APD responds to viral downtown fight video

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by JADE MINGUS / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on February 3, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 3 at 7:20 PM

AUSTIN -- The video of a downtown Austin fight has nearly 300,000 views online and is renewing calls for a greater police presence downtown.

The video shows two groups of men fighting on Sixth Street just east of Interstate 35 at 3 a.m. on Jan. 26. In the video, a group knocks two men to the ground, kicking and punching them repeatedly.

Austin police say they are investigating the crime as a possible robbery by assault, but no charges have been filed. Detectives are interviewing the men involved and say the two groups argued before the video ever started rolling.

"It obviously does concern us when there is this type of violence," said Sgt. Jonathan Herring with APD's robbery unit. "They encountered each other, words were exchanged and a fight ensued."

Police are asking that the person who shot the video of the fight come forward, so officers can view an unedited version. They are also looking at surveillance cameras from the area.

The vice chairman of Austin's public safety commission, Mike Levy, says the fight video should be a wake-up call.

"Cops will tell you, 'Look, the best deterrent to all this is visibility,' and they don’t have enough cops downtown," said Levy. "When they start getting overloaded with calls, it sucks cops out of the neighborhoods."

APD reports robberies in the downtown sector were down in 2013 from 2012 by 20 percent. There were 110 robberies in 2012 and 88 in 2013. Aggravated assaults were down by 36 percent in the same time period, and burglaries were up 11 percent.

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