12 Aug
2013

Press Release: Peaceful Streets Project runs Indiegogo Campaign to raise $25,000 for 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit – bonuses for all contributors!

Press Release: Peaceful Streets Project runs Indiegogo Campaign to raise $25,000 for 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit – bonuses for all contributors!

August 12th, 2013

Austin, TX – No good deed can happen without the outpouring of support from others. The recent, significant increase in police accountability activism, birthed from technological advances like smart phones and instant upload sites (e.g., Livestream), is forcing cop culture to change. There are dedicated activists all over the country taking to the streets to protest police abuse, aiming cameras at cops, fighting for everyone’s rights to live freely and peacefully, aiming cameras and protesting.

The Peaceful Streets Project is one of those pioneer organizations, paving the way to a more peaceful future, and they are hosting the 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit scheduled for August 17th at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center from 10am-4pm. Keynote speeches from Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale and author, Radley Balko are enough to make this the most powerful police accountability summit this nation has seen in years. This event will bring together community to stand up to police abuse, and serve as a catalyst for an unprecedented year of police accountability activism from Austin, to Sandusky (NH), to Honolulu, to Manchester (NH).

In order to make this event a success the Peaceful Streets Project must raise at least $25,000 through our recently launched Indiegogo campaign. In order to provide access to the people most likely to become victims of police abuse, we are providing this event free to the public, including admission, food, drinks and child care. However, we must still cover the costs associated with the venue, the speakers’ fees, airfare and hotel, the food for the guests, advertising and marketing materials. Please consider supporting the movement and making sure all can attend so the education and awareness spreads. Visit the Indiegogo page to find out more details on speakers, funding, a video from founder, Antonio Buehler, and more!

You have the chance to be recognized as a supporter, get your own Peaceful Streets shirt, or even a whole trip planned and booked for the conference. Check out all the ways you can support the event!

The Peaceful Streets Project’s mission is to empower and educate people on their rights while “engaging in non-political and non-violent direct action tactics, and utilizing new technologies” to hold law enforcement officials accountable; a bold undertaking. Join us in Austin at the 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit this Saturday, August 17th at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center from 10am-4pm.

10 Aug
2013

Press Release: Peaceful Streets Project National Day of Action, August 10, 2013

Press Release: Peaceful Streets Project National Day of Action, August 10, 2013

August 10th, 2013

Austin, TX – Peaceful Streets Project chapters from around the country will be engaging in direct action tactics today, August 10th, to rein in the out of control criminal cops who destroy the lives of peaceful people on a daily basis in communities throughout the country.

The Peaceful Streets Project has grown from one chapter last summer, to 15 chapters today, with another 15 chapters likely to launch within the next month. The movement for police accountability is growing through the efforts of the Peaceful Streets Project, Cop Block, Cop Watch and other organizations throughout the country. In the past year alone, we have seen a marked change in the rhetoric surrounding unjustified police shootings and abuse from one of making excuses for the crimes of police officers to one of demanding accountability. We appreciate when people demand that “good cops arrest bad cops” and when they say “cops who shoot unarmed people are cowards.” Without internal policing by the police and their government bosses, it is up to the people to force change through public pressure.

Today, the Peaceful Streets Project will continue to try to inform the public of the misconduct and criminal nature of too many cops, and to publicly expose some of the worst of the criminal cops. In Ohio, the Peaceful Streets Project will have a public screening of the film All Power To The People!, a documentary on the actions law enforcement and the government took against the Black Panthers who tried to defend themselves from police abuse in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This filming is all the more relevant given that Bobby Seale will be the keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit. After the screening, there will be a free potluck dinner and then Peaceful Streets Project-Sandusky and Peaceful Streets Project-Defiance will do a joint cop watch.

In New York City, the Peaceful Streets Project will begin their action in Union Square where they will form into street teams. They will then hold a Know Your Rights Training in Union Square before heading into the subways to inform passengers of their rights, underground.

