Austin Woman Arrested For Jaywalking and Austin Chief Responds To Outcry By Saying It Could Have Been Worse . . . Officers In Other Cities Would Add A Sexual Assault

0miw2Rochief-photoPeople in Austin were outraged recently when Amanda Jo Stephen was arrested for jaywalking – a crime that ultimately required four officers and left Stephen sitting cuffed and crying on the ground in front of onlookers. The video is below. However, it was the response of Austin police chief Art Acevedo made this even more bizarre and disturbing.

When people objected to the treatment this woman and over-reaction of his officers, Acevedo responded that “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.” At best, that sounds like a flippant dismissal of abuse and at worse almost sounded like Stephen was lucky to get away without a gang rape by officers.

Acevedo was inundated with calls and later apologized for the “poor analogy” and insisted that “I attempted to place the arrest into context by bringing attention to the fact that law enforcement deals with many acts of serious misconduct.”

The problem with the apology is that it still misses part of the problem. Putting aside the basis for this arrest, everyday and casual abuses are a major problem of police misconduct. This woman was left cuffed and sitting on the ground in public and then arrested and charged. Four officers participated in the arrest. Arbitrary and over-the-top police enforcement that creates fear of police and a sense of impunity for officers. Then when a chief of police shrugs it off as still better than a rape, it sends a chilling message to citizens and the wrong signal to officers. It is much much worse than a “poor analogy” in my view.

By the way, the original Acevedo interview contained other comments from the Chief in dismissing objections from cities. Stephen was charged with “failure to identify” and “failure to obey a pedestrian control device.” Acevedo says that his officers were merely trying to change the behavior of citizens and issued seven citations that day to reduce traffic deaths. He then noted that she was handcuffed after telling the officer not to touch her and “All that young lady had to do when she was asked for her information was to provide it by law. Instead of doing that, she decided to throw [herself] to the ground – officers didn’t sit her down – and she did the limp routine.” He indicated that she got off easy: “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.’ 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.” Generous. Well, it appears that she got the nice Austin officers. It seems that she should be counting her lucky stars that she was not raped by officers in other cities or ran into the Chief of Police as a jaywalker.

Source: Daily Texan

Kudos: DavidM

67 thoughts on “Austin Woman Arrested For Jaywalking and Austin Chief Responds To Outcry By Saying It Could Have Been Worse . . . Officers In Other Cities Would Add A Sexual Assault

  1. THOSE DUTIFUL COPS GOT THEIR ARREST FOR THE DAY. THEY CAN NOW GO BACK TO THE DONUT SHOP…….LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THOSE PIGS. THAT IS WHY THEY MUST ARREST PEOPLE FOR RIDICULOUS VIOLATIONS. THEY ARE TOO FAT TO PURSUE REAL CRIMINALS.

  2. There should be some weight/physical fitness requirements to be a police officer since the inherent nature of the job requires one be physically fit (except in this case). I would not hire these men to do a physically demanding job like police work – we def need some kind of reform but I’d be surprised to see it happen.

  3. Woman wearing headphones doesn’t hear the cop tell her to stop. Why should she think the cop was speaking to her IF she heard him? If a male hand grabbed me, I, too, would tell him not to touch me. I’d back away, take the headphones off and consider what to do next. If it was cop, now is the time to find out why he accosted me. No reason for handcuffs. Plenty of reason for cop to COMMUNICATE, respectfully, what I was doing wrong and that he needed to know my name. He might want to remind me that giving a false name is far more serious than jaywalking. I give him my name, he gives me the citation, and we both go on our way.

    Sounds like the chief would have charged her with resisting arrest for going limp, or, if she didn’t go limp he would charge her with resisting arrest. Gotta love that chief, gotcha comin; and goin;.

  4. Cretinous thugs on patrol. How very professional.

    Austin chief of police clowns looks very pretty in his costume one day when he grows up he is going to be a general in the circus.

  5. Would views expressed here be different if this involved someone other than a young, white female wearing a black jogging outfit in a middle class neighborhood of Austin?

  6. randyjet & davidm2575 – I never said she had to have her ID, said she should have. As a parent I would want to know if something happened to my child ASAP, not days later when they finally found out who they were.

  7. 40+ years in Austin & theres never been any serious crime
    They could fire 1/2 the force & the crime rate wouldnt change one iota
    Police fire & EMS consume 66.6% of city revenue
    Jaywalking ? Seriously?
    nothing but a make work detail for the chronically bored

  8. LFDJR-SF: “To my knowledge, bicyclists do not pay taxes or fees for the use of streets, bicycle lanes and government services (as when they use police when a bicycle is stolen or they kill a pedestrian as in the case of a bicyclist in San Francisco last year).”

