The PJ Tatler

Austin PD Chief: Hey Joggers, Be Thankful that Cops Aren't Sexually Assaulting You!

The story of the Austin PD arresting jogger Amanda Jo Stephen, 24, for “failure to identify” has moved quite a bit since it happened last week.

First, “failure to identify” is a thing in Texas, legally, according to this ex-cop, but it doesn’t apply in this case.

OK, it is fairly simple.  If you are under arrest refuse to provide your name, date of birth, or residence address, you commit a Class C misdemeanor unless you have warrants outstanding, when it is a Class B misdemeanor.  If you are either under arrest or lawfully detained, it is an offense to provide a false name, date of birth or address.  The later is a Class B or A misdemeanor, dependent on whether you have outstanding warrants.

What is not an offense is refusing to provide your name, date of birth, or residence address when you are lawfully detained.

The jogger was not even being detained when she refused to identify herself. She was arrested because she refused to identify herself, after police came upon her from behind while she was jogging with earbuds, and she couldn’t hear them.

Austin PD Chief Art Acevedo hasn’t covered himself in glory in this story. He and his department have given conflicting info as to whether police were on that street corner as part of a jaywalking enforcement crackdown.

Acevedo accuses her of throwing herself to the ground and “doing the limp routine.”

Those are crimes now?

He also said that the jogger is lucky he wasn’t the arresting officer, because he wouldn’t have been as nice as the actual arresting officers were to her.

Really? That begs the question, what would Art have done with a jogger who was caught from behind while maybe jaywalking but otherwise committing no crime?

In a press conference, he said this:

“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.”

Acevedo apologized in a press release, in a way that sounds like he’s still trying to pat himself on the back because none of the arresting officers sexually assaulted the jogger while they were arresting her for no reason.

Yesterday’s press conference related to the arrest of a jogger by members of the Austin Police Department (APD) was the culmination of an emotional week for the APD, our extended APD family and me personally.

During the press conference I attempted to place the arrest into context by bringing attention to the fact that law enforcement deals with many acts of serious misconduct. This includes recent instances in the news of sexual assault by police officers in other cities.

In hindsight I believe the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize. I stand committed to transparent leadership and will continue to engage the community we serve in an open, honest, and timely manner.

That’s pitiful.

Austin PD had four officers detaining one jogger for no good reason. They dragged her off to a squad car for no reason. She was later released. Apparently Acevedo is expecting a thank-you card from her now.