In Austin, Texas, the Peaceful Streets Project will protest the corrupt cop of the month, Detective Charles Kleinert, the Austin cop who killed Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr., a man who had committed no crime and who was not being detained when Kleinert commandeered a vehicle, chased after Jackson, and ultimately shot Jackson once in the back of the neck.

In Allen, Texas and Miami, Florida the Peaceful Streets Project will engage in Cop Watch events to hold the police accountable.

These actions are being taken in advance of the 2nd Annual Peaceful Streets Project Police Accountability Summit on August 17th at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the University of Texas campus from 10am to 4pm. If you wish to support the summit, check out the indiegogo page to see how you can contribute. It’s easy to donate and there are perks for our supporters. Because this event is free to the public, we are relying on donations to raise the $35,000 necessary to make this event a success. Please help us meet our goal and please join us in Austin on August 17th!

PSP-Austin: https://www.facebook.com/events/1405878829626353/
PSP-New York City: https://www.facebook.com/events/501616753251671/
PSP-Sandusky (OH) & PSP-Defiance (OH): https://www.facebook.com/events/142907632582501/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/181271648712598/

8 Aug
2013

Press Release: Co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, headlines Austin’s 2nd Peaceful Streets Project Police Accountability Summit

Press Release: Co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, headlines Austin’s 2nd Peaceful Streets Project Police Accountability Summit

August 8th, 2013

Austin, TX – Who would know better about the police brutality and prejudice that residents face every day in Central Texas than one of the leading boots on the ground, frontline activists of the Civil Rights Movement? Co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, will be joining as one of the impressive keynote speakers during the 2nd Annual Peaceful Streets Project Police Accountability Summit. As one of the original Chicago 8, Seale is no stranger to police watching his every move. His passion began with the Black Panther Party and has now extended into the mission of educating others on their rights and how to exert those rights in the face of unjust law enforcement. Seale will speak about the most powerful weapon at our fingertips; no bullets necessary.

Having such a monumental guest at the 2nd Annual Peaceful Streets Project Police Accountability Summit, and Austin, is an honor and will help us in our fight for peaceful streets. We expect his visit and speech will draw in a passionate crowd of supporters, and bridge the gap between other organizations and activists in the Austin area, and nationally.

The Peaceful Streets Project’s mission is to empower and educate people on their rights while engaging in non-political and non-violent direct action tactics, and utilizing new technologies to hold law enforcement officials accountable; a bold undertaking. Join the struggle by coming to the 2nd Annual Peaceful Streets Project Police Accountability Summit on August 17th at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the University of Texas campus from 10am to 4pm

If you wish to help support the event, check out the indiegogo page to see how you can contribute. It’s easy to donate and there are perks for our supporters. Because this event is free to the public, we are relying on donations to raise the $35,000 necessary to make this event a success. Please help us meet our goal and please join us in Austin on August 17th!

30 Jul
2013
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Press Release: Police Accountability and Civil Rights Groups Respond to APD Press Conference on the Killing of Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr.

Press Release: Police Accountability and Civil Rights Groups Respond to APD Press Conference on the Killing of Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr.

July 30th, 2013

Austin, TX – The media is invited to join the Austin Police Accountability Coalition and the Peaceful Streets Project in front of Austin City Hall at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday July 30th where we will issue a response to the Austin Police Department’s (Monday) press conference regarding the shooting death of Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. by Detective Charles Kleinert.

On Friday, July 26th, Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr., a black man, walked to the Benchmark Bank and tried to gain entry several hours after that bank had been robbed by a “tall and heavy set white man.” Despite having not committed any crime, and not being told he was being detained under suspicion of committing any crime, when Jackson decided to leave, Kleinert decided to follow him, despite policy dictating otherwise.

