Austin police chief Art Acevedo apologized Saturday for a controversial remark he made earlier while defending the controversial actions his officers took against a jaywalker Thursday.
In a widely-circulated video, Austin police were seen detaining and ultimately arresting Amanda Jo Stephen, 24, after she crossed an intersection at a red light while jogging. Wearing headphones and sporting a pair of toe shoes, the 24-year-old initially failed to obey orders from an officer after he saw her jaywalking.
Acevedo appeared to trivialize the viral arrest Friday, defending his officers for their actions and contending that what they did wasn’t too bad, considering the things other officers from different departments allegedly do while on duty.
“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 said.
“Thank you lord that it’s a controversy in Austin, Texas that we actually have the audacity to touch somebody by the arm and tell them ‘oh my goodness, Austin Police, we’re trying to get your attention,’” he added.
On Saturday, after growing controversy Acevedo was forced to issue an apology claiming that, “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,” he added, saying his comments came at the end of an “emotional week” following the conviction of an individual for the killing of an Austin police officer in 2012.
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