Austin, Texas Police Chief Art Acevedo was asked to defend the actions of his officers, who subdued and arrested a jogging woman because she was wearing earbuds and couldn’t hear their instructions. His response to the controversy was this: It could be worse–at least she wasn’t sexually assaulted.
That response upset many Texas residents, and Acevedo was forced to walk back his comments on Monday.
Austin police arrested the jogging woman last week. They were stationed at an intersection near the University of Texas’s Austin campus, giving jaywalking tickets to dozens of people. The woman ran right past them, unable to hear because of her earbuds. Cops pursued and restrained the confused woman, eventually placing her in a squad car and charging her failure to carry identification and violating a traffic signal. (RELATED: Cops arrest jogging woman because she couldn’t hear them)
The incident was recorded by an innocent bystander, who turned the footage over to local news. That bystander, Chris Quintero, said the police behaved badly. Many Texans agreed.
But when asked to comment on the situation, Acevedo said that his officers hadn’t behaved nearly as badly as officers around the country who are routinely caught committing sexual assault.
“Cops are actually committing sexual assaults on duty so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas,” he said according to CNN.
He also praised the “mediocrity” of the Austin police department.
“And I’m glad that I’m here having to address mediocrity,” he said.
It was a comparison that Acevedo soon regretted, and on Monday, he apologized and said his choice of words had been poor.
“During the press conference I attempted to place the arrest into context by bringing attention to the fact that law enforcement deals with many acts of serious misconduct,” he said. “This includes recent instances in the news of sexual assault by police officers in other cities. In hindsight I believe the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize.”
While the comparison may not have been an apt or flattering one for Austin police, it is nevertheless true. (RELATED: STOP THE MADNESS: Third person reports being anally violated by police)