Allegedly, Jackson ran – although a witness said he saw him “merely walking” along the sidewalk. Kleinert, instead of pursuing on foot (and why he felt he needed to is in question), commandeered a vehicle driven by a motorist that was sitting in a parking lot near the bank. The witness said Kleinert was “out of control” and did not identify himself before frantically ordering the confused motorist to drive him around. “The motorist implored Kleinert to calm down and explain what was happening, the source said,” but Kleinert merely yelled, “Go! Go! Go!” When Kleinert identified Jackson, “who the source said was merely walking along the sidewalk,” Kleinert yelled “there he is!” before jumping out of the car to chase after Jackson. The shaken motorist quickly left and called 911 to report what they must have thought was a crime in progress – perpetrated by the “police officer.”

Underneath the bridge, Assistant Police Chief Brian Manley claims a scuffle ensued. Jackson ended up dead, shot once in the back of the neck by Detective Kleinert. Manley also implied the shooting may have been accidental, as if they don’t know yet whether it was. Possible? If APD didn’t issue a “hearing” on Friday following the shooting, then Kleinert may not have had to tell APD his side of the story yet. According to the City’s Meet & Confer contract with the Austin Police Association (just renewed, as it is done every five years), officers have 48 hours in which they don’t have to talk about any use of force incident – triggered by APD calling a hearing for the investigation. He may not have talked to them yet if they failed to issue the notice, and has even more time to create a tale to cover up his policy infractions based on some serious mistakes he made in assessing a public safety threat and resolving conflict as he was trained.

Debbie Russell of the Austin Police Accountability Coalition: “I didn’t think there could be a worse tale of APD misconduct and cover up after the shooting of Nathaniel Sanders, II (someone asleep in a car with no gun in hand and only awake for 4 seconds before shot in the back of the head)…then I didn’t think anything could top the unjust killing of Byron Carter, Jr. (a passenger in a vehicle not having committed any crime attempting to flee armed men not identifying themselves as police-also shot in the back of the head). But this is beyond the pale! An unarmed black man chased down and killed based on what one officer believed he might do, sometime in the future.”

Antonio Buehler of the Peaceful Streets Project: “It is remarkable that every time an APD officer commits a felony crime, that APD comes out and blames the victim of police violence. Cops know that pedestrians have a right to walk (or run) away from police if they are not being legally detained, so APD’s claim that it is “not a good idea to run from police” is nothing more than a diversion tactic to take the focus off of the killer cop and apply it to the deceased. Further, APD has a history of slandering the dead to protect their cops. APD suggesting that Jackson was at the bank to “defraud” them suggests that APD has prophetic wisdom into the future actions of the people they kill.”

MONDAY PRESS HIGHLIGHTS FROM CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS:

Nelson Linder of the NAACP-Austin: “This needs to be an issue among our government. They can’t be silent while these types of shootings continue in our city,” Linder said. “It is too rampant, it’s too racial and these type so things happen too often. These are senseless shootings we know for a fact need to stop.”

Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project: “We cannot tolerate this constant use of deadly force. People should not have to fear for their lives when they are in a parking lot, stopped for a traffic offense, or go to the bank.”

http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/news/2013-07-29/apd-searching-for-witness-to-fatal-officer-involved-shooting/

25 Jul
2013
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Press Release: 2nd Annual Peaceful Streets Project Police Accountability Summit

The media and the public are invited to join the Peaceful Streets Project at our 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit from 10 am to 4 pm on August 17th at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin, TX.

The Peaceful Streets Project is an all-volunteer, grassroots effort that seeks to end police abuse and hold police accountable by empowering communities to exercise their rights and stand up for one another. Over the past year the Peaceful Streets Project has led over a dozen know your rights training sessions, provided a platform for scores of victims of police abuse to tell their stories, organized over 100 cop watches, and grown from a local effort in Austin into a national movement with a dozen chapters from Manchester, NH to Honolulu, HI.

The 2nd Annual Peaceful Streets Project Police Accountability Summit will be an entertaining, educational and empowering experience for the community, and will serve as a celebration of our wildly successful year in the struggle against police abuse. We will be bringing in activists, speakers and entertainers from all over the country for this powerful event.

