Antonio Buehler

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Antonio Buehler
Antonio Buehler Filming With Iphone.jpg
Antonio Buehler
Born (1977-06-11) June 11, 1977 (age 37)
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Residence Austin, Texas
Alma mater United States Military Academy at West Point
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Known for Buehler Education
Peaceful Streets Project
Website
http://peacefulstreets.com/

Antonio Buehler is an American educator, entrepreneur, and activist known for his work on police accountability and his defense of the constitutional right to photograph, film and document the police. In 2012, Buehler was arrested in Austin, Texas, for recording the police after he allegedly witnessed a woman being abused by officers. After the arrest, Buehler co-founded the Peaceful Streets Project, an organization that trains the public to record police activity.[1]

Early life, education, and experience[edit]

Antonio Buehler was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1977. He attended Pottsville Area High School in Pottsville, Pennsylvania where he was an All-Anthracite football player.[2] Antonio graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and later from the Stanford Graduate School of Business[3] and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.[4] Buehler also served in the Iraq War. [5]

Alternative Education[edit]

Buehler has given numerous talks on college admissions, alternative education, homeschooling and other education topics at schools, libraries, and conferences across the country.

In 2014, Buehler launched Abrome,[6] an online education company. Abrome provides high-end education consulting to families who want their children to gain admission into the highly selective universities. Abrome claims to have gotten over 50% of their clients into Harvard and/or Stanford.[7]

Buehler sits on the Educational Choices Advisory Council[3] for the Our America Initiative that is associated with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Buehler is also a member of Startup Learning,[8] a private consultancy for alternative education.

New Year's Day 2012 incident[edit]

In the early hours of New Year’s Day 2012, Buehler, the designated driver that night, pulled into a 7-11 in Austin, TX for gas.[9] While fueling up, he and his passenger observed a DWI stop in progress, with a woman in high heels, the driver of the automobile, being subjected to a field sobriety test being conducted by an Austin police officer; according to Buehler, they then heard a female screaming and turned in time to see officer Robert Snider forcefully pulling another female from the passenger side of the vehicle,throwing her to the ground and pinning her arms behind her back in a painfully abusive manner.[10] Buehler yelled out to the police, asking them why they were assaulting her.[11] After twisting her arms behind her back, the officers arrested her. Then officer Patrick Oborski approached Buehler, pushed him forcefully several times in the chest, and arrested him.[12][13] Oborski later claimed Buehler spat on him,[14] a felony charge that carries up to a 10-year prison sentence.[14][15] However, witness video evidence does not show Buehler spitting, Oborski did not wipe his face, and APD spokesman Corporal Hipolito admitted to KEYE news that he could not see Buehler spitting on the officer.[16][17]

“I don’t feel vindicated, nor do I think I ‘won.’ The cops who committed crimes that night were never tried, arrested, fired, disciplined, or even reprimanded. Instead, Norma and I were charged with a total of six crimes we did not commit, and it took nearly three years to make them disappear. And I still have three more trials coming up for the ‘crime’ of filming the police. The city had eight prosecutors in the courtroom trying this case, and about a dozen police officers were in there to intimidate the jury. When cops and prosecutors are willing to expend such tremendous resources to prosecute a Class C Misdemeanor for political purposes, all Americans should fear their government.”

—Antonio Buehler, following his acquittal on October 29, 2014, "after four days of proceedings and more than five hours of jury deliberation" [18]

After an online appeal by Buehler to find witnesses to the event, several witnesses came forward[19] and a videorecording[20] of the incident surfaced.[21] APD has yet to release the dashcam videos from Oborski or Snider's vehicles to the public. Nearly 8,200 people have joined the Free Antonio Buehler[22] Facebook page, with supporters flyering the city and organizing rallies in support of Buehler, and posting daily stories of American and international police abuse.[23][24]

Despite a half dozen witnesses, two videos and audio evidence of what happened on New Year's Day, the District Attorney did not convene a grand jury in 2012. His grand jury date was then postponed numerous times.[25] The grand jury finally convened on March 5, 6 and 7, 2013. Four weeks later, the District Attorney finally informed the public that the grand jury failed to indict Antonio Buehler on any of the crimes with which he was charged.[26][27][28]

