Video from Austin, Texas appears to show police officers forcibly holding a 24-year-old woman on the ground while arresting her for jaywalking.
Amanda Jo Stephen was jogging Thursday when police say she ignored stop signals and crossed the street, KVUE reports. Eyewitness Christopher Quintero, a student at the University of Texas, wrote on his blog that he saw an officer shout at the woman, and when she kept jogging, the cop grabbed her arm.
"Startled, and not knowing it was a cop, she jerked her arm away. The cop viewed this as resisting arrest and proceeded to grab both arms tightly, placing her in handcuffs," Quintero wrote.
Video filmed by Quintero shows Stephen sitting on the ground, struggling to stand while an officer pushes her on the ground. She can be heard saying, "I was doing nothing wrong; I was crossing the street."
Stephens continues to struggle, and can be heard screaming and crying, as four officers force her into a police car. Cops allege that Stephen repeatedly refused to give them her name. She was ultimately charged with failure to obey a pedestrian control device and failure to identify herself, according to the Daily Texan.
Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo claims his officers did nothing wrong. He says Stephen was the one who threw herself to the ground first. "She did the limp routine," he said at a press conference. "In 28 years of law enforcement I can tell you it happens all the time."
Acevedo says jaywalking is a serious issue in Austin. “I’d rather have everybody angry at me and my officers, then to see a young person lose their life needlessly,” he said at a press conference. “I’d rather be up here talking about this, than going to our 97th fatality involving a pedestrian or 1800th injury involving a pedestrian.”
He also said he's not "buying" theories that Stephen, who was jogging with earbuds in, didn't hear the officer the first time he tried to stop her.
On Thursday, officers stopped 28 people for jaywalking and gave 7 citations.