The keynote speaker for the summit is Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party and long time police accountability activist. In an attempt to aid African-American victims of police brutality and racial prejudice, Seale and the Black Panthers pioneered the practice of cop watch, often times carrying rifles. As part of his speech, Seale will talk about how the camera is a more powerful weapon against police abuse than a rifle is.

Other headliners include Radley Balko, writer for the Huffington Post and author of the new book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Force, Carlos Miller of PhotographyIsNotACrime.com, Pete Eyre of CopBlock.org, and Antonio Buehler and John Bush, co-founders of the Peaceful Streets Project. Entertainers include B. Dolan who will perform “Film the Police” and Tatiana Moroz who will perform a song written for the Peaceful Streets Project.

In addition to hearing from speakers and entertainers, participants will have the opportunity to listen to a panel covering family pets killed by law enforcement, engage in a debate over whether we should try to reform the police or abolish them, participate in a Know Your Rights training session, and receive hands on training to learn tactics for filming police. Food and refreshments will be provided, and there will be free childcare on site for families who attend.

The facebook event page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/465581550193801.

Peaceful Streets Project Mission: Through community organizing, engaging in non-political and non-violent direct action tactics, and utilizing new technologies, the Peaceful Streets Project seeks to bring about a cultural shift where individuals understand their rights and hold law enforcement officials accountable, and communities protect and serve each other.

19 Jul
2013
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Press Release: Peaceful Streets Project Organizing a Support Rally for San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams in San Marcos, TX

At 2 pm on Saturday, July 20th, the Peaceful Streets Project will celebrate the extraordinarily rare and brave acts that San Marcos (TX) Police Chief Howard Williams and other members of the chain of command took against a fellow officer following an illegal and violent arrest of a woman who had not committed any crime on May 29th.

That officer, Cpl. James Palermo, had pulled someone over for driving the wrong way down a one-way street, and took issue when 22-year-old, Alexis Alpha walked by the traffic stop. According to the affidavit, Palermo demanded to see her identification, to which Alpha insisted she had done nothing wrong, suggested that he conduct traffic stops elsewhere, said that he apparently was in a bad mood and was taking it out on her, and then called him a “dick”.

Without cause, Palermo then assaulted Alpha by grabbing her, pushing her into a car and then throwing her down on the concrete, resulting in broken teeth and a concussion. He then arrested her and filed false charges of obstruction, resisting arrest and public intoxication.

Over the past year and a half, the Peaceful Streets Project has tracked hundreds of cases where police officers have been caught on film falsely arresting and/or committing violent crimes against innocent, unarmed and peaceful people. However, over the past year and a half we have had difficulty finding stories of good cops who witnessed such crimes by other police officers, and then took it upon themselves to arrest the criminal cops. On the contrary, we have seen one police chief after another acting as Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo does, defending cops who commit crimes while slandering the victims of police abuse.

What is remarkable about this incident in San Marcos is not that Cpl. James Palermo had committed a violent crime; what is remarkable is that San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams chose to defend the victim, and not the criminal cop. When Chief Williams found out about the incident the next day, he ordered an internal review. The video from the patrol car’s dashboard camera proved that Palermo had broken the law, and that led to a warrant being issued on Tuesday, resulting in the arrest of Palermo in Chief Williams’ office.

We have seen cases where police officers have been arrested, but they almost always come as a result of an investigation by an outside agency, bold (and rare) action by a district attorney, or because of overwhelming public outcry over documented police abuse. What makes the San Marcos incident even more remarkable is that this arrest took place because of actions by police officers within the department, and in the absence of public outcry. Furthermore, in the rare instances in which police officers are arrested for crimes committed while in uniform, they are usually arrested on relatively minor charges such as official oppression, a misdemeanor, as opposed to the more serious charges that a public servant should be held accountable to. Palermo was ultimately arrested and charged with a first-degree felony of Aggravated Assault by a Public Servant.

