Wait, What?

Picard and Riker Facepalm

After video emerged of local police apparently using excessive force to arrest a woman for jogging in the wrong place, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo addressed complaints about the arrest by saying it could have been worse; they could have raped her.

This person absolutely took something that was as simple as “Austin Police – Stop!’ and decided to do everything you see on that video,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo at a press conference this afternoon. “And quite frankly she wasn’t charged with resisting. She’s lucky I wasn’t the arresting officer, because I wouldn’t have been as generous.” [...]

“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.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, amirite? At least they didn’t rape her. Don’t be so sensitive!

Acevedo has apologized for making a “poor analogy,” but if I were a resident of Austin I don’t think that would be good enough. I would demand a resignation. Because he’s not some douchey street cop; he’s the god damn chief of police telling someone they shouldn’t complain because, hey, at least we didn’t sexually assault you.

I suppose it’s good to know he draws the line somewhere, but that’s not very reassuring.

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  • D_C_Wilson

    Sadly, he’s far from the first wingnut to use rape as a “poor analogy.” They really need to take Stephen Colbert’s advice:
    “When you feel the urge to say what you think about rape, take a nice sharp pencil and jam it right into you eye!”

  • Christopher Foxx

    Going to the quickly-becoming-standard-response-to-any-offense call for resignation seems overkill to me. Yes, it was a stupid analogy and the thought process that lead to it, basically dismissing the officer’s behavior as OK because it less bad than other’s, is concerning.

    But Acevedo has served as Austin’s Police Chief (Austin’s first Hispanic one) for nearly 7 years. A (admittedly) quick search of his record doesn’t find him tied to controversies or criticisms. Why kick an experienced officer off the force because he made a stupid comment, even a really stupid one, which he has acknowledged and apologized for?

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      Well if you’re arguing that he should be given a pass because he’s Hispanic, then you’re way off base. That should have nothing to do with it.

      • Christopher Foxx

        Well if you’re arguing that he should be given a pass because he’s Hispanic

        I’m not. I pointed it out in a parenthetical comment intending it as an “oh, by-the-way…” observation. Clearly my main point, mentioned in the main part of two sentences, was that he appears to be a good (no criticisms) and experienced officer.

        Knee-jerking with an “off with his head” call for his resignation is a ridiculous overreaction.

  • Lady Willpower

    What he said was dumb, but it’s not as dumb as what you say he said. If he’d actually said “At least they didn’t rape her. Don’t be so sensitive!” we’d be having a different discussion.

    • Christopher Foxx

      What he said was dumb, but it’s not as dumb as what you say he said

      But then how does one build the outrage if they don’t rephrase what he said in the most inflammatory way possible?

      • Lady Willpower

        Exactly. What the Chief said was stupid and ill-advised. What Ashby said he said, on the other hand, was monstrous.

        I’d like to get to the point in our society where not everything is a firing offense. Where someone could say something stupid (even very stupid) and then apologize and the apology will actually suffice.

      • JMAshby

        That wasn’t me building outrage, that was me making a mockery of what he said, because it was ridiculous and easily parodied.

        Nice try though.

        • Christopher Foxx

          Yeah, nice try, JM.

      • mrbrink

        “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,” is closer to “hey, at least we didn’t sexually assault you” than you seem to understand. And I’m sure Chief Shitting Bull would like you to think that his force is so perfect that this is what passes for controversy in Austin.

        The photo at the top of this story should have clued you in to the level of outrage you’re obviously being manipulated and conditioned to exude.

        Classic face/palm.

        But how can you build concern troll apathy if you actually have to think before you make such dickish comments?

        • Christopher Foxx

          Gosh, the stalking and faux outrage is getting tiresome, mr b.

  • muselet

    This is, as I’ve said before, what happens when you give authoritarian arseholes badges. Based on the video, the two overweight and undersmart cops in the video should be fired and never trusted to work in law enforcement again (personally, I’d never hire those two incompetents to be night mall guards).