They instead indicted him on four Class C misdemeanors. Three for "failure to obey a lawful order" related to his New Year's Day incident, and two follow on arrests. The fourth indictment was for "interfering" in an incident in which he was never arrested. The grand jury also indicted Norma Pizana for resisting arrest. Pizana is the woman that Buehler felt was being abused on New Year's Day 2012.[29]

October 29, 2014, after an unprecedented four-day Class C Misdemeanor trial that spanned a full calendar week, Buehler was acquitted of charges and found not guilty of failing to comply with the order of a police officer on New Year’s Day 2012."[30][31][32] The trial was unique not only in its duration, but also in the resources invested into it by the state; the state had eight prosecutors in the courtroom and over a dozen police officers.[33][34][35][36][37]

Civil rights lawsuit[edit]

On December 31, 2013, Buehler, while awaiting trial, sued the Austin Police Department, Police Chief Art Acevedo, Officer Patrick Oborski, Officer Robert Snider, SGT Adam Johnson and Officer Justin Berry for allegedly violating his civil rights beginning with his January 1, 2012 arrest and two additional arrests which occurred on August 26 and September 21, 2012.[38][39][40][41]

“We’re in this for the long haul. And we’re hopeful that it will eventually set a precedent that will prevent people from losing their right to hold the government and police accountable just because the prosecution convinces the grand jury to indict the individual on a bogus misdemeanor that the prosecution can’t even win.”

—-Antonio Buehler, after announcing plans to appeal the dismissal of his civil lawsuit [42]

On June 2, 2014 the National Press Photographers Association filed an Amicus Brief[43] in support of Buehler's civil lawsuit.[44]

On July 24, 2014, Federal Judge Mark Lane denied motions by the City of Austin to dismiss the case, finding that private citizens have the right to record officers in public places as they perform their official duties.[45][46] Lane also said the officers were not personally immune from allegations that they had arrested and searched him without probable cause.[47][48]

On February 20, Judge Mark Lane dismissed the lawsuit based on a Fifth Circuit precedent which stated that an indicted defendant lost their standing to sue.[49] In response to the dismissal, Mr. Buehler stated, “We have waited three years for justice, and we are willing to wait even longer to expose APD for the crime they have covered up.” He also noted that the Fifth Circuit precedent provided an incentive for prosecutors to protect corrupt and criminal law enforcement officers through the simple expedient of indicting an otherwise innocent defendant.[50] Buehler and his attorney appealed the decision on February 25, 2015.[51]

Peaceful Streets Project[edit]

In the months following the incident, a group of activists from a range of backgrounds joined Buehler to start the Peaceful Streets Project, an all-volunteer, nonpartisan, grassroots effort for police accountability.[52][53][54] The group holds free community trainings on knowing your rights during police encounters, and held a day-long Police Accountability Summit in Austin, TX on July 14, 2012 where they handed out 100 handheld videocameras to trained activists who now actively film police encounters with residents of Austin.[55][56][57][58][59] The Peaceful Streets Project has also stepped up efforts to work with and ally with other community organizations, and have participated in protests in solidarity with victims of police abuse nationally.[60][61] The Peaceful Streets Project has a strong social media presence with over 2,200 followers on Twitter[62] and 11,000 likes on Facebook.[63]

Buehler's efforts to expose what he considers to be police violence and the inherent corruption of the justice system[64][65] have resulted in numerous bloggers taking up his cause.[66][67][68][69] In addition, numerous cities around the country have reached out to Buehler and the Peaceful Streets Project looking to set up local franchises. Peaceful Streets Project chapters now exist in nearly a dozen cities to include Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York City, Manchester, Honolulu, San Antonio and Eunice, LA.