The Peaceful Streets Project is an all-volunteer, grassroots effort dedicated to ending institutionalized violence through community organizing and non-violent direct action tactics, and we view police accountability as an utmost priority to achieving our mission. While we try to change culture by changing attitudes regarding the role of police in society, we acknowledge that change must also come from within the system. While we are quick to criticize police officers that commit crimes, and the police officers who defend criminal cops, we also want to honor those officers who cross the thin blue line to do the right thing.

Therefore, on July 20, 2013 between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm, the Peaceful Streets Project will be gathering in front of the Hays County Courthouse (111 E. San Antonio Street, San Marcos, TX 78666) in support of Chief Howard Williams. The rarity of police officers being held to a higher standard should be celebrated. While police accountability emanating from within a police department is extremely rare, we are hopeful the San Marcos Police Department is paving the way and serving as a role model to all other departments in policing those who police.

The facebook event page will be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/694356897246295.

17 Jul
2013
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Join the Peaceful Streets Project at a Jordan Page Benefit Concert, Thursday July 18th!

Jordan Page Home Concert to Benefit the Peaceful Streets Project
Thursday, July 18th, 2013 @ 8:00 p.m. (social hour begins at 7:00 p.m.)
Private residence in Austin, TX (location to be disclosed to those who RSVP)
Join on Facebook

This summer you’ll have the opportunity to attend two events in Austin, TX to propel the burgeoning police accountability movement forward. The first is a benefit concert to be held tomorrow, Thursday, July 18th, and the second is the 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit to be held on Saturday, August 17th.
Over the past year the Peaceful Streets Project has gone from an idealist vision in the minds of a few activists as to how we as a community could stand up to out of control criminal cops, to a powerful grassroots organization that has exposed the criminal, unprofessional and violent nature of far too many cops, and forced local cops to amend their behavior when dealing with the public.

The criminal actions of coward cops Patrick Oborski and Robert Snider of the Austin Police Department, and the subsequent cover up of their crimes by Police Chief Art Acevedo and the rest of the department, to include Internal Affairs, spurned a movement that is now affecting culture change from big cities to small towns throughout the country!

In the past year alone, this nascent organization has given victims of police abuse a platform to share their stories, hosted dozens of Know Your Rights Trainings, organized over 100 cop watches, and hosted a successful police accountability summit where we gave out 100 cameras to people in need so that they could film the police. We were also named the grassroots movement of the year, and now we are going national. We have a dozen chapters nationwide in cities such as Houston, New York, Manchester NH and Sandusky OH, and we may have 20 more chapters launched by the end of the summer.

Tomorrow, Thursday, July 18th, liberty rocker Jordan Page will be coming to Austin, Texas to perform at a private benefit concert to help raise funds for our 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit that will be held on August 17th. The money we raise is necessary to offset the costs of the venue, as well as the costs associated with our featured guests which include Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panthers, Radley Balko, author of Rise of the Warrior Cop, Carlos Miller of PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com, Pete Eyre of CopBlock.org, and musicians B. Dolan and Tatiana Moroz.

Please RSVP today by going to our rally site (https://rally.org/jordanpagePSPconcert-austin) and donating at least $50. The rally site is the preferred form of payment, but cash at the door will also be accepted. Because this is a private house concert, the location will only be disclosed to those who RSVP through the rally site, or who email Antonio Buehler (antonio@buehlered.com) directly with a commitment to attend and pay in person.

In addition to coming to the benefit concert, you can help us by sharing ” target=”_blank”>this video with friends via email, facebook and twitter. And like people from all over the country who are dedicated to fighting police abuse, you can make plans to come to our 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit. Whether or not you plan to make the trip to Austin, you can donate to help us offset the costs of providing this free benefit to the community. Please go to peacefulstreets.com/donate for more information on ways to donate.

