Sunday, December 21, 2014

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District Attorney: No felony indictment for Antonio Buehler

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A Travis County Grand Jury choose not to indict Antonio Buehler on any felony charges stemming from his arrest on Jan. 1, 2012.

He was, however, indicted on several charges of failure to obey a lawful order, a Class C misdemeanor. One of those charges is related to his New Year’s Day arrest, three others stem from additional run-ins with police over the course of 2012.

The grand jury also chose to not indict Austin police officer Patrick Oborski on tampering with a governmental record or a charge of official oppression.

Buehler, a 35-year-old former U.S. Army captain and graduate of West Point and Stanford, pulled his car over the morning of New Years Day to take photographs of an arrest at a convenience store along North Lamar Boulevard. He said he saw police “manhandling” a woman—later identified as then-28-year-old Norma Pizana—and wanted to document the arrest.

What happened next has been a point of contention between Buehler and the officers at the scene. Police say Buehler interfered with their investigation and attempted to arrest him, but they say Buehler resisted and even spit on one of the officers. Buehler said he was cooperative and it was the police who were unruly at the scene.

Buehler was charged with resisting arrest and harassment of a peace officer, a Class A misdemeanor and a third-degree felony respectively.

The 35-year-old put out a call online for anyone who witnessed his arrest to come forward. Coincidentally, someone not only witnessed Buehler’s arrest, but had recorded video from across the street. The video appeared to back up Buehler’s account.

In the months following, Buehler became a vocal advocate for the filming of police. He and other activists form the Peaceful Street Project, a nonprofit whose goal is to record as many arrests as possible. In July of last year, the group handed out 100 video cameras to citizens who pledged to record police interactions.

It was that activity which landed Buehler behind bars again later in 2012. He was arrested in late August because police said he interfered with an arrest in downtown Austin. Video of his arrest shows police asking Buehler to stand back at least 11 times and giving him at least four warnings.

Buehler was indicted by the Travis County Grand Jury on a charge failure to obey a lawful order from this arrest.

Pizana was indicted by the Travis County Grand Jury on a charge of resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor in the New Year's Day incident.

Buehler’s Peaceful Streets Project has since opened up a chapter in Sandusky, Ohio earlier this month. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP