerked her arm away and was like, 'Who's grabbing me?'" said Quintero.

Police Chief Art Acevedo says there is a lot more to the story. The officers were working on an initiative to cut down on pedestrian and bicycle violations. This week, they are focusing on jaywalkers.

On Thursday, officers stopped 28 people and cited seven. On Friday, KVUE cameras caught numerous people ignoring the stop signal and unlawfully crossing the street.

"We do it all the time here," said UT student Patrice Hailey. "The traffic here is so bad, I mean, we just have to walk when we can."

Acevedo says Stephen did the same thing while officers had another person stopped for jaywalking.

"He can see her face, and she can see his face, yells, 'Austin Police, I need you to stop.' She still doesn't stop, so he grabs her arm and says, 'I need you to stop.' She then at some point takes off her ear buds and he says, 'Austin Police, I need you to stop,' and she says to the effect, 'I don't give an "f" who you are. Get your "f'ing" hands off of me," Acevedo said.

According to police, Stephen was arrested for failure to obey a pedestrian control device and failure to identify. Failure to identify is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas.


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