Video of Austin police arresting jogger goes viral

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News, photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE and KATEY PSENCIK / KVUE.com

Bio | Email | Follow: @psencikk

kvue.com

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 11:10 PM

AUSTIN -- A video posted Thursday by a UT student showing a young woman being arrested is gaining national attention. 

The video shows 24-year-old Amanda Jo Stephen in handcuffs, sitting on the sidewalk at 24th and San Antonio streets near the University of Texas campus. Moments later, she's captured yelling and cursing at Austin police officers as they load her into a police car.

Christopher Quintero shot the video.

"She was running away, past the cops. [She was] not running from them, but jogging, and 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?'" said Quintero.

Police Chief Art Acevedo says there is a lot more to the story. The officers were working on an initiative to cut down on pedestrian and bicycle violations. This week, they are focusing on jaywalkers.

On Thursday, officers stopped 28 people and cited seven. On Friday, KVUE cameras caught numerous people ignoring the stop signal and unlawfully crossing the street.

"We do it all the time here," said UT student Patrice Hailey. "The traffic here is so bad, I mean, we just have to walk when we can."

Acevedo says Stephen did the same thing while officers had another person stopped for jaywalking.

"He can see her face, and she can see his face, yells, 'Austin Police, I need you to stop.' She still doesn't stop, so he grabs her arm and says, 'I need you to stop.' She then at some point takes off her ear buds and he says, 'Austin Police, I need you to stop,' and she says to the effect, 'I don't give an "f" who you are. Get your "f'ing" hands off of me," Acevedo said.

According to police, Stephen was arrested for failure to obey a pedestrian control device and failure to identify. Failure to identify is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas.

The police department received inquires from news outlets across the country Friday, the same day a jury convicted Brandon Daniel for shooting and killing Senior Austin Police Officer Jaime Padron.

Acevedo calls the national attention petty.

"I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas. And I stand here proud as a police chief, saying that I'm proud that this is the controversy that I'm dealing with today, on the day that we're actually convicting somebody of capital murder. And I'm glad that I'm here having to address mediocrity," said Acevedo.

The viral video and photos ignited a lot of discussion on social media, including tweets to and from Acevedo. See our Storify below for Twitter reactions to Stephens' arrest.

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