The Rise of the Peaceful Streets Project and Police Accountability Summit

 Peaceful Streets flier

By Antonio Bueheler

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, 2012, I pulled into the 7-11 on W 10th and Lamar to refuel the truck I was driving. I was the designated driver that night, and I was sober. While fueling up, my passenger and I observed a DUI stop in progress, with a woman standing in the cold without a jacket, in high heels performing a field sobriety test. As one cop, Patrick Oborski, was administering the test, we saw the other cop, Robert Snider, walk up to the passenger side of the car and engage the female passenger in a conversation. The woman was clearly no threat to anyone, and we saw no reason to become involved in the situation. As we were preparing to leave, we heard a chilling scream from the female passenger, and turned in time to see Snider violently yanking the female passenger out of the vehicle. Then we observed Oborski join in on the abuse. My friend and I both immediately reached for our phones to try to take photos of the abuse, and when the female passenger saw us, she cried out to us begging us to record the assault.

Read the rest of the story here.

For more information on getting involved with the Peaceful Streets Project, check out our website, peacefulstreets.com, e-mail us at peacefulstreets@gmail.com, or call (512) 981-7675.

  • Peaceful Streets Summit-This Saturday!
  • Saturday, July 14, 2012 10 - 4pm
  • Mexitas 1107 N I H 35 (& E.12th)
  • Austin, TX 78702

FREE – Meals, refreshments and childcare will be provided, but please RSVP at peacefulstreets@gmail.com, 512.981.7675, or via Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/events/ 411442265566851/

Recognizing that the police were engaged in a violent act against this woman who had committed no crime or act of aggression toward anyone, I began to yell out to the police, asking them why they were assaulting her, and telling them to end the assault. After twisting her arms behind her back in a move that resembled a torture move, they arrested her and led her back to one of the squad cars. Then Oborski turned and quickly moved in my direction. He asked me who I thought I was, and I responded that it didn’t matter, and that I was within my rights to videotape and question him. He kept moving toward me, invading my personal space, and then pushed me in the chest. I threw up my hands to make clear that I wasn’t a threat, and asked him why he was touching me. He pushed me several times until I was wedged between him and a truck. As I bent backward at about a 45 degree angle, he continued to bark at me, continually raising his voice. Eventually he chuckled, claimed I spit on him, and then proceeded to wrestle me to the ground.

Next, the police tried to set me up on DUI charges by pressuring me to blow into a breathalyzer machine (which they then claimed I broke by blowing too hard when the result presumably came back with a 0.00). Surprised at the results of the test, the breathalyzer technician asked Oborski if I was a DUI suspect. Oborski, stammering and stuttering, then said that I wasn’t and that I was in for “something else.” The technician turned to me and asked me what, and I said that I observed Oborski and Snider assaulting a female, and took pictures and asked questions of them. At that point Oborski grabbed me and took me out to the “drunk truck” where he engaged me in a private, one-on-one conversation where he told me that I don’t get to question the police, that I should keep my nose out of police business, that I f’d with the wrong cop, and that I was going to f’ing pay for my defense of the woman who was assaulted despite having committed no crime.

I soon learned that to pay for my defense of the female passenger meant being charged with a felony Harassment of a Public Servant and a misdemeanor of Resisting Arrest; the former carrying a penalty of 2-10 years in prison. Recognizing the severity of the situation, and being told by my friend when I got out of jail that the cops prevented witnesses on the scene from giving him their information, we began a campaign to have witnesses step forward. Three witnesses came forward, one with video that he took from across the street.

Fortunately for me, the witnesses and video exposed Oborski and Snider for the liars and violent criminals that they are. That coupled with my background, which includes West Point and Stanford degrees, service as an Airborne Ranger qualified military officer with tours in Kosovo and Iraq, my history of teaching and mentoring children, my non-profit board positions, and the fact that I had never been arrested enabled me to overcome the fact that the police department was suppressing audio and video evidence which would prove my innocence and expose the crimes of Oborski and Snider. In addition to the moral and financial support I (and the other two victims) received from the community, I began to hear personal stories of police abuse from people who had no interest in suing the city or getting publicity for their experiences. They simply wanted to encourage me to fight the charges, and see justice served in a way that was unattainable to them.

Hearing these stories, which included illegal searches and seizures, false arrests, violent assaults resulting in broken arms and broken jaws, sexual assaults and even rape, I felt compelled to join forces with some of my supporters to fight for a cause bigger than my criminal case. We launched the Peaceful Streets Project with the intention of encouraging and enabling the people of Austin to stand up for each other by standing up to police abuse and misconduct. We began to schedule Know Your Rights trainings for Austinites to inform them of the legal limits of what the police could do to them, and to teach them how to deescalate encounters with aggressive, ill-intentioned rogue cops. We also began holding Police Abuse Complaint Department events where we encouraged people to share their personal stories of abuse. On Saturday, July 14th we are holding our capstone event, an free, all-day Police Accountability Summit at Mexitas on I-35 and E. 12th where community members earn about their rights, institutionalized violence, and our rich histories of resistance struggles.

A day of discussion and activities about police accountability, the Summit will feature testimony from former political prisoner Robert King of the Angola 3 and former Brown Beret and police violence survivor Paul Hernandez; talks by local activists including Scott Crow and Debbie Russell; copblock.org founder Pete Eyre; and a Know Your Rights training conducted by Texas Civil Rights Project legal director, attorney Wayne Krause Yang – and more to follow! The event will also include a victims’ panel to give a voice to those who have had their lives negatively impacted by the criminal cops that make life for so many of the people of Austin, and the honorable cops in the force, so difficult. At the end of the Summit, we will hand out 100 video cameras to activists in Austin so they can go into the streets and record the interactions between cops and the people. By doing so, we hope to shift the culture in Austin from one of fear from the cops to one of demanding accountability. And hopefully, when cops decide to abuse their power and attempt to victimize peaceful people in the future, one of our activists, or someone they convinced to look out for their neighbors, will be there to record the abuse to exonerate the victim and to make the cops answer for their misbehavior.

For more information on getting involved with the Peaceful Streets Project, check out our website, peacefulstreets.com, e-mail us at peacefulstreets@gmail.com, or call (512) 981-7675.

  • Saturday, July 14, 2012 10 - 4pm
  • Mexitas 1107 N I H 35 (& E.12th)
  • Austin, TX 78702

FREE – Meals, refreshments and childcare will be provided, but please RSVP at peacefulstreets@gmail.com, 512.981.7675, or via Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/events/ 411442265566851/

Comments

Antonio, just some words to the wise, you need to take precautions against retaliation

I love what you are doing, but it's only a matter of time, until you are accused of being a terrorist.  Stay strong.  You will need it.  Try to always have someone along, when you leave your home, so that you will have a witness.  Consider installing a hidden recorder in your car, in case you are pulled over.  Try to keep your car locked in a garage, with a camera on it, in case evidence is planted.  Watch out for drug addicts, that the cops have caught, and have promised to forget everything if they attack you.  A friend of mine had his home burned that way.   If you own a house, you may be harrassed by code enforcement.  Consider getting three big dogs, with a invisible fence system.  Consider moving outside Travis county.  Good luck, and if you are ever in Charlotte, NC look me up, I'll buy you a nice meal.

William (Marty) Readling

10200 mooresville rd

Davidson, NC 28036

980-248-1240

 

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