Austin Police Chief Rejects Criticism in Jogger Arrest
Jaywalker got off easy given her reaction, says chief
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2014 9:00 AM CST
Updated Feb 22, 2014 9:30 AM CST
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(Newser) – It's not every week that an arrest of a jaywalking jogger makes headlines, but throw in a viral video, an outraged arrestee, and a defiant police chief in Austin, and there you have it. The arrest took place Thursday, when 24-year-old jogger Amanda Jo Stephen got taken into custody after crossing an intersection at a red light, reports the Daily Texan. A University of Texas student filmed the arrest from across the street, and the posted video quickly went viral, reports KVUE-TV. You can hear Stephen screaming that she did nothing wrong as officers load her into the police car. She is charged with “failure to identify” and “failure to obey a pedestrian control device."

The student who shot the video says the woman was jogging by "when 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?'" The common sentiment is that police over-reacted, but chief Art Acevedo isn't having it. He says the arrest came in the midst of a crackdown for pedestrian safety, and Stephen was one of 28 pedestrians stopped. He says she was the one who escalated the situation by doing the "limp routine" and refusing to identify herself. “Thank you lord that it’s a controversy in Austin, Texas, that we actually have the audacity to touch somebody by the arm and tell them, 'Oh my goodness, Austin Police, we’re trying to get your attention,'" said Acevedo. “Quite frankly, she wasn’t charged with resisting, and she was lucky I wasn’t the arresting officer because I wouldn’t have been quite as generous.”

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Showing 3 of 316 comments
mutbeyou
Feb 25, 2014 5:54 PM CST
Here in NY, there's a pedestrian crosswalk law that, of course, gives pedestrians the right to cross the street at any time. Regardless of traffic. Regardless if they are idiots. So I'm driving down the street with a load of old decking on the roof of my van. This guy, with family in tow, steps out into the middle of the intersection, and holds his hand up. I schreech to a stop, the load on top of the van slides forward and the car in back of me almost collides. Disaster averted. So as I passed this asshole, I shouted - 'You just put your family on death's door. What if I had been drunk? What if I had been on drugs? What if I had been on the phone or distracted by something?' See, now, people think, somehow, just because the government passes a new law it will protect them from everything. That's why there - and they're - are idiots.
Dave0
Feb 24, 2014 10:10 AM CST
It's the over-reaction of the cop that's at fault...'grab her from behind without first announcing he was a policeman'....Had he simply approached her, tell her she's jay walking and getting a ticket for it, none of this would amount to any kind of a story. Some cops just want to use force for every issue they encounter. Why? Cuz they're nuts!
TwoSheds
Feb 23, 2014 11:19 PM CST
I don't think I saw a car go by the whole time the video was rolling. Makes me wonder if the intent was something other than public safety.