Buehler has continued to wage a public fight against his criminal charges. He has claimed that the city and the Austin Police Department are intentionally engaged in a cover-up and that corruption runs throughout the city government and the police department.[64]

On June 24, 2013, Fox 7 ran a piece on Antonio Buehler wherein the President of the Austin Police Association alluded to possible violence in the future should Buehler continue to escalate his cop watching tactics.[70] The Peaceful Streets Project responded by organizing several more public cop watch events, Know Your Rights Trainings and a national police accountability summit in Austin on August 17, 2013.[71]

On April 12, 2014, Buehler spoke about the Peaceful Streets Project and police abuse at a TEDx event at Harvard.[72]

Subsequent arrests and charges[edit]

August 24, 2012[edit]

In the early morning hours of August 24, 2012, while cop watching with members of the Peaceful Streets Project in downtown Austin, Buehler recorded an undercover officer, Justin Berry, helping uniformed police officers arrest women for underage drinking. Although Buehler wasn't arrested for filming Berry, he was later indicted on a Class C Misdemeanor charge of "interference with public duties." Buehler was scheduled to stand trial on January 6, 2015. On January 2, 2015, the City of Austin requested the trial judge dismiss all charges against Buehler.[73]

August 26, 2012[edit]

In the early morning hours of August 26, 2012, while cop watching with members of the Peaceful Streets Project in downtown Austin, Buehler was arrested by Officer Justin Berry for "interfering with public duties" while recording an arrest.[74][75] He was released about 17 hours later. Austin Police Department claims that he refused to back away from an arrest, causing the suspect of the arrest to become uncontrollable. Buehler claims that APD was targeting him.[76] APD refused to return Buehler's camera to him after the incident, claiming that it was of evidentiary value. However, another member of the Peaceful Streets Project was able to videorecord the arrest and posted it online before Buehler was released from jail.[77] Buehler was scheduled to stand trial on February 23, 2015. However, on February 19, 2015, the City of Austin requested the trial judge dismiss all remaining charges against Buehler.[78]

September 12, 2012[edit]

In the early morning hours of September 21, 2012, while "cop watching" with members of the Peaceful Streets Project in downtown Austin, Buehler was again arrested, this time with fellow police accountability activist Sarah Dickerson[79] Video indicates that both Buehler and Dickerson were silently filming and were further back than APD's self-described desired distance from a scene. According to Buehler and other witnesses, after refusing an order to walk toward the arresting officer and the suspect in order to join other members of the Peaceful Street Project, and despite continually asking how far he needed to move back, and continuing to move back away from the scene, Buehler was given an ultimatum to either join other members of the Peaceful Streets Project, or leave. When Buehler said he was leaving, he was arrested. As Dickerson filmed Buehler's arrest, she too was arrested. Both were charged with "interfering with public duties."[80][81][82][83] Austin Police Department confiscated both Buehler and Dickerson's cameras and have not yet returned them. This most recent arrest has drawn the ire of the National Press Photographers Association which sent a letter to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo criticizing the actions of APD toward those who film police.[84]

March 13, 2013[edit]

On March 13, 2013, Buehler was arrested for Disorderly Conduct in Gonzales, Texas, for telling a police officer to "go fuck yourself."[85] On June 5, 2013, Buehler defended himself pro se. After a seven hour trial, the jury found him guilty and assessed a $1 fine.[86] Buehler was awarded a trial de novo which will begin on February 23, 2015 at Gonzales County Court. A mistrial was declared on February 23, 2015 due to an error on the judge's part, which was "caught" by defense counsel. A new appeal trial was scheduled for March 30, 2015. In a statement, Buehler stated, " “It has become clear to me that in order for people to see justice within the system, they need to have tremendous resources in terms of connections, finances, and time.” [87]

“I think this would have been a great opportunity for people to once again see how the Austin Police Department and city prosecutors use city ordinances to victimize people who have already been victimized by the police. It also would have opened people’s eyes to how corrupt the grand jury process can be.”

—Antonio Buehler, following the first dismissal on January 5, 2015 [88]

All remaining Austin, TX charges dropped[edit]

Between court cases scheduled for January and February 2015, all of the remaining criminal charges against Mr. Buehler were dropped. On January 5, 2015, the state's motion to drop one set of charges was accepted.[89] The final set of charges pending against Buehler were similarly dropped on February 19, 2015, "clearing the way for a meeting between city prosecutors and the police accountability activist in federal court" on March 2, 2015.[90] On February 20, one day after the last of the charges were dropped, "Judge Mark Lane dismissed Buehler’s federal civil lawsuit against the Austin Police Department and its officers." [91][92]

Accolades[edit]