    As for Art Acevedo, his comment about sexual assault was stupid and offensive and at the very least shouldn’t be allowed to get away with a mealy-mouthed “poor analogy” apology. What makes me angrier than that, though, was this:

    “She’s lucky I wasn’t the arresting officer, because I wouldn’t have been as generous.”

    Even the two meathead uniforms realized they’d screwed the pooch and declined to make things worse. But not the chief, no indeed, he had to strut and preen to show he’s the machoest of the macho men.

    Authoritarian arseholes with badges. Great combination.

    –alopecia

    • Christopher Foxx

      Based on the video, the two overweight and undersmart cops in the video should be fired and never trusted to work in law enforcement again

      You must see something I didn’t, or I’m not looking at the same video. Because in the one I saw at the website of the person who filmed it, you see little other than one cop standing by her as she sat (presumably handcuffed) on the sidewalk and then her yelling as she’s put in the car. All was shot from some distance, there is no footage showing how she was handled from sidewalk to car, and it’s difficult if not impossible to see how she’s handled at the car.

      So what, based on the video, revealed that the cops were “undersmart” or should be banned from law enforcement for life?

      • muselet

        Re-reading my earlier comment, I realize I didn’t edit thoroughly enough because I’d meant to scratch the “Based on the video” part. My opinion is based on the video and the description of the scene provided by the photographer, Chris Quintero. Apologies for my sloppiness.

        But just from the video, I call the two uniforms undersmart and unfit to be any kind of cop because issuing a citation for jaywalking spun out of control like that.

        Also, there’s a qualitative difference between the screams of someone who’s mentally disturbed, someone who’s acting, and someone who’s genuinely terrified (I’ve heard all three in my life, alas), and when the two uniforms try to put Amanda Stephen into the police car I heard screams of terror. Compentent law enforcement officers don’t elicit that sort of reaction.

        Beyond the video, Amanda Stephen was arrested, as the story at Ashby’s link notes, “for not providing identification after being stopped.” Since Texas law does not require a person to provide his/her name, date of birth or address when lawfully detained (an explanation can be found here), the arrest was bogus at best, dick-swinging at worst.

        Me, I don’t want people who do things like that anywhere near power and authority, let alone weapons.

        –alopecia

        • Christopher Foxx

          My opinion is based on the video and the description of the scene provided by the photographer, Chris Quintero. Apologies for my sloppiness.

          No biggie. I really just wanted to be sure I was looking at the same video. As I said, there’s no footage of her being handcuffed and sat down, or being moved to the car. So the main places where you can see how she was treated are missing.

          I read the description Quintero gave with some bits of salt. I’m not saying the situation couldn’t have been handled better, perhaps. Arrested for jaywalking means something clearly got out of whack. But Quintero’s description includes a LOT about what was going through people’s heads which he couldn’t possibly know. Clearly he began with a lot of preconceptions (He starts with “Suddenly, one of the cops shouts at an innocent girl” when he didn’t know what was going on.).

          Also, there’s a qualitative difference between the screams of someone who’s mentally disturbed, someone who’s acting, and someone who’s genuinely terrified

          Indeed. And between those and someone who is pissed off. Her repeated cries of “I didn’t do anything wrong!” and “I walked across the street!” (1:30-1:50) strike me more as someone who feels they don’t deserve what’s happening to them than someone who is terrified or being physically abused. Someone being hurt or manhandled would be more likely to be yelling “Stop. Don’t touch me. Let me go.” type comments.

          Since Texas law does not require a person to provide his/her name, date of birth or address when lawfully detained (an explanation can be found here)

          As shown at you link, it does require exactly that:

          (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information.

          There are abusive and over-zealous cops. That this situation resulted in her arrest means something, as I said above, clearly went wrong. But I don’t see anything in the video or anything in Quintero’s description that indicates whether it was the cops or her behavior.

          • muselet

            If a relatively simple encounter—like this one should have been—between a law enforcement officer and a member of the public (I refuse to go along with the insulting pretense that non-cops are “civilians”) goes this far south, the cop has made some pretty big mistakes, regardless of how the member of the public has behaved.

