Police in Austin, Texas are fielding a growing number of calls for information about the use of a taser during the arrest of a University of Texas associate professor earlier this week. Some say 35-year-old Nedialko Dimitrov was just dancing at a bus stop, but the cops say he acted unstable and they could not risk allowing him to get on the city bus.
According to local news station KXAN, the incident occurred on Tuesday and a passerby captured a nearly 10 minute video of some of the incident. That passerby, Victoria Watson, told the news station that she believed the man appeared to have some sort of mental imbalance that was causing him to act “unstable.”
“From my perspective the young man had behavioral issues. He had some sort of imbalance,” Watson said in an interview after the incident.
Police are saying they initially responded to the scene after receiving calls of a man yelling and making odd gestures at people and vehicles passing by.
Watson started filming after cops arrived and she says it is her belief the cops escalated the situation and eventually used a taser on him to bring him to the ground and put him in handcuffs.
Just prior to the actual arrest, Watson says Dimitrov appeared to be trying to board a bus and cops evidently wanted to stop him from doing so.
“I think that the officer was wrong by prohibiting him from getting on the bus,” Watson said in an interview.
After Dimitrov was in cuffs, unidentified witnesses can be heard on the video yelling at the police for unnecessarily arresting the man, who they say was no threat.
The video has started to spread on social media and other police watchdog websites where claims are being made that a man was arrested for “dancing” at a bus stop. However, there does appear to be a little more to the story, at least according to the cops.
A former law enforcement officer in the Austin area for 25-years, Jerry Staton, gave his opinion of the situation to a KXAN reporter after reviewing the video. According to Staton, Dimitrov’s actions could be perceived as hostile, especially at the point in the video where he approached the cop car.
Stanton further explained, “When you encounter someone, you don’t know who that person is, you do know that the number of officers being assaulted and killed and attacked and even ambushed has risen dramatically, so you know cops out there he has a tough job.”
Dimitrov was ultimately arrested on charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest and evading detention. He was then booked in the Travis County Jail after refusing treatment at a local hospital.
LawNewz reached out to the Austin Police Department for comment and we will update this story when we receive a response. However, a department spokesperson did tell other local outlets that they are aware of the video and, “As is standard protocol, the chain of command will review the report and all videos to determine if any policy violations occurred.”
[image via Austin Police]