The Perfect # 22: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo

jogger-arrestedI’ll grant you that Ted Nugent’s asinine efforts to minimize the unethical nature  of his uncivil words about President Obama by tweeting his views on 44 “more offensive” forms of conduct were a pretty good example of my least favorite rationalization in action. That rationalization is #22, the Comparative Virtue Excuse, or “There are worse things.” (There are always worse things, of course.) Never mind: Ted is playing in the minor leagues. Art Acevedo, Austin’s excuse-master  police chief, really knows how to swing a #22.

A bystander took a video of Austin police detaining and ultimately arresting jogger Amanda Jo Stephen after she crossed an intersection at a red light and failed to obey orders from an officer after he saw her jaywalking, because she was wearing headphones and couldn’t hear him. My view: the police over-reacted and used excessive force (she pulled her arm away when the officer stopped her, and he treated is as resisting arrest), but wearing head phones that make it impossible for you to hear what is around you is 1) dangerous, 2) stupid and 3) obnoxious. It’s her duty to be aware of her surroundings, and this is a good example why. I think the video, and the reaction to it, is one more example of how the police are blamed for doing their jobs. She jaywalks and can’t hear the police, gets arrested as a direct result of being irresponsible, and she’s suddenly a victim. (Most accounts call her “an innocent jogger.”)  Stephen starts screaming and protesting that she “did nothing wrong.” Yes, in fact she did several things wrong—wearing the headphones is wrong, jaywalking is illegal, jaywalking when you can’t hear a car horn is an especially dangerous form of jaywalking, and screaming like you’re being eaten alive when you are just being arrested by the police is unfair to the police and silly to boot.

The video went viral, and suddenly the Austin chief found himself in front of reporters answering questions about a controversy that he obviously thought was a waste of his time. Thus he said this:

“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. 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.”

A classic. “At least we didn’t rape her” as a means of putting an over-zealous jaywalking encounter into perspective—wow. And, as a bonus, Acevedo managed to gratuitously insult his fellow police officers all over America.

The chief apologized later.

Too late.


Facts and Graphic: The Blaze

10 thoughts on “The Perfect # 22: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo

  1. I’m surprised Chief Acevedo didn’t say, “Thank you lord that it’s a controversy in Austin, Texas that we actually have the audacity to do something besides throw a teenager like Justin Carter in jail for his Facebook posts.”

    Is ANYONE surprised anymore by APD misconduct?

    • Or any misconduct.
      Not being surprised by terrible things is becoming my default position. Not surprised, but still horrified. My face is frozen in the disgust expression.

  2. You may as well scream and make it look as good as you can- you know darn well that police SOP is to start yelling “stop resisting” as soon as they lay a hand on you to justify whatever steps they decide they need to take while larding another charge onto you to boot.

    • Sounds like that incompetent fool outside of Houston who took a pistol and a video camera to his loud neigh it’s party, instigated them to anger, then when they walked towards him to argue against his aggressive behavior he started screaming “I’m in fear for my life, I’m in fear for my life” then blasted one of them, as though the concealed handgun law and self defense laws were written to cover for his behavior. What a fool.

      The only thing he left out to really show how much of a mentally deranged toolbox he was is he didn’t scream “I reasonably believe deadly force is necessary to prevent unlawful deadly force against me! I reasonably believe deadly force is necessary to prevent unlawful deadly force against me!”


      • Hadn’t heard that one, but yeah, sounds like a real idiot. It’s bad enough when random fools on the street do that kind of nonsense though- at least there’s a good chance that the legal system teaches him how wrong he is. It terrifies me when the people who are supposed to enforce the rules are the ones yelling out whatever their justification is (stop resisting! I see a weapon! whatever…) before beating, tasing, or shooting- I’m far too cynical to trust the system to punish its own members adequately.

  3. Possibly tangential thought I had when seeing this:

    If a cop cannot catch up to a jogger and get in front of her to get her attention (as opposed to grabbing her arm from behind)… I’m not sure how good he’s going to be at chasing bad guys.

  4. As a former cop, I understand what the chief was trying to say, as most cops would have. But you have to stop and think when you’re the big cheese of a major P.D. that’s had some procedural issues of its own before. As to that crying coed sitting the sidewalk, I’ve seen that sort of stuff before. It’s the “Little Joanie Phoney” tactic from the 1960s. When you’re an elitist “scholar” who thinks that you’re owed a free passage for whatever you want to do- and some low browed Neanderthal of a fuzz so much as taps you on the shoulder- you plop yourself down and loudly sound off about police brutality while crying for the camera. It’s not just the girls who do this, either! Why did we ever get rid of the pillory and the dunking stool? This was made to order for taking these young “affluenazis” down a few pegs.

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