APD receives backlash for handling of 6th street arrest
The Austin Police Department is getting some backlash for a controversial arrest on 6th street over the weekend.
Those who were there say there was no need for excessive force.
Video from 6th Street has gone viral, bringing a lot of negative attention to the Austin Police Department.
William Tucker hit record when he saw an arrest over the weekend.
"I'm from Baltimore, Maryland. So we just had the whole issue with Ferguson and the Baltimore riots and it's a very important topic to talk about. I think the discussion needs to be made both for the protection of police officers and the protection of those who were there filming," says William Tucker, witness.
Early Sunday, an arrest was being made on 6th Street.
One that not everyone thought was handled correctly.
As you can imagine, 6th street is packed on the weekend.
So several dozen people were able to watch the incident unfold in the middle of the street, many of them with cell phones in hand.
That's when things escalated.
You see a female mounted officer take a phone away from a man and then throw it back.
At the same time, another APD officer pepper sprays him.
"I don't know if she perceived that as a weapon because you can tell she just grabbed at it real fast. i don't know what she was thinking but i'm sure there was a reason for why she did what she did. People come up and hit the horses, we've had problems with that or come up and hit the officers in the back," says, Ken Casady, Austin Police Association.
The Austin Police Association says people should listen to mounted officers when they say to get back.
They are trying to protect the citizens.
"It's gotten so bad right now, especially in that area, that officers don't want to go down there and work anymore. It used to be a choice position, walking beat downtown, and the department is in the process of forcing officers from around the city to go downtown and work," says Casady.
Jim Harrington with the Texas Civil Rights Project says what happened wasn't necessary.
"What it does is raise the question about the quality of training. Certainly it's going to be a stressful situation on 6th street, it's always that way, but you've got to have officers who can keep their cool and deal with this situation," says Jim Harrington, Texas Civil Rights Project.
With so many onlookers, you can see people getting pushed out of the way.
Like one man who was bumped by a horse and then falls to the ground.
He spoke with FOX 7 but wanted to keep his identity hidden.
"I've been pushed before, I've been tackled before but it was something that just completely took me off my feet. I just fell at mercy. I had no control over the fall, that's how hard it was."
He doesn't think 6th street is the right place for a horse riding through a crowd, or the excessive force he claims he saw that night.
"I know some people think it's a matter of race or whatever, but I do truly believe that with the Austin Police Department there is an attitude, there is an indifference."
APD says they are aware of the incident and are conducting a review to determine if the officer's conduct was within policy.