Man arrested in Sixth Street jaywalking incident to dispute charge

One of the men whom officers forcefully arrested on Sixth Street on Friday — an arrest that made the rounds on social media over the weekend after it was caught on video — said he plans to dispute the charge against him of resisting arrest.

Details of the incident involving Matthew Wallace, 23, appear in an arrest affidavit that Austin police filed Monday. The affidavit says police decided to arrest Wallace because he entered the crosswalk against a solid red hand signal.

The affidavit is accurate, Wallace told the American-Statesman on Monday. However, “I think the video evidence explains it much better than the affidavit does.”

Austin police declined to comment on the arrest other than to say the department will review the arrest.

Nearly a dozen officers responded to the arrest of two men and a woman. One of the officers appears to hold one of the men in a chokehold.

The affidavit outlines the reasoning the arresting officer, identified as R.R. Muñoz, used for arresting Wallace.

Muñoz approached Wallace and asked him to come toward him but Wallace refused, Muñoz wrote.

Wallace said he and his friend were crossing with a group of about eight people, and it wasn’t clear who the officers were talking to. At one point, his friend — whom police also arrested — leaned over to him and told him not to worry about the officers who were trying to get their attention, Wallace said.

“Maybe the defiance was what set them off,” he said. “That we weren’t going to go over there and talk to them. I think it’s one of those offenses that people don’t even take seriously.”

Muñoz wrote in the affidavit that he tried to handcuff Wallace for using a crosswalk when he wasn’t supposed to, “and when I grabbed his wrist, he immediately pulled both his arms and body away from me.”

The majority of the affidavit details how the officer had trouble keeping a steady grip on Wallace.

“Because Wallace was not complying with commands to give me his hands and was actively jerking his body to break my grip, I had to adjust my stance and grip so I could force him to the ground, where I could better maintain control of him,” Muñoz wrote.

Wallace was caught off guard by the officer’s aggressiveness, but saying he was “resisting” is inaccurate, he said.

“My hands are clearly above my head, and I’m submissive from the very get-go,” Wallace said. “As it’s happening, I can hear myself on the video saying, ‘I’m already down.’ I don’t think I needed to be put down. I was already against the wall, and that’s when another officer started assaulting me.”

Wallace doesn’t dispute that he broke the law when he crossed against the light.

“It was worthy of a ticket,” Wallace said. “I think the night should’ve been no more than us being put up against the wall, and me being bummed out that I got a ticket downtown on Sixth Street. … We should’ve walked away with no more than a ticket, maybe some sass from cops. Not sore and in jail.”

Court documents about the others’ arrests were not available Monday.

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