June 11, 1977 |
Fayetteville, North Carolina
|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
Antonio Buehler is an American 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.
Early life and education
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. Antonio graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and later from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Buehler sits on the Educational Choices Advisory Council for the Our America Initiative that is associated with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Buehler is also a member of Startup Learning, a private consultancy for alternative education.
In 2014, Buehler launched Abrome, an online education company.
New Year's Day 2012 incident
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. While fueling up, he and his passenger observed a DWI stop in progress, with a woman in high heels performing a field sobriety test; according to Buehler, they heard a female screaming and turned in time to see officer Robert Snider pulling the female passenger out of the vehicle and throwing her to the ground. Buehler yelled out to the police, asking them why they were assaulting her. 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. Oborski later claimed Buehler spat on him, a felony charge that carries up to a 10-year prison sentence. 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.
“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" |
After an online appeal by Buehler to find witnesses to the event, several witnesses came forward and a videorecording of the incident surfaced. 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 Facebook page, with supporters flyering the city and organizing rallies in support of Buehler, and posting daily stories of American and international police abuse.
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. 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.
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.
On December 31, 2013, Buehler 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 on January 1, August 26 and September 21, 2012.
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. Lane also said the officers were not personally immune from allegations that they had arrested and searched him without probable cause.
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." 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.
Peaceful Streets Project
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. 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. 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. The Peaceful Streets Project has a strong social media presence with over 2,200 followers on Twitter and 11,000 likes on Facebook.
Buehler's efforts to expose what he considers to be police violence and the inherent corruption of the justice system have resulted in numerous bloggers taking up his cause. 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.
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. 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.
On April 12, 2014, Buehler spoke about the Peaceful Streets Project and police abuse at a TEDx event at Harvard.
Subsequent arrests and charges
August 24, 2012
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.
August 26, 2012
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. 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. 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. Buehler's trial is set for February 18, 2015, at Austin Municipal Court.
September 12, 2012
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 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." 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.
March 13, 2013
On March 13, 2013, Buehler was arrested for Disorderly Conduct in Gonzales, Texas, for telling a police officer to "go fuck yourself." On June 5, 2013, Buehler defended himself pro se. After a seven hour trial, the jury found him guilty and assessed a $1 fine. Buehler was awarded a trial de novo which will begin on February 23, 2015 at Gonzales County Court.
In July 2012, Buehler was chosen to receive the Texans for Accountable Government annual Activist of the Year award. 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.
- The Police And The Right To Photograph. News Photographer. 69 (6): 8. July/August 2014. ISSN 0199-2422
- Dietz, Doyle (January 1, 1995). Berwick dominates big-school team. Reading Eagle, p. D11.
- Speakers and Performers | TEDxHGSE
- West Point Grad Arrested For Defending Woman Abused By Austin Police - YouTube
- War Veteran Accuses APD Officers of Assault on DWI Suspect: Austinist
- APD officers accused of abuse during New Year's arrest | kvue.com Austin
- War veteran Antonio Buehler continues fight with Austin Police
- Buehler in court fighting New Year's Day charges | kvue.com Austin
- Buehler hires high-profile attorney to fight New Year's Day charges | kvue.com Austin
- Austin Man Facing 10 Years in Prison After Photographing Cops Making Arrest | Pixiq
- Austin Police Spokesman Says No Video Evidence Of Antonio Buehler Spitting On Officer Pat Oborski - YouTube
- No Spit! No Wipe! Officer Patrick Oborski Lies About Antonio Buehler Spitting In His Face! - YouTube
- Is Filming a Police Officer a "Domestic Threat"? Austin Activist on Trial for Videotaping an Arrest, DemocracyNow, October 29, 2014
- Austin Police Department Incident - YouTube
- More witnesses come forward following New Year's Day arrest | kvue.com Austin
- "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
- Army Ranger Antonio Buehler and supporters protest at APD Headquarters
- "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
- Antonio Buehler scheduled for court | kvue.com Austin
- District Attorney: No felony indictment for Antonio Buehler - YNN - Your News Now
- Antonio Buehler charged for incidents with APD
- No felony indictments for activist Buehler, arresting officer | www.statesman.com
- Activist sues Austin police for right to film arrests | Al Jazeera America
- Local activist Antonio Buehler sues Austin police, officers... | www.statesman.com
- Peaceful Streets Project Founder files suit over right to film a
- Peaceful Streets Complaint
- Buehler acquitted of failing to comply with officer’s order |Austin American-Statesman
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- Peaceful Streets Project distributes 100 cameras to record police - YNN - Your News Now
- Group holds first police accountability summit
- Peaceful Streets Project is Leading the Way | Cop Block
- Antonio Buehler steps up his campaign on APD
- Peaceful Streets Project is Leading the Way - YouTube
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- Antonio Buehler Exposes The APD Internal Affairs Coverup For The Lies Of Oborski And Snider - YouTube
- Antonio Buehler And Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo On KLBJ "Dudley And Bob Show" - YouTube
- Austin Police Dept Corruption Exposed | The Time Times
- A Typical Crime with an Atypical Victim | The jVerse
- Daily Kos: A Veteran Faces Jail Time for Rising Up Against Injustice
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- The Digital Texan | Austin News, Gossip, Food and Lifestyles
- The Digital Texan | Austin News, Gossip, Food and Lifestyles
- Activist Antonio Buehler arrested again by Austin police
- A new lense for arrest | The Daily Texan
- Is Gender Justice Getting Shafted in Immigration Reform? | MyFDL
- Activist's Response to Arrests of Herself and Antonio Buehler | Cop Block
- The THIRD False Arrest of Antonio Buehler (Founder, Peaceful Streets Project) - YouTube
- Austin Police Revealing Pattern of Abuse Against Citizens who Record | Pixiq
- Antonio Buehler Arrested In Gonzales Texas
- Peaceful Streets Project Founder Antonio Buehler Walks with $1 Fine in Latest Trial | The Liberty Beat
- Texans for Accountable Government | Official TAG Website |
- Best Activist - Antonio Buehler - Best of Austin - 2012 - The Austin Chronicle
- Best Grassroots Movement - Peaceful Streets Project - Best of Austin - 2012 - The Austin Chronicle
- Official website
- Is Filming a Police Officer a "Domestic Threat"? Austin Activist on Trial for Videotaping an Arrest - video report by Democracy Now!, October 29, 2014