Brutal Jaywalking Arrest in Austin Caught on Video

Austin police were captured on video beating a group of “jaywalkers” into submission late last Wednesday in an incident that reeks of racial profiling.

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:

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Right to Peaceful Assembly vs. the “Right” to Convenient Motoring

|
Demonstrations against police brutality spilled onto streets and highways in American cities this weekend, with protesters stopping traffic in Baton Rouge, Memphis, St. Paul, Los Angeles, and Oakland. NPR reports 102 people were arrested in St. Paul and another 120 in Baton Rouge, including prominent Black Lives Matter organizer DeRay Mckesson, who was arrested while walking along […]

Tacoma Vows to Prosecute Rogue Crosswalk Painters

|
  A group calling themselves “Citizens for a Safer Tacoma” has painted five crosswalks around the city, in hopes of pressing officials to take pedestrian safety more seriously. The city of Tacoma, meanwhile, has reacted defensively, threatening to prosecute the group, according to King 5 News. Kurtis Kingsolver, interim public works director, complained to the television […]
One of Sacramento's poorest neighborhoods doesn't have enough crosswalks. It also has a high rate of jaywalking arrests. Image: KXTV

What Will It Take for Sacramento to Make Walking Safer in Poor Neighborhoods?

|
Police and city planners in Sacramento have come under scrutiny in the weeks since police were caught on tape assaulting Nandi Cain, Jr., a black man, during a jaywalking stop. Cain, who was legally using an unmarked crosswalk, has since filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city. Now, reporters are looking into why there are so few marked crosswalks in one of Sacramento's poorest areas.