            I agree that Chris Quintero indulged in some mind-reading, but leaving that out we still have a cop who grabbed a woman who was apparently unaware of his presence (she was wearing earbuds), then handcuffed her because she understandably pulled away. That’s two fundamental mistakes already and the encounter had only barely begun.

            From then on, the whole thing reeks of a “contempt of cop” arrest. Unless she refused to give her name, date of birth and address, she provided identification sufficient to be cited for her jaywalking offense.

            But I don’t see anything in the video or anything in Quintero’s description that indicates whether it was the cops or her behavior.

            Law enforcement officers are expected to keep a situation under control. It’s in the bloody job description. These guys utterly failed to do so, and it doesn’t matter whether she was screaming abuse and spitting at them (which she wasn’t doing, at least not on the video).

            The video is a bit of a Rorschach test. I still see two incompetents who botched writing a ticket.

            –alopecia

          • Christopher Foxx

            we still have a cop who grabbed a woman who was apparently unaware of his presence (she was wearing earbuds), then handcuffed her because she understandably pulled away. That’s two fundamental mistakes already and the encounter had only barely begun.

            Not as much as Quintero, but there’s still some supposition going on there. Not saying you’re wrong, but let’s be fair where we’re making assumptions. We don’t see how she reacted to being stopped. I can understand that she’d start if unexpectedly grabbed, but once she sees it’s a uniformed police officer I’d expect her to not continue to fight.

            From the officer’s point of view, he has someone who has not responded to a spoken order and is running away from him. And once he catches her, given she’s tried to get away, he has no assurance she won’t run if he lets go.

            I don’t know that he continued to hold on. I don’t know if she continued to struggle. But I can see where him doing his job and her reaction to the unexpected could combine to result in her being handcuffed.

            Point being, I can’t assume it was automatically his fault and that he failed to do his job appropriately. Nor can anyone else who wasn’t there or involved in the investigation as to what happened. Yet that doesn’t stop most folks here from saying it was clearly soley the cops fault and the should be kicked off the force.

            The video is a bit of a Rorschach test. I still see two incompetents who botched writing a ticket

            I can agree with that. And point out that you see incompetent cops, while I see insufficient evidence to tell what happened. I’d argue your reaction shows a bias, while mine shows an effort to avoid one.

          • muselet

            Law enforcement officers are supposedly trained not to let situations escalate. These two failed at that task. That’s incompetence.

            –alopecia

          • Christopher Foxx

            Sometimes, despite best efforts, that’s impossible. A lot depends on the others involved. If they’re going to insist on making a scene, there’s not much one can do.

            But, hey, let’s always blame the cops. Shame on them for not being perfectly in control no matter what..

          • beulahmo

            “But, hey, let’s always blame the cops.”
            You’re plainly being a dick. That’s not what muselet or mr brink or anyone else here has tried to do.

          • Christopher Foxx

            You’re plainly being a dick.

            Because I point out there isn’t enough info available to make a conclusion? Shame on me.

            That’s not what muselet or mr brink or anyone else here has tried to do.

            muselet starts by calling the police officers “authoritarian arseholes” and “undersmart” who should be fired, but does have the character to admit he overstated a bit and explain why he finds fault with them).

            mr brink has added nothing to the discussion but what he “imagines” and personal attacks.

            You, at least, acknowledge the students are being dangerous and breaking the law, but then fall back on it being entirely the officers who are soley responsible when one of these danger-creating lawbreakers gets stopped and starts to whine about it. And then flee the discussion when asked just, exactly, what the officers were supposed to do differently when someone runs from them.

            As for “anyone else here”, muselet, brink and you were to only ones talking about what the officers did so there, again, you’re just making things up.

          • beulahmo

            I think there’s something wrong with you.

            A young woman jaywalks. According to the cops she had to be physically apprehended because she “refused” to obey when an officer shouted at her to stop and identify herself. This is the cops’ story and you can decide whether to believe it or not.

            An eyewitness claims he saw the woman wearing earphones crossing the street as the officer shouted at her. The eyewitness offers the conjecture that the jaywalker did not obey the officer’s command because she did not hear him because of the earphones. Of course, as with the cops, you can decide whether to believe him and consider his conjecture or not.

