Austin police chief Art Acevedo has issued an apology for comments he made during a press conference yesterday concerning the arrest of a female jogger near the University of Texas campus on Thursday.
Acevedo dismissed the controversy over police handling of a jaywalking jogger, saying 'Cops are actually committing sexual assaults on duty so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas.'
Today, he released a statement saying that he was trying to put the arrest of jogger Amanda Jo Stephen 'into context by bringing attention to the fact that law enforcement deals with many acts of serious misconduct' including recent cases of police officers sexually assaulting civilians.
'In hindsight I believe the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize,' reads his statement.
Acevedo says the press conference was 'the culmination of an emotional week,' referring to the conviction of Brandon Daniel for killing Austin police officer Jaime Padron in 2012.
Stephen was taken into custody while out running on Thursday morning after she illegally crossed the street and allegedly refused to give her name to police officers.
A bystander, Chris Quintero captured Stephen's dramatic arrest marked by sobbing and yelling on film whose video went viral after being posted on YouTube.
On Saturday, a visibly irritated Chief Acevedo downplayed the entire incident and brushed off words of censure directed at his officers by social media users.
‘Thank you, lord, that it is 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,”’ Acevedo remarked sarcastically.
‘Whew! 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.’
She had it coming: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo responded to the controversy surrounding the jogger's arrest, saying that Stephen was uncooperative and left officers no choice but to grab her hand and cuff her
Sarcastic: Chief Acevedo told reporters he thanks God that a jaywalker's arrest passes for controversy in Austin, while elsewhere in the country cops commit serious crimes on duty
Combative mood: Acevedo insisted that his officers have done nothing wrong, and that Stephen should consider herself lucky that she wasn't slapped with a charge of resisting arrest
The chief explained that two uniformed officers screamed at Stephen to stop, but the woman, who allegedly didn't hear them because she had her headphones on, continued on her way.
Only then, Acevedo said, did one of the cops grab her arm from behind.
Jailbird: Amanda Jo Stephen, 24, pictured in her booking after being charged with failure to identify stemming from a jaywalking incident
The chief also challenged the claim that the woman couldn't hear the cops because of the pink earbuds seen in photos of her arrest.
According to police, the 24-year-old runner refused to divulge her name and was uncooperative.
Quintero, who wrote a post of his blog lambasting police for startling the woman, later toned down his rhetoric, telling the station KTBC that even if the officer came up from behind, at some point Stephen must have realized that he was a law enforcement agent.
While it was suggested earlier that the woman was dragged to the ground after being handcuffed, Acevedo revealed that Stephen sat down on her own accord and went limp, the Austin American Statesman reported.
‘She did the limp routine, and in 28 years of law enforcement, I can tell you it happens all the time,’ Acevedo said.
Austin’s top cop added that the 24-year-old should consider herself lucky that he was not among the officers on the scene, who let her walk away with a failure to identify charge rather than the more serious count of resisting arrest.
‘I wouldn’t have been as generous,’ he warned.
Stephen was one of 28 people who were stopped for jaywalking Thursday. A total of seven pedestrians were issued citations.
Stephen's headline-making arrest took place just before 11am outside a fast-food eatery near the intersection of 24th Street and San Antonio Street in Austin.
Busted: Amanda Jo Stephen, 24, is seen handcuffed and in tears following Thursday's arrest for a traffic violation in Austin
Caught on camera: Chris Quintero took pictures and video of the jogger's arrest; the college student said the 24-year-old crossed the street without waiting to the light to switch and was ordered to stop by police
Sporting a black crop top, shorts and toe sneakers, 24-year-old Amanda Jo Stephen was running across the street when an officer yelled for her to stop.
According to Quintero, who saw the arrest play out from a nearby Starbucks, the jogger got caught in a police operation targeting jaywalkers, University of Texas' student newspaper The Daily Texan reported.
Since Stephen had her headphones on, she allegedly didn't hear the officer and continued on her way.
The officer quickly caught up with her and grabbed Stephen’s hand from behind, prompting her to push his hand away.
Desperate pleas: A sobbing Stephen repeatedly told the officers that she did nothing wrong and was simply exercising
Lawbreaker: Austin PD said the woman has been charged with failure to identify herself to police and a class B traffic signal violation
An Austin police spokesperson told MailOnline Friday that Miss Stephen was handcuffed and taken into custody for failing to give her name to police.
In Quintero's 2-minute video, the young woman with blond hair arranged in two braids in seen weeping on the ground with her hands restrained behind her back and two officers towering over her.
At one point, the apprehended jogger notices Quintero taking pictures of her and declares: 'I was doing nothing wrong. I was crossing the street.'
A moment later, a pair of uniformed cops, joined by two more cops on bikes, could be seen placing the sobbing woman into the back of a squad car, with her pleading and shrieking at the top of her lungs.
‘I didn’t do anything wrong! I didn’t do anything wrong! she said repeatedly. ‘I didn’t f***ing do anything wrong! I just crossed the street.’
Since going up on YouTube Thursday, Quintero's video has gone viral, drawing more than 17,000 views, and counting.
Internet hit: Quintero's video showing the four burly man overpowering the slender young jogger has gone viral in a day
The Austin Police Department has denied that the officers seen in the video were specifically targeting jaywalkers, claiming instead that they were working 'pedestrian enforcement' to ensure traffic safety.
The agency spokesperson told MailOnline Miss Stephen has been charged with failure to identify and a class B traffic signal violation.
As of Friday, she was not listed as an inmate in the local jail, suggesting that she has been released on bond.
'Maybe the plus size cops should follow her lead, and go on a jog instead of wasting tax dollars on trivial matters... just a thought,' Quintero wrote in his blog.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2565873/Police-chief-forced-apologize-comments-saying-jogger-didnt-deal-police-sexually-assaulted-her.html#ixzz2uC6DlpgJ
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