In July 2012, Buehler was chosen to receive the Texans for Accountable Government annual Activist of the Year award.[93] In November 2012, Austin Chronicle readers voted Antonio Buehler as Austin's Best Activist and the Peaceful Streets Project as the Best Grassroots Movement for 2012.[94][95]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Police And The Right To Photograph. News Photographer. 69 (6): 8. July/August 2014. ISSN 0199-2422
  2. ^ Dietz, Doyle (January 1, 1995). Berwick dominates big-school team. Reading Eagle, p. D11.
  3. ^ a b https://www.ouramericainitiative.com/educational-choices.html
  4. ^ Speakers and Performers | TEDxHGSE
  5. ^ Is Filming a Police Officer a "Domestic Threat"? Austin Activist on Trial for Videotaping an Arrest
  6. ^ Abrome
  7. ^ http://abrome.com/proven-results/
  8. ^ http://startuplearning.me/our-team/
  9. ^ West Point Grad Arrested For Defending Woman Abused By Austin Police - YouTube
  10. ^ War Veteran Accuses APD Officers of Assault on DWI Suspect: Austinist
  11. ^ APD officers accused of abuse during New Year's arrest | kvue.com Austin
  12. ^ War veteran Antonio Buehler continues fight with Austin Police
  13. ^ Buehler in court fighting New Year's Day charges | kvue.com Austin
  14. ^ a b Buehler hires high-profile attorney to fight New Year's Day charges | kvue.com Austin
  15. ^ Austin Man Facing 10 Years in Prison After Photographing Cops Making Arrest | Pixiq
  16. ^ Austin Police Spokesman Says No Video Evidence Of Antonio Buehler Spitting On Officer Pat Oborski - YouTube
  17. ^ No Spit! No Wipe! Officer Patrick Oborski Lies About Antonio Buehler Spitting In His Face! - YouTube
  18. ^ Is Filming a Police Officer a "Domestic Threat"? Austin Activist on Trial for Videotaping an Arrest, DemocracyNow, October 29, 2014
  19. ^ http://www.kens5.com/news/More-witnesses-come-forward-following-New-Years-Day-arrest-137218253.html
  20. ^ Austin Police Department Incident - YouTube
  21. ^ More witnesses come forward following New Year's Day arrest | kvue.com Austin
  22. ^ "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  23. ^ Army Ranger Antonio Buehler and supporters protest at APD Headquarters
  24. ^ "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  25. ^ Antonio Buehler scheduled for court | kvue.com Austin
  26. ^ District Attorney: No felony indictment for Antonio Buehler - YNN - Your News Now
  27. ^ Antonio Buehler charged for incidents with APD
  28. ^ No felony indictments for activist Buehler, arresting officer | www.statesman.com
  29. ^ https://www.co.travis.tx.us/district_attorney/pdf/pr/2013/OborskiBuehlerGJ.pdf
  30. ^ Buehler acquitted of failing to comply with officer’s order |Austin American-Statesman
  31. ^ http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2014-10-31/buehler-acquitted/
  32. ^ http://njtoday.net/2014/10/29/fight-justice-waged-peacefully-americans-streets/
  33. ^ http://austin.twcnews.com/content/news/305809/antonio-buehler-acquitted-of--failure-to-obey-/
  34. ^ http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/10/antonio-buehler-found-guilty-austin-cop-breaks-blue-code-silence-testifying-behalf/
  35. ^ http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/antonio-buehler-acquitted-in-controversial-2012-ne/nhwFL/
  36. ^ http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/news/austin-cop-watcher-acquitted/
  37. ^ http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2014-11-14/cop-fights-law-law-wins/
  38. ^ Activist sues Austin police for right to film arrests | Al Jazeera America
  39. ^ Local activist Antonio Buehler sues Austin police, officers... | www.statesman.com
  40. ^ Peaceful Streets Project Founder files suit over right to film a
  41. ^ Peaceful Streets Complaint
  42. ^ Buehler's Civil Case Dismissed, For Now
  43. ^ http://blogs.nppa.org/advocacy/files/2014/06/Buehler-v-City-of-Austin-Amicus-Brief-Filed-06-02-14.pdf