            Below, taken from the KUT story, is a picture of the young woman, sitting on the ground, earphones hanging around her neck, with two cops standing over her. Keep in mind that she was jaywalking. She is unarmed and does not have a physical appearance that would typically be described as threatening. Common sense tells pretty much any reasonable person what the likely story was, even though you could try cast doubt on any conclusion drawn, if you were enough of an asshole to want to waste time doing so.

            You characterized everyone who bothered to engage your pathetic fucking argument as having the following position:
            “Hey, let’s always blame the cops”.

            That’s not what we were doing though. None of us. In this specific case, (and muselet has already pointed this out to you, asshole) we think the cops abused authority in order to apprehend a fucking jaywalker.

            You went from making a jackass of yourself to being a nitpicking asshole. Here — let me clear something up for you: I’m not impressed by your critical thinking skills or your ability to argue. At this point, I just think you’re an annoying asshole, and I’ll probably just avoid you from now on.

          • Christopher Foxx

            I think there’s something wrong with you.

            There is nothing “wrong” with me. But there is something deeply flawed about you if you can’t tolerate the idea that someone views things differently than you do.

            I’m not impressed by your critical thinking skills

            They’re not there to impress you, but thanks for noting I do have them. Might want to get some of your own. You last posting, with it’s contradictions and assumptions stated as facts, certainly shows you lack them.

            I’ll probably just avoid you from now on

            I’d appreciate that. You won’t be missed.

          • muselet

            At this point, you’re arguing for the sake of arguing.

            I’m not blaming “the cops.” I’m saying—repeatedly and in words of very few syllables—these two specific, individual cops cocked up this specific encounter with a member of the public. If you want a rant about “the cops,” I could oblige you, but it’s more likely I’d tell you to go piss up a rope.

            I’m not anti-police. I’m anti-authoritarian arsehole (which I believe you’ll find is where we came in).

            Good night.

            –alopecia

          • Christopher Foxx

            I’m not blaming “the cops.” I’m saying—repeatedly and in words of very few syllables—these two specific, individual cops cocked up this specific encounter with a member of the public.

            You’re not blaming the cops, just saying it’s the cops who were at fault here. Got it.

            I’m not blaming them either, nor am I absolving them. What I’ve said – repeatedly and in words of very few syllables – is that from the video and Quintero’s description (which are ALL that we have to go on) it is impossible to tell why this became more than it should have been. The jogger’s behavior should at least give one pause.

            And, yet, folks still gravitate toward laying the entire responsibility on the cops, and clearly get quite defensive and abusive when someone suggests that might not be appropriate.

            (And I find it amusing that you’d accuse me of “rant[ing] about ‘the cops’” while I’m also being cast (incorrectly) in the role of absolving them. IF anyone has been ranting about the big, bad cops, it hasn’t been me.)

          • Christopher Foxx

            Law enforcement officers are supposedly trained not to let situations escalate. These two failed at that task. That’s incompetence.

            Indeed they are and they should be trying to avoid escalation. But they can’t do that if the person they stop is insistent on being uncooperative or combative. I’m not saying that *is* what happened here. I’m pointing out repeatedly that we don’t know.

            What we do know is the jogger didn’t respond to a verbal command to stop, ran away from the officers (understandable if she didn’t hear them, but she did “flee”), and resisted when physically stopped.

            If she stopped once she saw it was a uniformed officer and he continued to hold onto her when it should have been clear she wasn’t going to run, then, yeah, bad judgment on the officer’s part. If she was uncooperative and the officer’s experience told him he needed to keep her held to avoid the risk of her fleeing, then he acted appropriately.

            But we don’t know how that part went down and it is unfair and incorrect to say that the officer was “incompetent” when it escalating could have been the jogger’s fault.

          • muselet

            I assumed you were making a global statement about all law enforcement officers at all times. If you were referring only to the two Austin PD officers on the video, I got caught by the slight ambiguity in your comment. But you knew that, given what—and how—I wrote.

            Or maybe not, as reading comprehension doesn’t seem to be your strong suit. I wasn’t accusing you of anything. I clearly said that on request I could produce a rant about law enforcement officers in general but more than likely wouldn’t.

