In three-and-a-half years of police accountability activism, Antonio Buehler has been arrested five times, charged in court ten times and investigated as a criminal on dozens of other occasions, including at least three felony investigations by the Austin Police Department.
Rather than back down, Buehler has faced the charges in court, defeating one false charge after another, including a felony charge invented by an officer who lied, falsely accusing Buehler of spitting in his face after Buehler caught him on camera abusing a woman.
On Thursday, June 25th, Buehler will go to trial in Gonzales, Texas for the final criminal charge pending against him after his years of recording the police and standing against corrupt and criminal behavior.
The case stems from an incident on March 13th, 2013 where Buehler had attempted to record Judge Deidre Voigt at the Gonzales Municipal Courthouse.
Buehler claims Voigt was berating several teenagers who were in her court for Class C misdemeanor charges related to missing class or being tardy at the local public high school.
When the city prosecutor noticed Buehler recording the judge, Voigt commanded Buehler to allow her to see his phone.
Voigt then took the phone into her private chambers for approximately two hours while Buehler and his associates demanded that the police officers in the courtroom, including Gonzalez Police Captain Gayle Autry, retrieve the phone they considered stolen.
After going through Buehler’s phone and viewing the video he recorded, and despite no signs indicating that video recording was not permitted in the courtroom, Voigt gave Buehler the option of deleting the video or be arrested for contempt of court.
Not wanting to spend a night in jail, Buehler opted to delete the video.
On his way out of the courthouse, Captain Autry told Buehler, “Never come back to my courthouse again.”
Buehler then pulled out his phone and began recording Autry, asking him to repeat what he perceived as a threat.
As Autry turned around to return to the courthouse, a sarcastic “have a nice day” was exchanged between the cop and one of Buehler’s associates.
Buehler then told him to “go fuck yourself” as he was walking away, prompting Autry to turn around, pull out the handcuffs and arrest Buehler for disorderly conduct, even though numerous court decisions have ruled that using profanity against a cop is protected by the First Amendment.
Judge Voigt later denied Buehler’s motion to recuse herself from presiding over the subsequent trial given her involvement leading up to his arrest.
Buehler defended himself in court on June 5, 2013 and was found guilty after a 7-hour trial presided by the biased Judge Voigt.
He immediately appealed the decision and was granted a new trial with a new judge, who hopefully understands Constitutional law better than Voigt.
We will see tomorrow.
“We were given a trial de novo, I believe, because the original municipal court trial was in a court of no record,” Buehler explained. “We appealed it immediately with the county court which is above the municipal court.”
Buehler originally made headlines on January 1, 2012 when he was arrested on the felony charge of harassment of a public official, a 3rd degree felony, after he was accused spitting in the face of Austin police officer Patrick Oborski.
In the aftermath of that first arrest, Buehler launched the Peaceful Streets Project to educate the public on their rights as well as empower people to stand up for those rights as well as form communities to hold police accountable.
Over the next year-and-a-half, Austin cops arrested Buehler three more times for recording them while on duty.
Two years and nine months after the original 2012 New Year’s Day arrest, Buehler was found not guilty of all charges stemming from that incident during a four-day trial.
Despite a half-dozen witnesses, four videos and two audio files that showed Buehler did not spit on Oborski and that Oborski had grossly misrepresented the incident in his arrest affidavit, the Austin cop was never disciplined or arrested. Austin city prosecutors later dropped all of the outstanding charges against Buehler from subsequent arrests.
Now he prepares for what hopefully will be his final legal battle. Below are videos of his arrest.