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Civil rights activists speak out after viral video of APD arrest


Supporters of a man arrested in a viral video are sharing his side of the story.

AUSTIN – The video has been viewed nearly 4 million times: Austin police beating and arresting a man after they say he bought drugs, jaywalked in front of traffic and resisted arrest.

Friday evening, ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the man in the center of that video as well as his family and supporters held a press conference to give their side of the story.

Jason Donald, 37, was arrested on Dec. 12 charged with manufacture or deliver of a controlled substance and resisting arrest. 

Police found a wad of cash, K2 and cocaine in his pockets, according to the arrest affidavit. 

The arrest was caught on a cell phone, but the video cuts away during what is now the most questionable part of the arrest.

Police said as they walked Donald out of the store in handcuffs, he started leaning backward, refusing to walk, freeing his left hand from the cuffs and trying to break away, causing the officers holding onto him to fall.

Donald’s arrest affidavit also states he repeatedly reached toward his waistband and police feared he was reaching for a weapon, so they tased him.

But now Donald’s family and civil rights activists claim police aren’t telling the truth.

“That day there was no resistance put up by Jason at all,” said a family member.

“The questions I hear about what he did or didn’t possess are completely irrelevant. We saw on tape Jason was beaten and brutalized without mercy. Tell me, what is the justification for that,” asked Njera Keith, founder of Black Sovereign Nation.

Donald has a history with police. He was charged and served time in 2015 for evading & resisting arrest and has been arrested for drugs, assault and failure to identify over the past two decades.

But his supporters say he didn’t deserve to be beaten and tased. 

“The people who did this to Jason are supposed to be people who uphold and maintain public safety. Did Jason look safe? On the video that we all saw? Are any of us safe walking around at the mercy of people who do what they did to Jason,” asked Keith.

Chief Manley said the second video backs up his officer’s statements but the department told KVUE that video cannot be released due to pending legal action.

© 2018 KVUE-TV

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