AUSTIN (KXAN) — A video showing a student being arrested after police caught her jaywalking west of the University of Texas campus is stirring up a lot controversy.
Police say they are cracking down on jaywalkers because of how bad the problem has become across the city, especially near campus.
Amanda Jo Stephen was one of seven people ticketed for jaywalking Thursday. Police say she was arrested because she didn’t identify herself when asked.
“I heard, ‘hey stop’, then turned around,” said UT student Chris Quintero, who recorded the arrest. “The cop chased after the girl and grabbed her arm and the next thing you know she’s in handcuffs.”
Stephen, 25, was jogging when police say they tried to stop her and she kept going.
“At some point she knows it’s a cop,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. “The cop asked her a lawful question. She is lawfully required to answer and she didn’t. That’s why she went to jail.”
“If you don’t have identification, you can do so verbally,” Acevedo added in a post on Facebook. “If the officer can reasonably confirm your identity, you normally are released with a written promise to appear (ticket). In instances where an individual refuses to identify themselves, they are arrested for failure to do so.”
Police said they will continue giving tickets to people for crossing the crosswalk when it’s not their turn. Even if there isn’t traffic, police says it’s breaking the law.
“As a student and a mother, I feel like there are a lot of other issues in West Campus the police could be dealing with as opposed to jaywalking,” said senior Allie Westbrook.
The initiative to crack down on jaywalking will last several more weeks, police said.
In the last five years, 1,800 people were hurt and 96 people were killed in crashes involving vehicles and people walking, police said. On Sunday, a man died from his injuries after being struck by a car three days earlier in East Austin.