Finally, the Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin” ballot is now available online. The Peaceful Streets Project won last year’s Best Grassroots Movement, which provided us with both free media coverage and credibility among many of the establishment types in Central Texas. Please go to the Politics and Personalities section of the ballot, and type in “Peaceful Streets Project” in the “Grassroots Movement” box. Once again, you can vote at http://www.austinchronicle.com/feedback/bestof/13/.

We appreciate all of your support, and with your continued support, we will continue to eat away at the police state, empower people to stand up for their rights, and bring people together to protect and serve each other!

8 Jul
2013
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Press Release: Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo Should Honor Heroic Acts by Cops Instead of Defending Criminal and Coward Cops

The Peaceful Streets Project, known for its well-deserved criticism of the Austin Police Department, would like to take the opportunity to do something that it doesn’t get to do very often: Honor some Austin Police Officers who risked their lives to protect and serve the public.

On June 20th, in an apartment fire on Duval Road, “two APD officers ran door-to-door to alert and remove residents from the area.” These two officers both ended up being hospitalized after being overcome by smoke from the fire, but as a result of their courageous actions, they were the only two injured.

In a separate incident, on June 25th, Austin Police responded to a swimming accident at McKinney Falls State Park. Unfortunately, two people lost their lives in this tragedy, but a third was saved when “Officers jumped unto [sic] the water fully clothed to try and rescue all three victims.”

We are troubled by the fact that the Austin Police Department has done nothing to honor these heroic acts, yet every time there is an officer-involved-shooting or similar example of cops acting negligently or criminally, Chief Art Acevedo is on the scene defending those officers from any and all criticism, and proclaiming their heroism even under the most dubious of situations. We note that even the names of the officers who risked their lives to save others have not even been released to the press. We watch with disgust as criminal cop Patrick Oborski is recognized as a “Jaime Padron Hero,” while real heroism goes unrewarded and unrecognized. We are disappointed that the dubious killing of unarmed minority youths, law abiding septuagenarians and family pets is lauded as heroism by the APD, but saving lives isn’t.

The Peaceful Streets Project respectfully requests that Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo take a break from defending and honoring the cowards and criminals in his department, and take notice of the fact that he has a few officers in his employ that actually put the lives of others before their own.

27 Jun
2013
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Press Release: Wayne Vincent of the Austin Police Association Issues a Veiled Threat Against Antonio Buehler & Peaceful Streets Project

During a recent interview with the local Fox affiliate, KTBC, Austin Police Association President Wayne Vincent issued what appeared to be a threat of violence against Antonio Buehler and the Peaceful Streets Project. This threat comes on the heels of the Peaceful Streets Project’s public announcement that they would increase downtown patrols to record Officer Nathan Wagner while on duty. Wagner is the APD cop that shot and killed Byron Carter in 2011.

“We fully are afraid that this thing is going to turn violent before it’s over because Buehler keeps escalating the harassment. Our officers are out there with absolutely no relief from this kind of harassment and it’s not going to end well,” Vincent said.

What Vincent calls harassment is actually the legal and Constitutionally protected right to film public servants while on duty. Vincent’s suggestion that violence may stem from Buehler and other members of the Peaceful Streets Project exercising their rights is troubling.

The Peaceful Streets Project has made non-violence a central tenet of their mission. No member of the Peaceful Streets Project has ever engaged in violence while cop watching, nor has any member ever threatened violence toward any member of law enforcement. Further, the Austin Police Department is fully aware that all Peaceful Streets Project cop watch events prohibit volunteers from carrying personal weapons.

The only violence that would ever result from Peaceful Streets Project cop watches would come from the armed members of the Austin Police Department. In fact, members of the Peaceful Streets Project have already been assaulted by APD officers and their horses, downtown.

