Police Chief Defends Officers After Controversial Actions - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Police Chief Defends Officers After Controversial Actions For A Jaywalking Ticket

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The pictures taken by Chris Quintero took social media by storm. The pictures showed a young jogger named Amanda Jo Stephen was taken in cuffs near the UT campus. Today, Austin Police Department had to apologize for remarks made by the police chief.

At a fiery press conference at the Austin Police Department last Friday, Chief Art Acevedo says the officers were only doing their job.

"The officer hears the other officer yelling for someone to stop! Immediately [he] starts running after the individual and is yelling at her to stop[.] So now you have two officers yelling at this person," says Austin Police Department's Chief Art Acevedo.

The Chief continues, "The girl was running along and an officer ran up right beside her with his APD hat on and told her to stop. When she didn't stop, he grabbed her arm."

Acevedo says Stephen failed to identify herself and was far from cooperative. The officer ultimately arrested her for failure to identify.

The police officer was criticized for grabbing the woman from behind after the video went viral on social media. 

Ricky Melendez and Chris Quintero were sitting across the street. Quintero doesn't recall officer running beside her like Acevedo said.

"I think he grabbed her slightly from behind. It may not be from far behind but enough to where she didn't notice who was grabbing her right away," says Quintero.

Chief Acevedo explains, "Whether or not he grabbed her by behind is not relevant! At some point she knows it's a cop! The cop asked her a lawful question that she is lawfully required to answer and she didn't! That's why she went to jail!"

Acevedo says the woman was only arrested for failure to identify not for resisting arrest. He says if he had arrested her, then he wouldn't have been so generous.

"At the end of the day, that officer has to stop them somehow. He didn't tackle her to the ground, you know, it's kind of interesting what passes for controversy in Austin, Texas. Thank you Lord that there's a controversy in Austin. We actually had the audacity to touch somebody by the arm and tell them 'oh my goodness, Austin police, we're trying to get your attention'! 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," he continues.

Chief Acevedo says the 2 officers at the intersection were actually working a pedestrian traffic initiative at the request of those that live and work around here. The officers were to reduce the number of complaints and overall violations in the area.

They stopped 28 people and gave 7 citations so far.

Today, Chief Acevedo issued an apology for some of his remarks, saying that he should have used a better analogy.

During the press conference I attempted to place the arrest into context by bringing attention to the fact that law enforcement deals with many acts of serious misconduct. This includes recent instances in the news of sexual assault by police officers in other cities.

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.

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