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Police officers in Austin, Texas, grab bystander’s phone, pepper-spray him on video

Police say they're investigating whether the officer acted inappropriately.


Dell Cameron


Posted on Jun 8, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 3:38 pm CDT

Police in Austin, Texas, say they are investigating a video taken early Sunday morning that appears to show an officer grab a bystander’s phone while another pepper-sprays the man.

The video, which had been viewed more than 200,000 times by Monday afternoon, was captured by Jericho Tucker, a YouTube star in town for the X Games. He told the Statesman in an interview that he was walking along 6th St. at approximately 2am CT, when he witnessed police officers tackle someone. He began the video 15 to 20 seconds later.

Police officers on horseback are seen bumping into a pedestrian crowd gathered around the arrest while another officer on foot points a can of what appears to be pepper-spray at them. A female officer on horseback reaches down and snatches a phone out of someone’s hand. Seconds later, the owner of the phone is sprayed by one of the officers. The female officer then throws the man’s phone to the ground.

Tucker wrote on YouTube that the individual being arrested looked “a bit young to be drinking” and asked users to make their own judgements. “The dude who was detained probably was in the wrong, but the response was absurd,” he said.

In a statement, the Austin Police Department said it is “aware of this incident and is conducting a review to determine if the officers’ conduct is compliant with our policy.”

“In light of recent events both in Baltimore and Ferguson and around the world in general, I feel like these kinds of events are becoming more and more publicized because more and more people are willing to have their cameras out and record the actions in case something does happen,” Tucker told KVUE. 

Photo by Mike/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jun 8, 2015, 6:20 pm CDT