The Peaceful Streets Project has videotaped cops hundreds of times, most of which resulted in no interactions between Peaceful Streets and APD. Interactions between APD and Peaceful Streets most often occur once APD starts issuing arbitrary orders, shining flashlights at cameras, physically threatening or issuing threats of arrest to prevent cop watchers from videotaping. Sometimes, the Peaceful Streets Project will ask APD officers for a statement after an incident has concluded.

The Peaceful Streets Project stands for accountability through non-violent, non-partisan, direct action tactics. We reject all forms of violence and coercion; those are the tools of the Austin Police Department. The violence that Wayne Vincent speaks of will only be realized by the members of his union, with the victims being unarmed activists who stand against the corrupt and violent cops that are endemic to the Austin Police Department.

We call on Wayne Vincent to clarify his statement as to who he believes will engage in violence, and then retract his threat and replace it with a statement of non-violence. We also encourage Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo to denounce Vincent’s threat of violence against Peaceful Streets Project activists.

Finally, the Peaceful Streets Project invites the community to attend a workshop on non-violent activism that will be held during a breakout session at our Second Annual Police Accountability Summit on August 17th at Huston-Tillotson University.

Peaceful Streets Project Mission: Through community organizing, engaging in non-political and non-violent direct action tactics, and utilizing new technologies, the Peaceful Streets Project seeks to bring about a cultural shift where individuals understand their rights and hold law enforcement officials accountable, and communities protect and serve each other.

3 Apr
2013
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Press Release: PSP co-founder, Antonio Buehler no-billed on felony charge!

Four weeks after convening, the Travis County Grand Jury chose not to issue any felony indictments against Antonio Buehler or Austin Police Department (APD) Officer Patrick Oborski related to their New Year’s Day 2012 incident.

On New Year’s Day 2012, Oborski observed a car that was being driven without its headlights on West 6th street in downtown Austin, and pulled the car over at the 7-11 on N. Lamar and W. 10th Street. While Oborski was conducting a field sobriety test behind the vehicle, Norma Pizana who was a passenger in the vehicle, yelled from the passenger seat to the driver that the driver did not have to submit to a sobriety test. Oborski walked up to the car, leaned in and told Pizana not to “interfere” with his investigation, and then returned to the driver to continue the field sobriety test. However, according to the Penal Code, speech is not sufficient to “interfere” with an investigation, and Pizana was never charged with such a crime. After Pizana was told to stop attempting to communicate with the driver of the vehicle, APD Officer Robert Snider arrived on the scene and began to speak to Pizana.

Antonio Buehler, who was a designated driver that night, pulled into the same 7-11 as he was driving a friend home, in order to refuel the truck he was driving. When he finished fueling up, Buehler and his passenger, Ben Munoz, began to get back into their truck when they heard Pizana scream violently. They turned and saw Snider violently pulling Pizana out of the vehicle, and then throwing her down on the ground. As Pizana continued to cry out in pain, Oborski joined in and they began to apply continued upward pressure on her arms in what is considered a torture move by the U.S. Military and Federal Government. At that moment, Buehler tried to take pictures of what he believed was a violent assault. When Pizana noticed him taking pictures, she begged him to record the incident, and Buehler then began to demand that the cops stop abusing Pizana. Although Pizana was seated in her car, was not a threat to herself or the public, and her driver had not yet been arrested, she was arrested for Public Intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor.

After Snider and Oborski handcuffed Pizana and began escorting her to a squad car, Oborski turned and walked aggressively toward Buehler, got in Buehler’s face, and asked “who do you think you are?” Video shows that Buehler put his arms down by his side, with his palms forward in a non-threatening manner as he took a couple steps back, while Oborski continued to step toward Antonio and into his personal space. Video then shows Oborski violently thrusting his hands into the chest of Buehler a few times, pushing Buehler back until he was trapped between the bed of the truck he had been driving and Officer Oborski. After repeatedly and forcefully pushing Buehler in the chest, while Buehler kept his arms raised with palms facing forward, Oborski then attempted to arrest Buehler.

