It certainly isn’t 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. The chief 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.”