On Thursday morning, Austin police attempted to stop a young woman jogging near the University of Texas campus after she crossed against the light. The young woman, who had headphones on, did not hear the police as they yelled at her to stop, so they reacted in the most measured of ways. Texas Monthly reports:
Moments later, witnesses say, the officer grabbed her arm as she continued jogging. At that point, the jogger recoiled from the stranger grabbing her from behind, leading the officer to handcuff her, call over three fellow officers, and finally arrest the young woman for failure to identify herself.
The story has attracted quite a bit of attention in Texas, in large part because the arrest was recorded and shared on YouTube.
Texas Monthly also points out that the young woman in the video tells a believable story: she didn’t hear the cops telling her to stop and nearly any woman would react similarly if a strange person unexpectedly grabbed you.
But Austin police chief Art Acevedo isn’t taking kindly to the criticism. In a Friday news conference, Acevedo suggested that the young woman in the video should feel lucky that his cops didn’t rape her:
“Whether or not he grabbed her by behind it doesn’t…it’s not relevant! At some point she knows it’s a cop! The cop asked her a lawful question that she is lawfully required to answer and she didn’t! That’s why she went to jail,” Acevedo said.
At the end of the day, that officer has to stop them somehow. He didn’t tackle her to the ground, you know, it’s kind of interesting what passes for controversy in Austin, Texas. Thank you, Lord, that there’s a controversy in Austin, Texas that we actually had the audacity to touch somebody by the arm and tell them ‘Oh my goodness, Austin Police, we’re trying to get your attention.’ Whew! In other cities, cops are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas,” Acevedo said.
That rape and sexual assault are a problem among police forces across America—the Associated Press recently found that hundreds of officers had been fired for committing sex crimes—seems decidedly beyond the point in this particular case. No woman should be expected to sacrifice their rights simply because gender-based violence exists among America’s police forces. It’s truly an outlandish and disgusting response.
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