After Buehler was taken to the BAT Mobile and coerced into blowing into a breathalyzer machine, and being told by the technician that Buehler “broke” the machine by “blowing too hard”, he was then escorted to a transport vehicle where Oborski allegedly told Buehler that “you don’t f*** with police, you f***d with the wrong cop this time and now you’re going to f***ng pay”, after which he was transferred to Travis County Jail where he was charged with Felony Harassment of a Public Official, a 3rd Degree Felony, and Resisting Arrest, a Class A misdemeanor.

When Buehler was released from prison the next day, he was told by Ben Munoz that witnesses were present at the scene of the arrest, although the police prevented the witnesses from sharing their contact information with Munoz. Buehler immediately began to post fliers around the 7-11 location, and use social media to implore witnesses to step forward. Several witnesses did step forward, to include one who took cell phone video of the incident which proves that Oborski lied in his affidavit (Buehler never spit on Oborski; Oborski never wiped his face).

Despite about a half dozen witnesses that stepped forward willing to swear under oath that Pizana did not assault Snider and that Buehler did not spit in Oborski’s face, the cell phone video, the 7-11 surveillance video, audio from both Oborski and Snider, and self-incriminating lies written up in the affidavits of Oborski and Snider, the Austin Police Department and the District Attorney continued to press forward with the charges against Buehler and Pizana. In addition, 11 days after the initial arrests, and after Pizana shared her story of abuse with the media, the Austin Police Department filed two new charges against Pizana for resisting arrest and failure to obey a lawful order.

The Grand Jury did not indict Buehler for either the felony harassment of a public official charge or the resisting arrest charge. Instead they indicted him for failure to obey a lawful order, a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. The Grand Jury did not indict Pizana for public intoxication or failure to obey a lawful order. They did, however, indict her for resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in the Travis County Jail.

In the 15 months since the New Year’s Day incident, Buehler and other Austin activists launched the Peaceful Streets Project to fight back against police abuse, corruption and misconduct. They have held over a dozen Know Your Rights Trainings, a summit where they handed out 100 video cameras to needy residents of Austin, dozens of Police Abuse Complaint Departments and scores of cop watch events.

The Grand Jury also returned indictments against Antonio Buehler for failure to obey a lawful order, a Class C misdemeanor, for filming police on August 24th, August 26th and September 21st, 2012. Sarah Dickerson was also indicted for failure to obey a lawful order while filming police during the September 21st, 2012 incident.

A City of Austin Municipal Ordinance requires a person to comply with an order of a peace officer and prohibits a person from obstructing or interfering with an officer engaged in his official duties. Violation of this ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. However, there was no evidence that either Buehler or Dickerson ever obstructed or interfered with an officer engaged in his official duties. Further, Austin Police Department policy (p. 106) clearly states that officers are not to “[i]n any way threaten, intimidate or otherwise discourage an individual from recording officer’s enforcement activities”, which is exactly what APD did to Buehler and Dickerson in each one of the instances in which they were charged with “failure to obey a lawful order”.

In all, the Grand Jury met on six occasions and heard from 13 witnesses, including Antonio Buehler and Officer Patrick Oborski, although they did not hear from either Buehler or Dickerson regarding the post-New Year’s Day incidents, nor any of the Peaceful Streets Project volunteers who witnessed those incidents. The felony charges considered by the Grand Jury were tampering with a governmental record by Officer Oborski as well as harassment of a public servant by Antonio Buehler. The Grand Jury also considered whether Officer Oborski committed official oppression. However, the Grand Jury did not consider any charges against Officer Snider, nor did the Grand Jury did consider felony charges of Aggravated Perjury or Aggravated Assault against Oborski or Snider.

The Class A misdemeanor for Pizana will be transferred to County Court and will be handled by the County Attorney’s Office. The Class C misdemeanor cases for Buehler and Dickerson will be transferred to Municipal Court where they will be handled by Municipal Court prosecutors.