Austin, Texas police chief Art Acevedo wants you to know that if you are arrested while jaywalking in his city you are lucky because at least you won’t be raped by his officers.
While the chief has since apologized and admitted that his remarks were out of line he did make them after the arrest on Thursday of 24 year old Amanda Jo Stephen, a jogger who had crossed against the light at an intersection. She has been charged with “failure to identify” and “failure to obey a pedestrian control device” after being handcuffed and booked at the Travis county jail. She was released Thursday evening.
The incident began when officers called to Stephen who was wearing headphones as she jogged and requested that she stop. When she did not stop they approached her and one grabbed her by the arm at which time, according to Acevedo she sat down, “officers didn’t sit her down – and she did the limp routine.”
Acevedo also said that he didn’t believe her claim not to have heard the officers calling to her to stop and that she simply chose to ignore them. Apparently he has never sat across the aisle on a bus from a twenty something wearing a headset — even wearing your own with the music at a reasonable volume you will be able to hear theirs.
At a press conference on Friday to address the issue Acevedo noted that the area had seen 96 fatalities and 1,757 injuries involving pedestrians in the last five years.
“I’d rather have everybody angry at me and my officers, then to see a young person lose their life needlessly,” he said. “I’d rather be up here talking about this, than going to our 97th fatality involving a pedestrian or 1800th injury involving a pedestrian.”
If he had left it at that there would have been little controversy surrounding the arrest but unfortunately the chief felt the need to insert his foot into his mouth.
“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,’” he continued. “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.”
“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,” he said just to put the icing on the cake.
On Saturday Acevedo apologized for the rape remark saying that it was the result of a long rough week and that he probably shouldn’t have said that she should consider herself lucky that she was not raped by his officers.
“I attempted to place the arrest into context by bringing attention to the fact that law enforcement deals with many acts of serious misconduct,” he said. “In hindsight I believe the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize.”
The incident was recorded by Chris Quintero, a student at the University of Texas. You can see the video below.
h/t: Raw Story