Austin Police Chief Defends Jogger Arrest

Amanda Jo Stephen  (Austin Police Department)

Amanda Jo Stephen
(Austin Police Department)

Experience has taught me that people only see one side of the story when it comes to the police.  They are quick to condemn without knowing what actually happened or what prompted the police to take action.  Many people are happy to think that the police are little more than thugs, with no training, education or compassion.  Nothing of course could be further from the truth, and this story is a good example:

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.”


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Posted by on February 22, 2014. Filed under NEWS I FIND INTERESTING. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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6 Responses to Austin Police Chief Defends Jogger Arrest

  1. Bill Formby

    February 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I shall refrain from indulging Mike but it must be a damn slow time for crime in Austin, Texas to arrest 28 people for jaywalking. Yup! And I still struggle a bit with the “failure to identify yourself”. I realize the need now more than I use to but it shows how much we have lost over the decades. I remember the real old days when a few of would us would be walking down the street the police pull up beside us and who are you boys and we could actually get away with saying, “none of your business.” And, in truth, it wasn’t because we were not doing anything wrong. But, truthfully speaking, there was no reason for us not to give our names, or any names because at that age we had no ID. Then the people in this world kept screwing and having more kids, and we kept letting more people in the country until we are now so populated that the only way for the police to have a chance at dealing with crime is to require people to identify themselves on site and be able to prove it. I guess it will become easier when they make us all wear ID tags so they can identify us from afar so instead of grabbing the jogger they could just mail her a ticket instead of running her down and grabbing her. 🙂 🙂

  2. Michael John Scott

    February 22, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Bill I think that’s a great idea. Everyone needs to have an electronic ID embedded in their wrist so all officers have to do is swipe it with their swiping device and they’ll have all the information they need 🙂

  3. Timmy Mahoney

    February 22, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Excellent idea Mike, and Bill you wouldn’t believe how many people are killed by jaywalking. It is often the jaywalker but in many cases it’s also the poor idiot that tries to avoid hitting them and ends up hitting another car, or an immovable object. It’s real problem in some larger cities and needs to be enforced to save lives. This woman was being a bitch about it and refusing to cooperate. As a result she was arrested. Cops doing their jobs, just like Mike and I did for over 30 years.

  4. Bill Formby

    February 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    You are right Timothy I don’t how many. How many people were killed last year because of jay walking? I realize that it is an annoyance as much as it is dangerous and probably causes more rear end bumps than fatal crashes. At least it did during the few years I was a cop. More than anything else it frustrated the hell out of drivers, me included. But, like a lot of university cities you do have to put up with a lot of liberal rights people who think that any police action is too much unless it is protecting them and then there is never enough and never quick enough.

    Answer to my question: Approximating 3% of highway fatalities are jaywalkers 1/3 of which are age 15 or younger.

    • Michael John Scott

      February 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Wow. I had no idea the jaywalking stats were that high. Thanks.

  5. Jess

    February 25, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I think part of her deal was she was wearing headphones and couldn’t hear the instructions since they were behind her. I do the same thing when running and I hear nothing. Make matters worse the police chief, I think, said she better be glad he wasn’t the one doing the arresting and oh by the way police officers in some jurisdictions have raped people. yeah that is EXACTLY what you want to hear out a police officer’s mouth, dumb bastard.