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Published On: Sat, Feb 22nd, 2014

Police defend arresting jogger Amanda Jo Stephen for lack of ID after jaywalking

APD police chief Art Acevedo addressed the recent arrest of Amanda Jo Stephen, who was taken into custody Thursday after crossing an intersection at a red light, at a Friday afternoon press conference.

Amanda Jo Stephen

Amanda Jo Stephen

Stephen, age 24, 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 occurred 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.

“Our goal is to change behavior, and not necessarily to write tickets or take people to jail,” Acevedo said. “This week, we’re actually focusing on pedestrian violations. The initiative will continue for some upcoming weeks, utilizing the resources of district representatives.”

According to Acevedo, there have been 96 deaths related to pedestrian-involved incidents and 1,757 pedestrians injured in traffic crashes in in the past five years.

“I’d rather have everybody angry at me and my officers, then to see a young person lose their life needlessly,” Acevedo said. “I’d rather be up here talking about this, than going to our 97th fatality involving a pedestrian or 1800th injury involving a pedestrian.”

When arresting Stephen, officers took the appropriate actions, Acevedo said.

“I don’t buy that you can’t hear an officer yelling at you to stop,” Acevedo said. “I’ll give the benefit of the doubt initially, but when the officer is right by you and can see the hat and he’s looking at your face, you should be able to know what’s going on.”

cevedo said Stephen disregarded the officer’s lawful request for her to identify herself and verbally resisted the arrest.

“All that young lady had to do when she was asked for her information was to provide it by law, “ Acevedo said. “Instead of doing that, she decided to throw [herself] to the ground – officers didn’t sit her down – and she did the limp routine.”

A University of Texas Student filmed the police capturing the jogger and placing her in an officer’s car.

“I was sitting at the Starbucks at 24th and San Antonio,” the student, Chris Quintero, toldtheDaily Texan, the student newspaper for the University of Texas-Austin. “Then I hear a cop shout at an innocent girl jogging through West Campus with her headphones on.”

Police told the woman to provide identification, Quintero remarked. When she wouldn’t, the officer grabbed her arm and placed her in handcuffs.

“She repeatedly pleaded with them, saying that she was just exercising and to let her go,” Quintero said. Quintero is heard in the video saying, “I saw you,” after the woman calls across the street, saying, “I was doing nothing wrong. I was crossing the street.”

Watch the video below

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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  1. Your Name... says:

    Austin Police are out of control.

    It is easier to arrest a young, white, female college student who is jobbing for exercise, than to stop dangerous crime in Austin. Such as drugs, murder, rape, human trafficking from Mexico through HWY35, enslaved prostitution, etc…

  2. I am trying to relocate my father, can you help? | Austin Jail says:

    […] Police defend arresting jogger Amanda Jo Stephen … “Our goal is to change behavior, and not necessarily to write tickets or take people to jail,” Acevedo said. “This week, we're actually focusing on pedestrian violations. The initiative will continue for some upcoming weeks, utilizing the resources of … Read more on The Global Dispatch […]

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