Saturday, February 22, 2014

TX: Woman arrested on 24th Street after jogging across intersection against red light

City police officers arrested a woman around 10:45 a.m. Thursday for failing to provide identification after she was stopped near the intersection of 24th and San Antonio, outside Big Bite Pizza and Grill.

Advertising senior Chris Quintero, who witnessed the arrest, said Austin Police Department officers were working at the intersection when the woman jogged across the block.

"I was sitting at the Starbucks at 24th and San Antonio," Quintero said. "Then I hear a cop shout at an innocent girl jogging through West Campus with her headphones on."

When the woman did not stop, the officer grabbed her by the arm and quickly placed her in handcuffs, Quintero said.

"She repeatedly pleaded with them, saying that she was just exercising and to let her go," Quintero said.

In footage of the incident that Quintero filmed, the woman can be seen attempting to get up from the ground and being kept down by police officers.

"I was doing nothing wrong," the woman said from her position sitting on the sidewalk. "I was crossing the street."

When police escorted the woman into the police car, she began shouting and eventually shrieking unintelligibly.

"I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong," she said. "I didn’t fucking do anything wrong. I just crossed the street."

Quintero said two additional officers on bicycles arrived on the scene to assist with the arrest. In footage, the officers can be seen working together to secure the woman in the back of the police car. According to APD spokeswoman Lisa Cortinas, APD officers do not target jaywalking specifically, instead they focus on pedestrian and bike safety overall.

"District representatives were working pedestrian enforcement at 24th Street and Guadalupe," Cortinas said. "[In this case], the call is titled failure to identify."

APD spokeswoman Veneza Bremner said as far as she was aware, there was no concerted effort Thursday to ticket jaywalkers.

"I don’t think there’s any initiative going on out there, but [APD officers] can go write tickets whenever they see a problem out there," Bremner said.

Bremner said officers occasionally patrol the area even when they have not been called to address a specific crime.

"I’m not sure how often they do it, but I do know that they’re out there every now and then doing that," Bremner said. "Whenever the call load allows, they’re proactively out there."

Updated (6:45 p.m.): At a press conference held Friday, APD police chief Art Acevedo addressed the recent arrest of 24-year-old Amanda Jo Stephen, who was taken into custody Thursday after crossing an intersection at a red light. Stephen was formally charged with "failure to identify" and "failure to obey a pedestrian control device" and was released from Travis County Central Booking Thursday evening.

Acevedo said the arrest occured in the midst of a West/North Campus traffic initiative which began Feb. 1. Acevedo said the initiative’s purpose is to reduce the number of traffic violations made by drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Original report here




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