10 Apr
Posted in: Press Releases
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PRESS RELEASE: Austin Police Illegally Arrest Peaceful Streets Project Organizer Joshua Pineda; Continues to Wage War Against First Amendment


April 10th, 2016

The Austin Police Department continued their practice of violating the First Amendment rights of police accountability activists on Sunday morning. At approximately 12:58 A.M., Joshua Pineda, a lead organizer with the Peaceful Streets Project, was arrested while filming police officers harassing a young black man. 

While filming the police downtown, Joshua Pineda and a half dozen other Peaceful Streets Project copwatchers observed Austin Police repeatedly shoving a young black man near the northeast corner of Trinity & 6th Streets. The young black man did not appreciate being repeatedly shoved, and began to legally voice his displeasure to the police. While most of the police turned and walked away, Officer Cameron Staff #6830 decided that he would escalate the situation. Officer Staff apparently didn’t like the young man’s protest, and proceeded to follow the young man across the street. By doing so, Officer Staff highlighted APD’s tendency to needlessly escalate situations as opposed to mindfully deescalating them.

With the Peaceful Streets Project following behind to document the situation, various other APD officers followed. Joshua legally went to a knee to film Officer Staff bullying the young black man. While Joshua Pineda never interfered by any stretch of the imagination or the law (TX Penal Code 38.15), Corporal Richard Mears #3564 walked over to him and ordered him to move back. In doing so, Corporal Mears violated APD Policy 302.2(c)6. Given an illegal order, Joshua Pineda continued to exercise his First Amendment right to document government officials engaging in racist policing. Corporal Mears then illegally arrested Joshua Pineda.

The Peaceful Streets Project has had previous contact with both Officer Staff and Corporal Mears. On November 18, 2015, a Peaceful Streets Project volunteer filmed Staff refusing to identify himself in violation of APD Policy 900.4.4. And on March 20, 2016, a Peaceful Streets Project volunteer filmed Corporal Mears defending Officer Cameron Caldwell #7408 who illegally assaulted a handcuffed, detained, young black man during SXSW. In the video, you can hear CPL Mears claiming that Officer Caldwell was a “great guy” who “took care of business” and “took the fight out of [his handcuffed victim].”

We have no doubt that these two officers have been emboldened by the cowardice of the Chain of Command up to and including Chief Hubert Arturo “Art” Acevedo, city and county prosecutors, City Manager Marc Ott, Mayor Steve Adler, and the City Council who have repeatedly turned a blind eye to the repeated and endless train of criminal acts by the Austin Police Department against the people.

The Peaceful Streets Project dares the Austin Police Department to immediately release the videos that Joshua Pineda took of the incident, as well as the HALO videos and body camera videos that will prove Joshua Pineda’s innocence. We want the people of Austin to see for themselves that the only criminals in this incident were the Austin Police. Or does the Austin Police Department have something to hide? The answer to that question will lead you to the reason that the Austin Police Department continues to wage war against peaceful activists who dare to exercise their First Amendment right to film the police.



  • I am a British citizen but I am both shocked and interested in such sites as Peaceful Streets and Copwatch etc .Most of the time I cannot believe what i’m seeing with regards to Police behaviour, accountability, seeing overweight and unfit cops , aggressive and totally unsuited to the job, sloppy uniforms, lack of knowledge how to handle or interact with the public, half trained etc. . To be honest most of them should be sacked on the spot as a liability to the tax payer as they are not an asset. But I was also thinking over an idea where a group/delegation of British Police could be invited to America to give a talk or advice or a better way of Policing . I mean such groups as yours or others could invite them for a short stay to do talks, to observe but not get involved with interactions with American Police. I realise my idea is sketchy and needs more thought but it may be beneficial in some way???.

    • Interesting idea. We do not work with police but I think it would be worth the effort for some of them to try.

  • I do not mean the UK Police to chat to the U.S. Police or for them to get involved in the Peaceful Streets activity on the streets . The British Cops would give talk or whatever and maybe answer questions but not meet up with American cops . They could for example comment on a handful of incidents , and say how they would handle the same situation. For example the British Police do not carry guns , they do carry truncheons (what you call billy clubs), tazers and pepper spray but I do not know if that is widespread as I don’t see that many. As for guns we have what are called Tactical Police they are the ones with guns called up if needed. Anyway my idea was just an attempt at something new or a new direction to go in and needs working out more if ever considered.

  • Not much of a Forum if no ones going to swop ideas or make suggestions to the betterment of the project !!???

    • We love ideas. The problem is we have way more ideas than volunteers.

  • In this country (the UK) it is illegal to hunt live quarry with hounds(drag hunting is permitted on a laid trail) but the hunting people are corrupt and have money and the Police instead of ensuring the hunters do not break the law in most cases try to prevent the anti hunt groups from documenting illegal activity although the ant hunt have had some successes like the peaceful streets but not enough. The most violent in this activity are the terrier men or hunt supporters who are hired as thugs by the hunters. There are a number of anti hunt associations now across the country despite the problems they face. The anti hunt people known as sabs (short for hunt saboteurs). Due to the actions of the hunts the sabs all cover their faces to avoid identification by the cameras of the hunt , this is for their protection as the hunt have been known to single out individuals whos face or identity they have got. The sabs have not got around to using drones but it would be a good idea. And why cannot Peaceful Streets activists adopt some disguise to hide their faces ?? of course I mean those not yet known, and have they devised a shortened term for the activists like the anti hunt have ??? just a thought.

  • What ever happened with situation? Was officer Cadwell reprimanded and was the young man given an apology and did the police department admit his ignorance?

    • He has not been disciplined as of yet. We’re sure they’ll find a way to justify it.

So, what do you think?