            This discussion is going in circles and it wearies me. If you want to have the last word, feel free. I’m done.

            –alopecia

          • Christopher Foxx

            Disqus only threads so far, so it gets difficult after a while to see which comment is a reply to which. So I’m not clear on which of my statements you see ambiguity in. Although I believe I’ve been quite clear all along.

            You’ve actually, as I noted before, been fairly reasonable in this exchange, muselet. So it’s unfortunate you resort to the personal attacks when you make a wrong assumption and seem to have difficulty comprehending what I wrote. See, that kind of exchange gets us nowhere.

      • mrbrink

        You ever been arrested? Handcuffed right there on the street and put into the back of a squad car? I imagine it’s pretty fucking terrifying for people unaccustomed to idiot authority.

        • Christopher Foxx

          Actually, yes. Have you? Because if not, you’re not really in as good a position as I to opine on what it’s like.

          And while it was scary in its way, I didn’t freak out and start screaming.

          • mrbrink

            You’re a regular Ronnie Dobbs.

            “Y’all are brutalizing me…”

            Here’s to your next parole hearing.

          • beulahmo

            God I love Ronnie Dobbs. And I miss Mr. Show so much.

          • mrbrink

            Ha! ‘You got the goods…’ That Fuzz The Musical sketch is probably my favorite. We used to have little Mr. Show watching nerd parties and some of the funniest people I’ve ever known along the way would be there and we’d all be laughing and riffing along and reciting bits for laughs later. Some of the hardest laughs in my life happened while watching Mr. Show with good friends.

        • beulahmo

          Yeah. These two idiots have completely missed the point of their presence around the UT campus. I live near the area, and sure enough, the streets are a mess — a tragedy looking for a place to happen — because of the heavy traffic and mix of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. And there are a lot of UT students running around, paying no attention to the vehicles around them. They’ve got earbuds stuck in their ears, or they’re texting while crossing the street, or they’re talking on the phone while staring at the ground while crossing in the middle of the road without looking to see if there’s a bus barreling toward them because they’re distracted by their totally important phone conversation. The officers’ job is to catch these doofuses and make them aware that their behavior is dangerous and — oh by the way — illegal too. But the main message is the danger — not the illegality. Their loss of control of the situation and resulting escalation of conflict was ridiculous. They looked stupid, inept, and thuggish. Acevedo only added to the ridiculousness of the situation.

          • Christopher Foxx

            …resulting escalation of conflict was ridiculous.

            Absolutely. Not sure where it went off the rails, though. Had she stopped when they called to her or provided the info they asked for I doubt it would have gone as it did. If the cops had handled the approach or conversation differently could that have been avoided? Possibly. But I just don’t see this as all being on the cops.

            They looked stupid, inept, and thuggish

            And she sounded oblivious, uncooperative and a bit spoiled.

            Acevedo only added to the ridiculousness of the situation.

            No argument there at all. He blew that.

          • beulahmo

            It’s all on the cops because they’re expected to be competent enough to assess a situation like this one while keeping their overall mission in mind. The jogger had earbuds in and didn’t hear the officer. If he was too stupid to figure this out, he needs to be removed from the assignment.

            “If the cops had handled the approach or conversation differently could that have been avoided?”
            Absolutely it could have and should have been avoided. It was completely unnecessary and ridiculous.

            Here’s how an eyewitness described the incident:

            Suddenly, one of the cops shouts at an innocent girl jogging with her headphones on through West Campus. He wobbled after her and grabbed her by the 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. She repeatedly pleaded with them saying that she was just exercising and to let her go. She repeatedly cried out, “I did not do anything wrong…just give me the ticket.” The other officer strolled over and now they were making a scene. She tried to get up. I doubt she was running away as she was in handcuffs, but the second cop pushed her back down to the ground.
            “…And she sounded oblivious, uncooperative and a bit spoiled…”
            Really? Well you’re entitled to your opinion. But her manner is irrelevant, imo. If I’m judging the competence and fitness of a peace officer and protector of public safety, my focus is on the officer’s ability to maintain control of a situation, which involves keeping a sense of proper proportion. An officer’s feelings about whether he or she is receiving an appropriate degree of respect isn’t relevant to the mission. That young woman is not responsible for taking the officers’ feelings of esteem into consideration. If he feels disrespected in situations like this, he needs to figure out a way to deal with it that doesn’t involve a disproportionate imposition of his authority, because his feelings might be causing needless escalations of situations when dealing with the public (like this one). Frankly, on a personal note, I’m surprised I’m having to explain this to you.

          • Christopher Foxx

            The jogger had earbuds in and didn’t hear the officer. If he was too stupid to figure this out, he needs to be removed from the assignment.

            So what would you have the officer do? The jogger was too self-adsorbed and oblivious (see, the pejorative adjectives can be used from both sides) to notice she’s being ordered to stop by a police officer he’s supposed to… what? Let her just go? No, he now has to touch her to get her attention.

            HOW he does that is important, of course. Whether he used an appropriate amount of force to stop her and get her attention or was overly aggressive would affect how things go. But the video doesn’t show that part, and Quintero’s written description is clearly biased and not fully reliable.

            Check the part you quoted from. He starts by proclaiming her innocent and describing the cop as “wobbling” after her. An cop catches up to an athletic young woman who is running away from him by “wobbling”? The description is suspect and Quintero’s biases are evident.

            He goes on to claim he knows what these people were thinking. In actuality he does not, for example, know whether she knew it was a cop who grabbed her or not. He does not know how the cop viewed her reaction.

            And his video, on which so many folks are basing their opinions, doesn’t show the initial encounter, doesn’t show her being handcuffed, doesn’t show how she got to sitting down on the sidewalk. And if he missed all of that part because he didn’t have his phone out yet (slowest phone draw I’ve ever heard of) he still chose not to show her being moved from the sidewalk to the car, another occasion in which we could see how she was handled. All of the most relevant parts are missing or, where she’s being put into the car, filmed form a distance and at an angle from which it’s hard to see how she’s being handled.

            All of this is not to say the cops were exemplary. They may well have handled the situation badly or not acted well enough to keep it from going wrong. But to claim that clearly the cops, and only the cops, were in the wrong is not supported by what we can see.

            You start by saying the cops are expected to be competent. Yes, indeed they are. And people, such as the jogger, are expected to respond to the police and follow any lawful instructions they give, such as asking for name, etc. And the reports I’m seeing say she did neither of those.

            But her manner is irrelevant, imo.

            Well, you’re wrong. How she conducts herself when stopped by the police is extremely relevant. Are you suggesting that if she had, for example, attempted to strike one of the officers that that wouldn’t matter? Because it would matter a great deal. It would mean that, however minor the thing she got got stopped for, she’s going to be arrested. Her manner during the incident is very relevant.

            Frankly, on a personal note, I’m surprised I’m having to explain this to you

            A personal note? Didn’t realize we know each other that well. Or that the rest of your comment wasn’t your personal view.

            As for your surprise, I’m never surprised when folks jump to a conclusion and then attack anyone who dares to question whether that’s really a valid one.

            To be clear, since you seem to be missing it: I’m not saying the cops did everything right. They may have screwed up big time. BUT that can’t be determined from what we’ve seen. And similar “well, clearly she’s the one at fault” and derogatory characterizations of her and her actions are equally possible.

            Police officers are filmed arresting someone who is making a fuss does not always equate to “cops are overly aggressive”.

          • beulahmo

            Sorry Christopher — I’m not going to spend any more time analyzing and debating the fine points of this with you.

            Here’s another personal view of mine: you like to argue for argument’s sake. I don’t. I’m not interested. We’re often in agreement on items posted here at the Banter. This time we’re not. I’ll just leave it at that.

          • Christopher Foxx

            I’m not going to spend any more time analyzing and debating the fine points of this with you.

            Wise of you.

            Here’s another personal view of mine: you like to argue for argument’s sake

            I won’t really deny that. I like to argue/discuss/debate, one might even say banter, the various topics that come up. It’s kinda what the site is for.