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article imageAustin police chief apologizes for sarcastic defence of officers

By Arthur Weinreb     Feb 23, 2014 in Crime
Austin - After controversy erupted over the arrest of a female jogger for jaywalking and failing to identify herself, Police Chief Art Acevedo went on a rant defending his officers. He has since apologized.
At around 11 a.m. on Thursday, University of Texas student Amanda Jo Stephen went out for a jog in downtown Austin. According to police, the 24-year-old had jaywalked and then refused to stop for them. Police also say when she finally was apprehended, she refused to identify herself.
At the time, police were conducting a blitz of pedestrians who were disobeying traffic signals. On that day, 28 people were stopped and seven were given citations.
According to a witness, an officer came up behind her and grabbed her by the arm. She then jerked her arm away. She was handcuffed and then placed on the ground. It took four officers to place the screaming student in a police car. Stephen was charged with failing to obey a pedestrian crossing and failing to identify herself.
Chris Quintero, also a University of Texas student, was in a coffee shop across the street. When the officers apprehended Stephen, he began filming the arrest which was uploaded and later went viral. Stephen can be seen cursing the officers and then screaming loudly when she realized she was going to be taken away.
According to Quintero, Stephen was wearing ear buds and probably did not know the officers wanted her to stop until one grabbed her arm. When her arm was grabbed, she pulled it away.
After the video went viral, the Austin Police Department came under criticism, especially on the university campus, for the way Stephen was dealt with. Police Chief Acevedo went on the offensive, defending his officers. At a press conference held on Friday, he sarcastically said, "Thank you, lord, that this is a controversy in Austin, Texas—that we actually have the audacity to touch someone by the arm and tell them, 'Oh my goodness, Austin police, we're trying to get your attention.' Whew! In other cities, cops are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas."
Acevedo also denied Stephen was forced to the ground, saying she went limp. He said, "She did the limp routine, and in 28 years of law enforcement, I can tell you it happens all the time."
Acevedo also said if he had stopped Stephen, he would not have been so generous; he would have charged her with resisting arrest.
Acevedo's comments added to the outrage. On Saturday, Acevedo issued an apology, claiming it was an emotional week for both the Austin Police Department and the chief personally. As to his comment about sexual assaults committed by police officers he said, "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."
Stephen was booked into jail and later released.
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