“How ya doin’ Anthony?” an Austin police officer asks Antonio Buehler as he escorts a man in handcuffs to a squad car on Sixth Street.
“It’s Antonio,” Buehler replies.
Antonio Buehler is well known to Austin police. He’s their most feverent citizen critic and claims police abuse is a systemic problem within the department. The veteran Army Ranger turned activist has become a large thorn in the Austin Police Department’s backside. Buehler’s group, the Peaceful Streets Project, is aimed at keeping an eye on the cops with video cameras and APD isn’t happy about it.
After a weekend arrest, Buehler believes that he is now being targeted by police for arrest because of his activities and a controversial New Year’s Eve arrest.
Two days before Buehler ‘s arrest, YNN reported a curious statement from Austin police regarding Buehler. The statement suggests he’s a criminal, but offers no details.
APD leaders say they are, “Aware of pattern of behavior with Antonio Buehler that could be of criminal nature. Based upon that and other pending matters, the Austin Police Department is unable to discuss at this time.”
“APD told YNN two days before my arrest that they are aware of my behavior that may be in a criminal nature?” asked Buehler.
Buehler also thinks he is being watched by police. He said that he recently spotted what he claims was an unmarked, white police car in front of his house. The car drove off as he approached the driver’s door.
Buehler’s shadowing of Austin police officers with a camera has caused a lot of tension over recent months and it all came to a head Sunday night. He was arrested on Sixth Street while he and several volunteers recorded an arrest.
By Sixth Street standards, it was a fairly typical arrest. A drunk guy gets the “old cuff and stuff” while a drunk girlfriend stands from behind and screams profanity. Buehler’s cameras caught it all.
But police later arrested Buehler too, claiming he was interfering with the arrest and would not get back as instructed.
Austin Police Association Wayne Vincent told FOX7, “He’s provoking police officers, he’s inciting violence against police officer, its become a very dangerous thing.”
“All the cops know who I am. Everyone of them know we aren’t there to antagonize them,” Buehler said.
Buehler’s battle with APD began on New Year’s Eve. He was arrested after he claims he was trying to help two women being arrested during a DWI stop. Buehler claims the officers were abusing the woman.
Cops say that Buehler spit on one of the officers. Phone video from the arrest does not appear to show Buehler spitting on the officer.
“I am confident that the video shows that I’m innocent. We are out there filming cops to protect innocent people from abuse.”
The Austin Police Department is noticeably defensive in dealing with Buehler. A press conference was called at APD headquarters two days after Buehler’s arrest to address their side of the story. The statement from APD about a pattern of possible criminal behavior was also a bit unusual since his cases are both under investigation.
Buehler says he no intention of backing down. On Thursday, he held a Peaceful Streets Project rally on the steps of APD headquarters.
“We’re going to keep doing this,” he said.