Antonio Buehler in November 2012
June 11, 1977 (age 45)|
Fayetteville, North Carolina
|Alma mater||United States Military Academy at West Point; Stanford University|
|Occupation||Founder & CEO of Buehler Education; Liberty Activist|
|Parents||Paul Buehler, YeSun Wiltse|
Antonio Buehler is a political activist in Austin, Texas, most well known for his activism in police accountability, which stemmed from his controversial arrest in Austin on New Year's Day, 2012, after he witnessed a woman he alleges was being abused by Austin police officers. His activist work is funneled through the Peaceful Streets Project he founded with the help of other local activists.
Early life and education
Antonio Buehler was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1977 to Paul Buehler and YeSun Wiltse. He has a younger brother, Leo Buehler. Buehler was primarily raised by his father, Paul Buehler, and his aunt, Cathie Mazzuca. He attended Pottsville Area High School in Pottsville, Pennsylvania where he was an All-Anthracite football player.
After graduating from West Point, Buehler was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. Buehler graduated from Engineer Officer Basic, Ranger School (Class 8-00), and Airborne School. As a member of Charlie Company of the 40th Engineer Battalion, Buehler led the turnaround of two underperforming 27-soldier platoons in Kosovo and Germany. Subsequently, as a member of the 1st Armored Division Engineer Brigade, Buehler turned around the administration and logistics of a 67-soldier company, and executed the movement of thousands of U.S. soldiers from Europe and the United States to Iraq. Then, in a position normally reserved for senior officers with much more experience, Antonio solved critical supply shortages for the U.S. Army in the early days of the Iraq war. Buehler worked with numerous American military units, foreign militaries, civilian contractors from half a dozen nations, and Shia, Sunni and Kurdish Iraqis to fix roads and bridges, restore power generation and water supply, emplace force protection barriers, and build and reinforce bases throughout central Iraq. Antonio was commended for his actions and awarded a Bronze Star. Buehler was honorably discharged from the military in 2004 so that he could attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
After graduating from Stanford in 2006, Buehler took a position with Houlihan Lokey as an Investment Banking Associate in New York City. After one year, Buehler left Houlihan Lokey to launch Cardinal and Crimson Capital, a search fund structured private equity fund. Buehler partnered with an MIT and Harvard Business School graduate that he met while interning at Infosys in India during business school, but opted to exit the partnership after his partner sourced only one investor. In March 2008, Buehler launched Trophy Point Capital, a private equity fund focused on acquiring and actively operating middle-market businesses. Buehler received the backing of private equity investors, business leaders and academicians, including Paul Milgrom, Jim Southern and Jerry York.
While operating Trophy Point Capital, Buehler found himself focusing on the education sector. He served as the Treasurer and Board Member of A Caring Hand, a child bereavement non-profit in New York City. Previously a supporter of charter schools and vouchers, Buehler came to the conclusion that traditional schooling oftentimes did more damage to the development and future potential of children than it did good. Buehler began to research homeschooling and unschooling as alternatives to traditional schooling, and soon found himself a leading proponent of homeschooling. In late 2010, Buehler decided to move to Austin where he could position himself in a geographically-centric location to influence the homeschooling movement. In July 2012 Buehler was chosen to receive the Texans for Accountable Government annual Activist of the Year award.
New Year's Day 2012 incident
In the early hours 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 DUI 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 spit 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 Cpl. Hipolito admitted to KEYE news that he could not see Buehler spitting on the officer. His grand jury date was postponed numerous times.
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 not released the dashcam video to the public. Nearly 6,800 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. The grand jury 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 the any of the crimes he was charged with. They instead indicted him on four Class C misdemeanors for "failure to obey a lawful order" related to his New Year's Day incident, two follow on arrests and a fourth 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.
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.
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.
The Austin Police Department, meanwhile, has gone on the offensive against the Peaceful Streets Project. In addition to arresting Buehler twice more, they have also arrested three other police accountability activists (Lynn Foster, Joshua Pineda, Sarah Dickerson) who were filming on-duty police. The charges against Foster and Pineda have since been dropped by prosecutors. Dickerson, who was arrested while filming Buehler's third arrest, still has charges pending. APD has also confiscated four cameras from Peaceful Streets Project volunteers, two from Buehler, one from Dickerson and one from Foster. APD was forced to return the camera that they confiscated from Foster when his charges were dropped. In November, Austin Chronicle readers voted Antonio Buehler as Austin's Best Activist and the Peaceful Streets Project as the Best Grassroots Movement for 2012.
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 announcing their intentions to hold a national police accountability summit in Austin on August 17, 2013.
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 for "interfering with public duties". 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 simply looking for a reason to arrest 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. It was later determined that the APD Officer (Justin Berry) who arrested Buehler was the same officer that Buehler outed as an undercover cop engaged in a sting to arrest underage women on August 24, 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.
The Travis County Grand Jury reviewed all of Buehler's arrests when considering the felony charge related to the New Year's Day incident. The grand jury declined to indict Buehler on every charge that Austin Police Department used to justify their arrests. Instead, Buehler was indicted on Class C misdemeanors for failure to obey a lawful order. Dickerson was also not indicted for her original charge of interference for public duties, and was likewise indicted for failure to obey a lawful order.
Antonio Buehler was arrested twice more in 2013. He was arrested in Gonzales, TX for alleged Disorderly Conduct, a Class C misdemeanor, and in Austin, TX for alleged Criminal Mischief, a Class B misdemeanor. Both incidents were captured on video by members of the Peaceful Streets Project and posted online. Buehler has indicated that he will take all of his six pending charges to jury trial if they are not dismissed.
On June 5, 2013, Buehler defended himself pro se against the charge of Disorderly Conduct in Gonzales, TX. After a seven-hour trial, the jury found him guilty and assessed a $1 fine. Buehler has indicated that he will appeal the verdict.
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- Buehler in court fighting New Year's Day charges | kvue.com Austin
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- 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
- Antonio Buehler scheduled for court | kvue.com Austin
- Austin Police Department Incident - YouTube
- More witnesses come forward following New Year's Day arrest | kvue.com Austin
- "Facebook". Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/350955711587953/. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
- Army Ranger Antonio Buehler and supporters protest at APD Headquarters
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- 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
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- A Typical Crime with an Atypical Victim | The jVerse
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- Best Grassroots Movement - Peaceful Streets Project - Best of Austin - 2012 - The Austin Chronicle
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- The THIRD False Arrest of Antonio Buehler (Founder, Peaceful Streets Project) - YouTube
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- Peaceful Streets Project Founder Antonio Buehler Walks with $1 Fine in Latest Trial | The Liberty Beat
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