    I suppose you are talking about gas taxes and usage fees (you weren’t clear). Those taxes account for about 50% of the cost of roads. The rest comes out of other sources (like taxes also paid by people who ride bicyces, many of whom drive cars). And, compared to cars (and trucks), any “wear and tear” on the roadways that a bicycle can cause is very small.

    http://taxfoundation.org/blog/statelocal-road-spending-covered-user-fees-user-taxes-categories-separated-out

    LFDJR-SF: “I recall bicyclists (who do not pay for roads) in downtown SF playing daredevil games by weaving in and out in front of city buses…”

    Keep in mind that bicyclists are allowed by the law to use the roads. That they “don’t pay” isn’t relevant (in the same way that “paying” doesn’t excuse drivers from doing illegal things).

  9. LFDJR-SF: “Payment of a fee on, say, a bicycle operating permit in certain areas, is a way to educate bicyclists about safety and maintain their attention to compliance and offset the costs.. They need to have some investment in the community infrastructure.”

    Fees don’t prevent drivers from breaking the law. What evidence do you have that bicyclists break the law more frequently than drivers do?

    Other than fines, the fees drivers pay don’t go anywhere near “offsetting the costs”. Anyway, if you were really interested in getting costs covered, you’d suggest raising fees for drivers first. (Keep in mind that any “reasonable” fee one could charge bicyclists probably wouldn’t cover the cost of the bureaucracy required to collect and enforce it.) I suppose you think that “jaywalkers”/pedestrians should be charged a fee too.

  10. davidm2575: “The laws regarding pedestrians should be that they have the full right of way period.”

    Well, no. Pedestrians don’t (and shouldn’t) have the right to walk in front of a car that can’t reasonably stop in time.

    Pedestrians have the “right of way” -in- crosswalks (in most states) but they don’t have the right to enter the crosswalk anytime they feel like.

    (I don’t have a problem with “jaywalking” by itself but pedestrians have to take extra care when they choose to do it.)

    • davep wrote: “Pedestrians don’t (and shouldn’t) have the right to walk in front of a car that can’t reasonably stop in time.”

      No, but that’s not what full right of way means. It means that cars should yield to pedestrians. Sailboats and motorboats, who has the right of way? Sailboats. It doesn’t mean that sailboats should just sail in front of motorboats. It means that motorboats yield to them.

      At the University of Florida, for example, there is a 20 mph speed limit on campus and all pedestrians have full right of way. That means cars yield to pedestrians in all situations. It does not mean that students can jump in front of cars and get hit. If a student steps off a curb, the motor vehicle shall stop and yield until the way is clear to proceed.

  11. lagann2002: “randyjet & davidm2575 – I never said she had to have her ID, said she should have. As a parent I would want to know if something happened to my child ASAP, not days later when they finally found out who they were.”

    Whether she should have been carrying ID is irrelevant in this case.

  12. bettykath: “Woman wearing headphones doesn’t hear the cop tell her to stop. Why should she think the cop was speaking to her IF she heard him? If a male hand grabbed me, I, too, would tell him not to touch me.”

    Woman wearing headphones while running in city traffic is not very smart. (Though, that’s irrelevant to this case.)

  13. davep wrote: “Pedestrians don’t (and shouldn’t) have the right to walk in front of a car that can’t reasonably stop in time.”

    davidm2575 wrote: “No, but that’s not what full right of way means. It means that cars should yield to pedestrians.”

    What do you mean “full” mean? No one has “full” right-of-way.

    The “right of way” is a bad phrase because it really isn’t a “right”. It’s actually something people are required (if only due to practicality) to give up readily to avoid a collision. Thus, it really isn’t a “right” nor is it “full”. Ever.

    davidm2575 wrote: “Sailboats and motorboats, who has the right of way? Sailboats.”

    It’s not “right of way” (that term isn’t used in the navigation rules (except in a particular and unusual case). It’s “stand on”. And sailboats don’t always have it.

    The navigation rules avoid using the “right of way” phrase because it isn’t a “right”. In maritime law, it appears that it’s very rare to accord the blame for a collision between two vessels to one captain. It’s a general principle that captains take action to avoid collisions over any “right of way” consideration. There certainly is no “full right of way” on water.

    davidm2575: “The laws regarding pedestrians should be that they have the full right of way period.”

    This is too broad. Pedestrians don’t have the “full right of way period” in the traffic laws of any US state.

    Legally, generally, they have the “right of way” in crosswalks. And they don’t have the “right of way” to enter crosswalks (they are required to yield to traffic). Outside of crosswalks (such as in so-called “jaywalking”), they have to yield to traffic. When crossing a high speed road, it makes more sense to require that pedestrians yield to traffic.

    Pedestrians might have the “full right of way” on the University of Florida campus (which can have rules that supercede the state traffic law). A 20 mph speed limit makes that practical to do. The pedestrian (at least on streets where the state traffic laws apply) is required to yield traffic before stepping off the curb.

    ====================

    There is no “full right of way”. The “right of way” is either something you have (something you can use without a risk of collision) or it’s something that you give-up (to avoid a collision) readily. It’s not something you “contest”. It’s an optimistic right (it’s only a “right” if conditions allow).

    Note that there are two aspects of this: 1) what to do to avoid a collision in the first place (the most important thing) and 2) ascribing fault after the fact

    You always (should) give up your so-called “right of way” to avoid a collision (thus, your “right of way” is never “full”).

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