The arrest was recorded and shared on Facebook by Rolando Ramiro. He told the website Photography is Not a Crime that he and a group of friends were trying to cross a street that had been barricaded and closed to car traffic. As they crossed the street, an officer demanded ID, Ramiro said, and one of the friends refused. Then three of the five were tackled and punched by the police.
“We were just walking,” Jeremy Kingg, one of the men arrested, told news site ATTN:. “I wasn’t doing anything to be a threat and they started using extreme force.”
Kingg, Matthew Wallace, and Lourdes Glen were arrested and charged with walking against the light. Wallace was also charged with resisting arrest.
Kingg told ATTN: that he thinks race factored into the arrests because two of the five people crossing the street in the group, presumably lighter-skinned, were not detained. (You can hear them protesting, one from behind the camera, in the above video.)
Austin police were under fire for an aggressive jaywalking arrest less than two years ago when a young female jogger was cuffed and arrested in a “jaywalking sting” operation.
In addition to being a completely ineffective way to make anyone safer, jaywalking enforcement is clearly a path to harassment and the dangerous escalation of situations that would otherwise harm no one. For Jeremy Kingg, walking in Austin won’t be the same again:
be careful crossing the street in austin because if you accidentally go at the wrong time they will make a big deal… just a heads up
— kinGGy (@JeremyKingg) November 6, 2015