Austin Police
9:03 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

APD Chief Apologizes for Sexual Assault Comment After Jaywalking Jogger Arrest (Update)

Amanda Stephen is detained by two Austin Police officers. Her arrest was filmed, creating a social media firestorm.
Amanda Stephen is detained by two Austin Police officers. Her arrest was filmed, creating a social media firestorm.
Credit Chris Quintero

Update: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo apologized Saturday for comments he made during a press conference about the arrest of a jogger for jaywalking near the UT campus. During that press conference, Acevedo said that "In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas."

In his apology statement Saturday, Acevedo said that "the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize." You can read the full apology here.

Original Story (Feb. 21, 4:58 p.m.): Austin Police arrested a woman jogging by the UT Campus Thursday morning for not providing identification after being stopped. The incident was caught on video by a UT student, Chris Quintero, who witnessed the woman being taken into custody. 

According to police, the woman disregarded traffic signals at the intersection of West 24th and San Antonio streets as she was running. After failing to provide identification, Amanda Stephen was detained and arrested.

"This person absolutely took something that was as simple as "Austin Police – Stop!' and decided to do everything you see on that video," Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo at a press conference this afternoon. "And quite frankly she wasn't charged with resisting. She's lucky I wasn't the arresting officer, because I wouldn't have been as generous." 

Quintero, the student that filmed the arrest, had a different take on his blog:

Suddenly, one of the cops shouts at an innocent girl jogging with her headphones on through West Campus. He wobbled after her and grabbed her by the arm. Startled, and not knowing it was a cop, she jerked her arm away. The cop viewed this as resisting arrest and proceeded to grab both arms tightly, placing her in handcuffs. She repeatedly pleaded with them saying that she was just exercising and to let her go. She repeatedly cried out, “I did not do anything wrong…just give me the ticket.” The other officer strolled over and now they were making a scene. She tried to get up. I doubt she was running away as she was in handcuffs, but the second cop pushed her back down to the ground.

The video posted online prompted criticism on social media sites like Reddit regarding how the police reacted. APD says the officers involved were conducting an initiative focused on traffic and pedestrian violations that began Feb. 1. 

"In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas," Acevedo said.