  44. ^ http://blogs.nppa.org/advocacy/2014/06/02/nppa-files-amicus-brief-supporting-right-to-photograph-and-record-police-in-public/
  45. ^ http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/crime-law/federal-judge-upholds-activist-antonio-buehlers-ri/ngnbp/
  46. ^ http://cloudfront-assets.reason.com/assets/db/14063077544714.pdf
  47. ^ http://reason.com/blog/2014/07/25/federal-judge-to-camera-shy-austin-cops
  48. ^ http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2014-08-01/buehler-lawsuit-victory/
  49. ^ Charges against Antonio Buehler dropped as well as civil suit against APD
  50. ^ Civil rights suit over filming Austin officers dismissed
  51. ^ Buehler's Civil Case Dismissed, For Now
  52. ^ About |
  53. ^ Occupy Austin | Occupy Wall Street » Blog Archive » Meet Rubiks…
  54. ^ Alleged victim of police brutality launches Project Citizens
  55. ^ Peaceful Streets Project distributes 100 cameras to record police - YNN - Your News Now
  56. ^ Group holds first police accountability summit
  57. ^ Peaceful Streets Project is Leading the Way | Cop Block
  58. ^ Antonio Buehler steps up his campaign on APD
  59. ^ Peaceful Streets Project is Leading the Way - YouTube
  60. ^ » Peaceful Streets Stands in Solidarity with the Victims of Anaheim Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
  61. ^ Watch Rally Against Police Abuse in Solidarity with Anaheim, CA | ZGraphix Episodes | News & Politics Videos | Blip
  62. ^ https://twitter.com/PeacefulStreets
  63. ^ https://www.facebook.com/PeacefulStreets
  64. ^ a b Antonio Buehler Exposes The APD Internal Affairs Coverup For The Lies Of Oborski And Snider - YouTube
  65. ^ Antonio Buehler And Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo On KLBJ "Dudley And Bob Show" - YouTube
  66. ^ Austin Police Dept Corruption Exposed | The Time Times
  67. ^ A Typical Crime with an Atypical Victim | The jVerse
  68. ^ Daily Kos: A Veteran Faces Jail Time for Rising Up Against Injustice
  69. ^ Antonio Buehler Wants Peaceful Streets for Everyone
  70. ^ Crimewatch: APA fears group's efforts to keep an eye on police m
  71. ^ http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2013-08-16/seale-and-balko-visit-peaceful-streets/
  72. ^ Action and Empathy
  73. ^ State vs. Antonio Buehler
  74. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkDqVv1sj5M
  75. ^ The Digital Texan | Austin News, Gossip, Food and Lifestyles
  76. ^ The Digital Texan | Austin News, Gossip, Food and Lifestyles
  77. ^ YouTube
  78. ^ http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2015-02-19/final-charges-dropped-for-buehler/
  79. ^ Activist Antonio Buehler arrested again by Austin police
  80. ^ A new lense for arrest | The Daily Texan
  81. ^ Is Gender Justice Getting Shafted in Immigration Reform? | MyFDL
  82. ^ Activist's Response to Arrests of Herself and Antonio Buehler | Cop Block
  83. ^ The THIRD False Arrest of Antonio Buehler (Founder, Peaceful Streets Project) - YouTube
  84. ^ Austin Police Revealing Pattern of Abuse Against Citizens who Record | Pixiq
  85. ^ Antonio Buehler Arrested In Gonzales Texas
  86. ^ Peaceful Streets Project Founder Antonio Buehler Walks with $1 Fine in Latest Trial | The Liberty Beat
  87. ^ Mistrial Declared in Antonio Buehler Free Speech Appeal | The Liberty Beat
  88. ^ Buehler's Case Dismissed
  89. ^ Buehler's Case Dismissed
  90. ^ Final Charges Dropped
  91. ^ Charges against Antonio Buehler dropped as well as civil suit against APD
  92. ^ Civil rights suit over filming Austin officers dismissed
  93. ^ Texans for Accountable Government | Official TAG Website |
  94. ^ Best Activist - Antonio Buehler - Best of Austin - 2012 - The Austin Chronicle
  95. ^ Best Grassroots Movement - Peaceful Streets Project - Best of Austin - 2012 - The Austin Chronicle

External links[edit]