APD investigating downtown arrest caught on camera

Shocking cell phone video captured an APD officer throwing someone on the ground.

The video was posted to YouTube over the weekend and now the department is investigating brutality allegations.

Sometimes a situation gets out of hand and an officer is forced to take action.

That's what happened over the weekend.

Now the question is, was it appropriate?

Just about every weekend, you can find 6th street like this.

Packed with thousands of people.

For APD officers it can be hard to handle.

"Downtown walking beat officer is one of the toughest jobs at APD. You're dealing constantly with people that are mentally ill, intoxicated, or high on drugs," says Ken Casady, Austin Police Association, president.

Cell phone video by the Peaceful Streets Project shows an arrest over the weekend that has become controversial.

You can see four Austin Police officers mounted on horses patrolling downtown.

The Austin Police Association says one guy raises his hand up as if he is going to strike the horse.

That's when he is taken to the ground.

He was arrested for public intoxication.

"After you give a couple of warnings and the person is a danger to themselves or others, nine times out of ten, they're going to be going to jail for public intoxication," says Casady.

Those involved with the Peaceful Streets Project view this recent arrest differently.

"Then all of a sudden, the police officer just throws him to the ground. Again, if anybody else did that, it would be felony assault.

Antonio Buehler says they record incidents like this in hopes of holding police accountable and protecting citizens' rights.

"It would be nice if the Austin Police Department concerned themselves more with de-escalation as opposed to escalation of a situation. So in that situation, I think that an honorable police officer might go ahead and step inbetween the individual and the horse, they might gently maneuver the person away from the horse," says Antonio Buehler, Peaceful Streets Project.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened.

Video from Super Bowl Sunday shows a guy bleeding on the ground after taken down by officers.

He was kicked out of POP nightclub for being intoxicated and reportedly swinging at people.

Many residents think officers are taking things too far, but the Austin Police Association wants you to keep this in mind.

"If you're going to come down and criticize officers downtown, the one thing I'd ask is that you try to walk in their shoes for a while. Maybe come down and see what goes on and I think you would be very surprised of what you see going on at 6th street on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. It's not pretty," says Casady.

Here are recent downtown crime statistics from the Austin Police Department website.

Within the last month, there have been:

  • 69 theft arrests
  • 49 public intoxication arrests
  • 31 assault with injury arrests
  • 5 assaults on a public servant

The Austin Police Department says they are aware of the video and will review the incident to determine if the response was appropriate and within APD policy.

They are also looking at whether one officer properly identified himself when asked.